Healthy snacks to make for the whole week
Tips for making these bites in batches
September is a sort of New Years — without the Champagne. As I memorize my kids' new schedules and adjust to new routines, I am motivated to make a fresh start in the kitchen too, specifically, grab meal prep by the horns and cook on Sunday for the week.
It's early, but so far this eager mindset was working out nicely, until I ran up against the issue of snacks, particularly healthy ones, which fuel a lot of my day too.
There's a certain satisfaction to having a selection of healthy, homemade snacks on hand for lunches or to offer that kid who asks for a snack before the breakfast dishes are even put away. This is where SNACK PREP comes in and it works just like meal prep, plus it's best done on Sunday when I'm already in the kitchen making a mess.
Here's how to make nutritious snacks part of any Sunday batch cooking.
If you don't want them to crumble in your purse, look for a recipe that gets baked in the oven and contains a binder like egg for strength. That being said, there are plenty of delicious no-bake recipes out there and their prep is super quick and easy, but they're best eaten straight from the fridge before they warm up and fall apart.
Make them for beyond a week — granola bars freeze nicely too! Just cut them up and freeze them first in a single layer before stacking them so they don't stick together. There are recipes out there for turning your homemade granola into bars with just a few extra ingredients, so you can basically crank out two items for the work of one if granola is your thing.
Here's a granola bar recipe to get you going:
No-bake power balls are a good option if you've got a sweet tooth. They're usually made with dates for a natural sugar boost and loaded with energy ingredients like nuts and seeds to keep you going — you may have seen them at the counter at coffee shops or bakeries. Making them yourself will save you money too.
Easily make a large batch by doubling a basic recipe and rolling the balls in various garnishes to change up their flavour a bit without making more work. Shredded coconut, toasted wheat germ, or even sesame seeds all stick to the outside and make these little pop-in-your-mouth snacks even prettier.
Try these power balls!
This couldn't be easier; simply follow your favourite frittata recipe and pour the batter into an 8-inch square, well-oiled baking dish. Bake it in the oven, then cut the frittata up into bite-sized pieces once it's cooked and cooled. Don't want the yolks? Swap in two egg whites for each egg in the recipe.
To make this even easier, prep any vegetables destined for the frittata ahead of time: throw a tray of sweet potatoes into roast whenever else you have the oven on for batch cooking, and wash any greens that need to be cleaned as soon as you get them home from the store.
Looking for a recipe? Start with this:
Chia seeds are a neutral-flavoured magical little ingredient that gels up any liquid into the texture of tapioca pudding. Use milk or yogurt and your sweetener of choice as the base, and experiment with adding fresh fruits and berries — which may turn your pudding a beautiful colour too. The puddings need time to set so making them on Sunday for weekday eating is actually key. Try adding rolled oats to the mix for extra fibre.
Tip: mix the ingredients together and portion them out into 125 ml mason jars to set. With the lids on, they make a perfect grab-and-go snack your friends will be jealous of too.
Try chia out in these easy ideas:
Make a double batch of dip to spread and scoop all week. Adjust the style to suit your mood. Start with beans, or tofu, or yogurt — you choose! A food processor makes the job easy, and a handful of fresh herbs added to any recipe generally make things extra-special. Spread the dip on a piece of whole wheat bread instead of packaged crackers, or just dip raw veggies (try jicama!) for something clean and good.
Here are some recipes to dip into:
Whisk up your own DIY muffin mix by quintupling (or more) the dry ingredients of your favourite recipe. A kitchen scale makes easy work of this. Weigh all the dry ingredients together and divide their total by the amount you've scaled up the recipe. Mark that number on the mix's container so you know how much to weigh out when you go to bake a batch.
Muffins freeze well, so make a double batch. Since you get to control what goes into them when you make them at home, try out exciting flavour combos that could even include vegetables. And while you're choosing your recipe look for one that relies on healthier ways to keep the muffins moist, like applesauce or other fruit puree in place of part of the sugar.
If you're looking to mix up some muffins ASAP, here you go:
Be that person who keeps homemade trail mix on your person. Making your own ensures that the mix is as healthy as you want it to be (look for dried fruit that isn't sweetened), and you get to curate the add-ins to suit your taste.
Start with these recipes for inspiration, and customize at will!
Jessica Brooks is a digital producer and pro-trained cook and baker. Follow her food stories on Instagram @brooks_cooks.