Almond Joy Bars and Other Healthy Snack Solutions
In trying to eat healthy I find that one of the biggest struggles that I have (and from what I’ve read, others share the same problem) is having healthy alternatives for snacks around the house.
You know, your kids tell you they’re hungry, or you’ve got the munchies, or you have friends coming over and would like to have quick healthy food to serve.
Well, having healthy snack options can be done.
Of course there are the old standbys of fruit or veggie sticks, but sometimes it’s nice to have a little variety around.
For me, a busy mom with a lot on my plate, I need food to be:
You too? Well, occasionally I’ll make something special that takes quite a bit of extra time, but here I’ve compiled a list of our healthy, on the go recipes that are our favorites in the hopes that they’ll help you in your moment of snack desperation.
First – “Dips”
I love dips and dipping things into them. My oldest doesn’t, but that doesn’t keep him from eating these fabulous dips on top of rice, whatever grain we happen to have cooked, spread on my Focaccia Flax Bread, with popcorn, or alone .
Our family favorites:
- Savory Hummus – Either with or without tahini, one of my friends told me that this is the best hummus she had ever had.
- Fast and Yummy Bean Dip – Another widely requested recipe of mine. Great with almost any kind of bean. Needs a new title (any ideas?) – but it really is this. Fast. Yummy.
- Vegetable Dip – This great allergy-free recipe doubles as an egg and soy-free mayonnaise.
Second – Salty Snacks
- Herbes de Provence Popcorn – I’ve been told that this popcorn is addictive. It is.
- Special Seasoning Popcorn – Yes, we like popcorn here.
A lot.Too much. I can’t decide which seasoning I like better. Both are a hit wherever we go. And we bring this popcorn with us a lot to avoid GMO corn chips at potlucks and the like.
- Kale Chips – Haven’t tried kale chips? You should. A great way to use up the “brown thumb gardener’s” choice crop!
- Seasoned Nuts & Seeds – A “seasoned just right” blend that will satisfy all the nibblers in your home
Last But Not Least – The Sweets
Yes, we all love sweets. And chocolate. These again are some of our favorites.
- Silky Bean Fudge – An amazingly delicious way to get beans into your family. Even non-healthy-eaters love this!
- Homemade Protein Bars – A great alternative to store bought. And better (in my humble opinion).
- Rich Chocolate Chia Pudding – As rich as you’d like it to be – dairy and sugar free and super fast!
- Healthy Almond Joy Bars – I once took a batch of these as a gift to a friend’s home and her tenant thought that they were store bought! Here’s the recipe so you can try making them right away. (You can also read my post with more info on these bars here.)
Healthy Almond Joy Bars
Chocolate / Carob Base:
1/2 cup coconut oil (Nutiva is one brand that I use. Palm would work well too, or butter. See notes below.)
1/2 cup almond butter (any nut or seed butter would work, but almond is especially nice.) See my post on Homemade Nut / Seed Butter.
1/4 cup granulated sweetener. 4-6 scoops stevia extract is a good alternative. NuNaturals is one good brand of stevia.)
6 Tbsp carob or cocoa powder
3 Tbsp honey or other liquid sweetener (for candida diets, use vegetable glycerine. Now Foods has this at a great price.)
1 tsp vanilla (Frontier is a great alcohol-free brand.)
1 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
7 Tbsp coconut oil
1/3 cup granulated sweetener (or 2-3 scoops stevia extract powder. I recommend NuNaturals.)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp additional flavoring (optional. Almond or coconut are good choices)
2 tsp arrowroot powder (cornstarch may be substituted)
Almonds halves or slices (optional)
1. Melt oil and nut or seed butter over low heat.
2. Stir in carob and sweetener and combine thoroughly (See my post on Substituting Sweeteners for Cooking and Baking.)
3. Add and mix in remaining ingredients. Stir continuously until mixture slightly thickens. Remove from heat.
4. Stir in liquid sweetener (or substitute a granulated with water) and vanilla.
5. Spread mixture into 8×8 pan. While you make topping, place in freezer or fridge to harden.
1. In small pan, melt oil and add coconut flakes. Stir.
2. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer slightly and stir until it thickens a little.
3. Once chocolate mixture is hardened enough to work with, gently smooth coconut mixture over top.
4. Place slivered or whole almonds on top if desired. Place pan in the freezer until hardened. The fridge will work, but takes a bit longer.
5. Slice into desired size. They’ll be a bit hard to cut right from the freezer so let the thaw a bit first.
6. Store in the refrigerator.
1. Coconut oil softens at room temperature so these treats hold up better in cooler weather. If you’d like to have these in the warmer months, try substituting cocoa butter instead. For coconut oil, expeller pressed, like Jarrow, has little to no coconut flavor. Nutiva has a lot of coconut flavor and smell. Use what you like.
2. Stevia extract is super sweet. One scoop is 1/32 of a teaspoon, so use sparingly!
3. Sweetener options for those who are avoiding sugars are xylitol and erythritol and vegetable glycerine. NOW Foods makes affordable options of each.
These recipes should get you off to a pretty good start in the hunt for healthy snacks that will please your family. I hope you’ll leave a comment here or on my blog, Whole New Mom and let me know what you think!
What’s your favorite healthy snack?
Adrienne, of Whole New Mom, is a wife and homeschooling mother of two boys, one of whom has Asperger’s Syndrome and life-threatening food allergies. In her past life she worked in the financial services industry and also taught in Japan. She has a passion to help others navigate the sea of information on the road to healthier lives, while trusting God for the results of their efforts. Additionally, she is a blossoming food freedom advocate. Because she loves to (and can’t afford not to ), she specializes in frugal living and simplifying special diets. You can also find her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.
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