10 Dietitian Approved Plant-based (and nut free!) Snacks for Back to School
The topic of healthy snacking is such an interesting one for me – my dietitian self wants snacks to be filled with fruits and vegetables so we can all be as nourished as possible. Of course, I’m also human…and know that sometimes, you (and I!) just don’t want to eat another apple or more sliced peppers. Making it flavourful, and just a little thoughtful, helps us appreciate our snacks in a more mindful and pleasurable way.
Now that September is upon us, whether we’re packing snacks for ourselves or our kids, it doesn’t hurt to have a little refresh on healthy ideas that are easy to prepare. Nuts are one of my favourite snacks, so going nut free takes some thought! I rely a lot on seeds to stand in for crunch, nutrition and flavour. To help get you sorted for back to school, here are ten ideas that are plant-based, nutritious and totally nut free, in case you’re packing for a nut free environment.
Tomato Olive Toothpicks
My kids love olives and pickles…so this is a twist on the classic tomato-bocconcini appetizer. Skewer 2 cherry tomatoes and 1 Kalamata olive on a toothpick. If your kids don’t like olives, try little cubes of smoked tofu for a protein-rich snack!
Zucchini is one of those vegetables that my kids don’t love; there are very few ways that I can cook it so they will eat it. Zucchini is, however, a slam dunk in muffins. So when I saw my friend Tori’s new zucchini muffin recipe, I knew it would be a hit! I think you might feel the same…just omit pecans for pumpkin seeds if you need a nut free version.
Roasted Cinnamon Maple Chickpeas
Roasted chickpeas are an awesome stand in for nuts because they are crunchy and filling, thanks to all their fibre and protein. This is a cinnamon-spiked version of the Amazing Chickpeas recipe in my book, Un-Junk Your Diet.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, toss two 14 oz cans of rinsed, drained chickpeas with 2 tbsp oil, 2 tbsp of maple syrup and 1 ½ tbsp of ground cinnamon. Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 35-45 minutes. Let fully cool before transferring to a resealable container.
Making a parfait adds a special touch that really dresses up plain yogurt. In a snack-size resealable container, layer plain coconut yogurt and frozen berries. Top with my fave granola and a touch of cinnamon. The berries thaw over time and create a luscious, saucy consistency!
My toddler is crazy picky about vegetables…but also, in love with the colour pink. Beet dip, made with calcium-rich tahini,is an incredible colour that makes dipping veggies way more fun. If this recipe is too earthy for little taste buds, drizzle in just a touch of maple syrup.
Banana Roll Ups with Tahini
Banana ‘sushi’ is still a classic in my house. To make a nut-free version, take one whole grain tortilla, spread with tahini and drizzle with a bit of honey or maple syrup. Lay a peeled banana along one side of the tortilla, then roll banana in the tortilla. Slice into thick slices, like sushi.
Who doesn’t like chips? In case you’re ready to give kale chips a break, try this simple (and ingenious!) recipe for making baked carrot chips.
I am still very much a popcorn gal…and it really does make a great, fibre-rich snack. My favorite way to make it? Air popped and tossed with coconut oil and nutritional yeast. Totally addictive!
Nut-free Superfood Granola Bars
It’s really much easier than you think to make granola bars at home; however, many recipes are nut-based. I’ve got a super delicious nut-free version coming in my new book, Eat More Plants, but until then…enjoy this awesome superfood-packed one from Ambitious Kitchen!
Salted Chocolate Gems
One of the most loved recipes in Un-Junk Your Diet has to be the salted chocolate gems. And they are so easy to turn into a nut free snack!
Pulse 10 pitted Medjool dates in a food processor to break them up. Then add 3 tbsp tahini,
2 tbsp raw cacao or cocoa powder, ½ tsp pure vanilla and ¼ tsp sea salt. Pulse until well combined and then roll into 12 balls. If you like, you can roll the balls in some extra cocoa powder or cinnamon. Keeps for 2 weeks in the fridge.
Photo by Ingrid Hofstra on Unsplash