Note from Mommypotamus: More and more schools are going nut-free due to allergies, which can make snacks and lunches tricky for families who are grain-free. Even my kids, who are homeschooled, face this challenge at our once-a-week Classical Conversations meet-ups. That’s why I’m so excited to share this recipe from my friend Loriel – you can check out more of her delicious ideas at Naturally Loriel.
You know what goes perfectly together?
Little chubby fingers and bite-sized finger foods.
There really is nothing cuter than seeing your baby’s little fingers start grasping for foods, then watching as their skills evolve over time. You don’t realize how quickly they move through this developmental stage until you turn your head and find someone has swiped some morsel off your plate that you were so looking forward to eating. Either it’s your cat or your kid and both of them look equally suspicious.
One thing you quickly learn about little fingers and bite-sized finger foods is that they tend to go everywhere. No matter how many mini-sized containers you give them to hold all the little bits and pieces of food, they always ends up on the floor mushed between your toes, in between the seats in the car, in your bed, and yes, sometimes even in your hair.
Not like I have any experience in any of those, especially the last one… 😉
Even though the mess is not totally containable, there are ways to help reduce it by combining favorite finger foods into one piece, i.e., these nut-free energy balls – these cherry pie energy bars, and sour gummy snacks are, too.
It’s basically your favorite — and totally customizable — trail mix compounded together with honey in cute little energy balls and rolled into shredded coconut. Little fingers + little poppers = super cute.
Since the school year has started for many of us, I thought this would be a perfect time to share this dual-purpose recipe. Dual because it works great for little ones at home but it also makes a fantastic snack to pack in school lunches. It’s low in sugar, has nourishing fats like coconut, and the dried fruit can be substituted for whatever your kids enjoy eating. It’s also made exclusively with seeds since many schools are now nut-free due to allergies.
If there is no worry about nuts in your school or if you’re going to keep these snacks at home, you can easily substitute the sprouted seeds for almonds. You’ll still want to follow the directions as if you were using the seeds, but with nuts instead. To get even more mineral absorption out of your nuts, you’ll want to soak and dehydrate them first.
Please be mindful of what types of foods may serve as choking hazards to your little ones and never give your child any food that they are incapable of eating safely.
One last thing, these poppers also work as a quick and easy breakfast! Add a little bowl of full-fat yogurt and you’ve got yourself a yummy, fuss-free way to start your day.
Apple Cinnamon Energy Balls (Nut-Free)
Yield 15 one inch poppers
- 1/3 cup sprouted pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or a combination of both (where to buy sprouted pumpkin seeds, where to buy sprouted sunflower seeds, how to make your own)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (where to buy coconut flakes)
- 1/2 cup dried fruit (I used raisins and dried apples in this specific recipe)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons raw honey (where to buy raw honey)
- 1/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, reserved for rolling (where to buy shredded coconut)
- 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Place seeds in a food processor and pulse 10 times. Add coconut chips, fruit and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon to the food processor and process until dried fruit and coconut are minced. Taste and add additional 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon if needed, then add honey; pulse 5-10 times or just until blended.
- Using a shallow bowl, add shredded unsweetened coconut to it and set aside. Using your palm and fingers, shape mixture into 1 inch balls. Roll balls into shredded coconut. Store in an airtight container.
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Loriel (pronounced Lor-E-elle) is on a journey to a more natural life and hopes to inspire those around her by writing about her stories on her blog, Naturally Loriel. She lives an abundant life with her husband Scott, toddler Andrew, a crazy little Lilly cat and a flock of 8 chickens. She’s a dreamer of self-sufficiency, a lover of all things sweet, and has a knack for storytelling.