Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Preschool Snack Pack

My baby B that you have all grown to know and love since she was a mere 10 months or so old is going to be a big preschool girl in the fall. My goodness, how the time has flown! We are so thrilled to have found a great preschool to send her to-- a Montessori school, my personal favorite in the realm of early childhood teaching methods! On top of the Montessori structure being a great match for my little explorer, they are also knowledgeable about food allergies and very willing to work with us to help B to have fun, educational, SAFE days!

The preschool provides snack for all of the small ones, but we are permitted to bring B's from home due to her restrictions. If you haven't been keeping track, she is top 8 free, FPIES common trigger free, vegan, free of several fruits and many more veggies, and also reacts to a handful of other things, such as cinnamon and latex (latex does not produce an FPIES response for her, of course). All in all, she has about 32 known trigger foods and about 19 safe foods/baking ingredients (like honey, etc). So if you have a little one in day care, preschool, etc with a lot of restrictions as well, it is my hope that maybe by us sharing our ideas for B's preschool snack packs, then perhaps you will also be able to use some of these ideas for your own little explorers. This will be yet another category on the blog-- so many subheadings!-- but I think it will be a very worthwhile one! I hope you enjoy!

To kick things off, here is a top ten list of snack pack ideas from some favorite websites and blogs!

Preschooler B's Top 10 Snack Pack Ideas for Preschool
1. Butterfly snack bags My MIL sent this link to me and I absolutely love this idea! It isn't a snack itself, but an awesome and fun way to package a snack for lunch boxes, snack packs, or party favors. Thanks, Gram, for the great idea!

2. Crackers  This is a great recipe for crackers-- you can mix and match a nice combination of flours/starches/seeds-- it is extremely versatile. The version I make for B uses quinoa flakes, sorghum flour, millet flour and arrowroot starch (and I also throw in a few tablespoons of honey--- a recipe can always use more honey, haha). She loves the crackers cut into shapes (I use bento box cookie cutters that I bought in Japan at the 100yen stores since they are small) and then made into sandwiches with sunflower seed butter inside.

3. Bento Boxes: Sometimes it is all about the packaging! I will be sewing a little snack pack bag for B when preschool starts, and in that bag, one of the many bentos that we bought in Japan will be filled with her treats.

4. Granola Bars: We have a few recipes on this blog for these-- fruit bars, sweet bars, protein-packed squares. What I love most about these, is they are very easy to grab and go--- you don't even have to defrost them before tossing them in the bag to go out and about. Perfect for preschoolers!

5. Fruit Salad and granola: Any combo of fruit is great, but I find that berries hold up a bit better than some other fruits. Pair a berry salad with a few tablespoons of sweet quinoa granola and you have a healthy and sweet snack to give those tiny feet extra energy to run around!

6. Yogurt Parfait: A variation of number 5, simply layer homemade coconut yogurt (I use a variation of this recipe), quinoa granola (see above), and fruit of choice. I prefer glass jars that I found on amazon, but these look like some great plastic jars. And of course, include a fun spoon/utensils!

7. Fruit Slices and Sunflower Seed Butter: This requires a bit of help from the preschool staff, as you don't want the slices to get brown and yucky before eating (If your LO is safe with lemon, you can always use lemon juice to preserve the color of sliced apples and pears. B reacts pretty severely to lemon, so not an option for her). We will send a pear, utensils needed to peel and slice it, and a little cup of sunflower seed butter (bento box to the rescue once more!).

8. Muffins and scones: There is a large assortment of these on this blog! And a nice addition in a snack pack with one of these baked goods is a tiny cup of sunflower seed butter, coconut manna (softened), maple syrup or honey.

9. Fruity Friends: Using colorful plastic lollipop sticks (you can find these at your local craft or baking store), skewer bite size chunks of fruits together. Depending on the fruit and on how industrious you are feeling, you can use fun cookie cutters to make the fruits into fun themed shapes. I like a combo of pineapple, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, and mango. Again, dipping sauce is always fun! I like a softened coconut manna or honey for this variety! In choosing fruit, keep in mind fruits that will retain their shape and color well, like berries, melons, some citrus, ans so on.

10. Jello Fruit Salad: If gelatin is safe, I really don't need to explain this one for you! Simply make the jello of your choice and stir a selection of fruit into the liquid before it gels. For those of you like us needing to avoiding gelatin, you can make this treat too, just with a bit of extra effort using agar agar. Simply select a fruit juice that is safe (we like Ceres brand mango juice) and cook in a saucepan with agar agar flakes on the stove top. You will need to make the juice pretty darn hot in order to break down the flakes but once the flakes have dissolved, you can pour the liquid into bowls/tupperware type cups (that can have lids). You will want the fruit to be already in the bowls before pouring in the liquid-- agar agar starts to set up rather quickly. Cover the bowls and refrigerate until ready to go! I like the ziploc brand 1/2cup lidded plastic containers. Perfect size for these kiddos! For instructions on navigating agar agar use, check out PETA's site.

Enjoy and please feel free to share your own favorites! We will be adding new ones throughout the fall!

1 comment:

  1. For the crackers, have you tried it without the apple cider vinegar (ACV)? Thanks so much for all your recipes! Would something like pear puree work instead of ACV? Not sure if it is just for flavor or for something else?