Today I’m honored to have Megan from Pink to Green sharing some of her creative and healthy treat ideas perfect for sharing with your littles on Valentine’s Day. Instagram has been such a wonderful place to connect with like-minded moms and I’ve been fortunate to cross paths with some very special mothers who have inspired me and provided much needed support on difficult days. Megan is one of those moms. The love and energy she puts into her mothering is motivating and her creativity always leaves me so inspired. Today she’s sharing 2 healthy snack ideas, including one nut free toddler snack, that I am dying to run out and recreate!
Hi, I’m Megan! I’m so glad to be here today to share some of my favorite ideas for healthy, homemade Valentine’s Day snacks for toddlers: cherry and chocolate energy bites and a nut free toddler snack. My two and a half year old son, James Robert, serves as my favorite and best food critic. Although he’s not always easy to please, I’ve learned so much cooking for our growing family! I inherited a passion for cooking and adore being in the kitchen.
One of my favorite rituals as of late is enjoying an afternoon snack together after my son wakes up from his nap. Often times it’s accompanied by tea and a serious discussion about what he dreamt about that day (lately it’s been cupcakes, skiing and bridges). I cling to those funny moments of toddler-life! I know he wont nap forever, so I’m savouring these days of afternoon bedhead and groggy chit chat.
I don’t always have time to make something homemade, but when I do, I like to challenge myself to making something that we both enjoy equally and is mostly healthy. For Valentine’s Day I made heart-shaped pomegranate fruit snacks and cherry, chocolate energy bites. For a fun twist, I also moulded some of the energy bites into a heart-shape using a cookie cutter.
I’m a big believer in small things done with great love. Particularly as a mom, that phrase helps me to keep motherhood in context. So many times I need to be reminded that that little things really are quite big to a toddler. These snacks are the perfect example. He was SO excited about heart shape treats! To see his little face light up over a holiday themed snack made the effort so worth it. Even better, he gave both recipes a thorough taste-test and enthusiastically approved!
About once a week I make some iteration on an energy bite recipe; I save a batch in the fridge and they are the perfect thing to grab when I want something sweet. This version with cherries and chocolate has become the family favorite. For my Valentine’s Day take on these, I used the same ingredient’s but also moulded the dough with a cookie cutter. To make them into bites, I rolled them into balls and put them into mini muffin cups.
Cherry and Chocolate Energy Bites
1 cup whole almonds (I used roasted)
2/3 cup of pitted dates (about 8)
1/2 cup dried cherries
3-4 Tablespoons of chocolate chips
1 pinch of salt to taste (if not using roasted nuts)
- In a food processor, grind the almonds until chopped, but leaving some larger chunks still in tact
- Add dates and cherries and process until finely chopped and the mixture becomes sticky- you will see bits holding together
- Add chocolate chips and pecans and process until finely chopped. Add salt if using. Add water a drop or two at a time if the mixture is not coming together. You will know if the mixture is ready to roll into balls if you pinch a bit together and it sticks
- Here comes the fun part. You can either roll into balls. Or, you can gently pack the dough into a cookie cutter and then push through. This takes a bit of patience, but easy to get then hang of.
- I like to put my energy bites or shapes on a cookie sheet and put in the freezer for about an hour. Then they are set and ready to enjoy.
- Store them in the fridge for best results- they taste great room temp, but we seem to enjoy them even more with a chill.
My son has a peanut allergy and while he can eat tree nuts (like in the recipe above) I am very sensitive that when hosting a playdate or eating with other children, it’s nice to have a nut free toddler snack. These pomegranate fruit snacks are perfect. They are only 2 ingredients, completely nut free and full of antioxidants. Plus, kids just love the texture!
A Pomegranate Fruit Nut Free Toddler Snack
1.5 cups pomegranate juice
4 tablespoons (that’s 4 packets) of gelatine
*you could add sugar or maple syrup too if you want them to be sweeter, we didn’t and they were still delicious
Combine juice and gelatine in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until the gelatine is completely dissolved (about 5 minutes). Gently pour (to avoid bubbles) the mixture into desired pan (I used a corning ware dish), cover and let set for a few hours or overnight. When it has hardened, cut into desired shapes and serve!
Both recipes are super easy, very customizable and endlessly adaptable (I can already see variations on cookie cutters and flavors). Thanks again to Christine for having me! Hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day! Please stop by my blog (www.pinktogreenblog.com) or Instagram (@megan_leanderson) and let me know if you make these recipe and how they turn out!
Aren’t those 2 amazing ideas? I have been looking for an awesome energy bite recipe and it’s always great to have a nut free toddler snack recipe in my back pocket. I encourage you to stop by her blog and instagram to see some some more great family ideas!