Pretty much from the beginning of when Lewis started eating foods, I have been on a quest. A quest for just the right food/recipe. Something healthy and filling, but easy to grab, easy for a little one to eat, non-messy, portable. Something that could be used for a quick breakfast or a snack, eaten on-the-go either just while playing at home or while out and about.
There are plenty of pre-packaged baby snacks that fit the bill for this, although the level of healthfulness is debatable with many of them. Since we did Baby Led Weaning with Lewis he never had any purees or anything, and we never got in the habit of buying him those “pouches” that a lot of people use when out and about. For a while our go-to snacks where Cheerios and those Gerber Cereal Puffs, although we quit that habit sometime over the summer. We also found apples/apple slices and freeze dried fruit work pretty well for on-the-go munching.
Sprinkled in between giving these fall-backs, I have been trying recipes to find just the right thing for him. I wanted something homemade both for cost reasons (baby food/snacks are expensive!) and it seems so much more healthy and wholesome to know exactly what I am feeding my little one. There are a lot of recipes out there for baby snacks, granola bars, muffins, etc. but most of the ones I tried seemed to miss the mark.
When he was younger Lewis had a delightful habit of spitting out a lot of his food rather than swallowing it. Cheerios and Puffs both got reliably swallowed, which was part of why we stuck with them, but many of the other things we offered he would decide were too much work and so would partially chew/gum and then spit back out. My family was all greatly entertained by watching him “eat” watermelon in this way over the summer. Thankfully we are past that stage and he now swallows pretty much everything he eats.
Also, since he does only eat a small amount he isn’t going to eat up a full batch of anything I make, so I need to find recipes that are yummy for me as well since I will be the one eating any “extra.”
There have been a few recipes that we had good success with. Over the summer when zucchini was plentiful I made several batches of these Zucchini, Banana, and Flaxseed Muffins, using only about half as much sugar, which both Lewis and I enjoyed. I have also made some homemade granola bars from my own recipe which were pretty good, although the recipe may need a bit of tweaking before I post it. We tried these Carrot Cake Bars a few weeks ago which were alright but nothing amazing – they were a bit on the bland side and I didn’t really like how the texture of the oats turned out although Lewis seemed fine with them. They definitely could have used more spices, maybe a little sugar/honey and more moisture (maybe some added applesauce?)
Anyway, there is another recent recipe that I tried that actually turned out really good and both Lewis and I enjoyed them for breakfasts and snacks. The original recipe calls them “No Sugar Oatmeal Cookies” and while they are cookie shaped they really don’t have what you would expect for a cookie texture. The flavor was quite good though (maybe could use just a tiny touch more spices) and they made me think of chewy oaty little bites of banana bread. I will definitely be making these again, and plan on playing around with the recipe, maybe trying some with pumpkin in place of the banana.
They are “no sugar” since all the sweetness comes from the fruit. When I was making them I realized they are also gluten free (if you use gf oats), egg free, and depending on the type of milk you use can also be made dairy free and/or nut free.
No Sugar Banana Oatmeal Bites:
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 3 bananas, mashed
- 1/3 cup applesauce (I used part applesauce and part oil since I somehow only had a few Tablespoons of applesauce.)
- 1/2 cup raisins (optional, but recommended. Could substitute other types of dried fruit or some chocolate chips.)
- 1/4 cup milk (Original recipe calls for almond milk, I used whole milk. Use whatever fits your diet/needs.)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon (might be good with an additional sprinkle of ginger and nutmeg.)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (175 C) and grease your cookie tray or line with parchment paper. (I didn’t do this and the cookies stuck a bit since they aren’t high in fat like traditional cookies.) Mix all the ingredients and drop by spoonfuls onto cookie tray. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the edges start turning golden brown. Enjoy warm, or store in an air tight container.