Even though I haven’t been a student for some time, as soon as August rolls around, I’m right there with all the moms and kids thinking about back-to-school. I love the energy, the excitement, the fresh notebooks and pencils.
(I’m weird that way). I know my friends with children face the daily challenge of creating healthy, appetizing and allergy-friendly packable lunches. But what about after school snacks? Don’t healthy snacks deserve just as much attention? When the kids get home after a long day in class, they’ll benefit from a nutritious snack to help keep them alert and engaged while hunkering down over their books and laptops, too.
Instead of reaching for the usual array of standard snacks (whether fresh or packaged), wouldn’t it be great if your kids could choose different, tasty treats made from healthy, whole foods? And just because it’s “healthy” doesn’t mean it has to be a lot of work, either. These After School Energy Cookies may appear to have a long list of ingredients, but the preparation couldn’t be simpler. Everything gets tossed in the food processor, then mixed together, scooped and baked. Voila! Once they’ve cooled, the cookies store beautifully in a closed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days—just enough for after school snacks for the entire week.
I’m happy to say that this healthy snack recipe also allows for infinite variation: feel free to substitute your favorite dried fruits for those listed below, and swap out the sunflower butter for almond butter or even tahini (though note that the cookies likely can’t be sent along in the lunchbox if you use the almond butter variation).
After they emerge from the oven, these little gluten free bites are lightly crisp on the outside, with a chewy interior punctuated by the occasional crunch of Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice cereal bits. The addition of chickpea flour helps to boost the nutritional content even more, helping to stave off those late afternoon energy crashes that can interfere with homework (or, for us adults, office work). And since they’re sweetened only with dates and a wee bit of coconut sugar, they won’t cause a spike in blood sugar, either.
In fact, with these cookies waiting for them at home, your kids might actually look forward to September for a change!
After School Energy Cookies
2 cups Crispy Brown Rice Cereal, divided
2 Tbsp psyllium husks
2 Tbsp ground flax seeds
2 Tbsp plain or vanilla rice-based protein powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp goji berries (or raisins, chopped dates, apricots, dried cranberries, etc)
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup chocolate or carob chips
1/4 cup sunflower butter
6 large medjool dates, pitted
1/2 cup unsweetened almond, or coconut beverage
2 Tbsp coconut sugar
Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment, or spray with nonstick spray.
Place 1-1/2 cups cereal in the bowl of a food processor (save the rest for later) along with the psyllium, flax, protein powder, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and process to a powder. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add the goji berries, coconut, chocolate chips and final 1/2 cup rice cereal and stir to combine.
In the same processor (no need to clean it), blend the sunflower butter, dates, milk and coconut sugar until smooth. Pour the wet mixture into the bowl and stir to form a soft “dough.” Using a small ice cream scoop or tablespoon, scoop the mixture onto prepared cookie sheets; flatten the cookies slightly. Bake for 16-20 minutes, rotating the sheets about halfway through baking, until browned on the edges. Cool before sampling. Makes about 20 cookies. May be frozen.
Suitable for: ACD maintenance; refined sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, nut-free, yeast-free, vegan.
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