Snacks & Treats
3 Easy No-Bake Treats for School Lunches
By Julie Van Rosendaal, Dinner with Julie
Aug 29, 2016
Healthy snacks — cookies, granola bars and other nibbles — are essential back to school fare, easy to pack in to lunch boxes and gym bags, and to grab on the way to and from school and wherever else you need to go. They’re quick and convenient, but although the packaged snack bar market is huge, they’re easy to make at home.
Making your own treats saves a ton of money, cuts back on excess packaging, and you can customize flavours to suit your or your kids’ tastes. These no-bake recipes require only measuring and stirring, making them perfect for kids to get involved. Individually wrapped or packed into small reusable lunch containers, they travel well and don’t produce many crumbs, which is always a good thing.
A homemade version of the popular packaged energy bar, these are simply a base of sticky dates and crunchy almonds or pecans, blended together to form a mixture that can be pressed into bars (or even balls). They’re grain-free, and you can stir in any add-ins you like. (And ensure they’re only going to places that aren’t nut-free.) Medjool dates are those big, soft ones you usually find in a box in the produce section of the grocery store. They stay softer when the pits are still inside — they’re easy to remove with your fingers.
While most no-bake goodies contain peanut butter (which work well to bind them together) or other nuts, these don’t, and are very similar to the packaged chewy granola bars you can buy at the grocery store - and easily customizable. Once you get the hang of it, you can substitute other types of dry cereal - it’s a great way to use up the bottom of the box. If you like, put a small handful of chocolate chips into a snack-sized ziplock bag, seal and place in a glass or bowl of warm water until melted. Snip off a corner and drizzle the chocolate over the bars. Let sit until the chocolate sets, and toss out the bag.
When you need a fast treat for lunchboxes, these can be stirred and dropped while the kids eat breakfast or get dressed — or make a big batch on the weekends; they keep well so can be stored and dipped into all week. (Ensure peanut butter is allowed if you’re sending them to school, or use a peanut butter substitute, such as Wowbutter. If they’re not allowed at school, they make a great after-school snack.) If you like, stir in some extra ingredients, like dried fruit, coconut, bashed up pretzels or roasted, salted peanuts (omit the salt in the recipe) for a salty-sweet treat.