Devin Connell, go-to expert on healthy eating and author of Two Dishes cookboook, made the excellent observation that snack time is the worst time for reaching for packaged, processed (often unhealthy) treats. Her solution is to make it easy to snack using wholesome ingredients, with minimal sugar and maximum nutrition. We spent a morning with her recently, learning some snack hacks to ward off the temptation for kids and adults alike to reach for the processed junk. Not only are these wonderfully healthy, they’re portable, making them the perfect snacks to take along when you head outside.
Hosted by Rexall Drugstore and their Nosh & Co line of snacks, we got an easy lesson in how to use their grains and mixes to make snacks that are not only guilt-free, but delicious, too.
I admit to eating more than my fair share of the power balls I made on the spot, but would they be as big a hit with the kids?
I got a decisive answer recently when I hosted Middlest’s 12th birthday sleepover. He and his gang of eight headed to the park to play capture the flag, but the crowd spent as much time nibbling on the power balls as they did trying to capture the flag. Kids kept making detours past the bench where I was stationed with the snacks, and I ran out of power balls long before the boys ran out of energy!
And, lucky for all of us, Rexall sent over a gorgeous basket of snacks the day before the party, so I had healthy popcorn and trail mix on hand when the hungry hoard came home.
I will definitely be making the power balls again. Both recipes below are infinitely customizable to suit your family’s tastes and to include all of your favourite flavours.
Fruit & Nut Power Balls
vegan & gluten-free
1/2 cup Nosh & Co Raw Fruit & Nut Mix
1/2 cup dried coconut (unsweetened)
1/2 cup sunflower seed butter
2 tbs honey
1 tbs water
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 cup rolled oats
In a blender, combine the fruit & nut mix, dried coconut, sunflower seed butter, honey and water on low speed.
Periodically stop the blender and scrape down the sides. As the mixture is quite sticky, you will have to do this a few times.
Once blended, the mixture should not be chunky, but have some texture to it.
Place the mixture into a large bowl. With a large spoon, mix in the chia seeds and oats. The mixture will resemble a loose crumble.
Tightly pack a 2 tbs scoop. Remove the mixture and roll by hand until a ball is formed.
Power balls can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.
Make-Your-Own Trail Mix
Devin said she keeps a jar of her own trail mix in the car for “emergency snacking” after soccer practice, while running errands or for a quick after-camp/after-school snack.
It would make a great activity to do with the kids, who can customize their own large jars or their own daily mixes for camp. Go sweet or salty (or both!). There are no rules (unless snacks have to be nut-free). Just have fun experimenting. Here are some of the ingredients we had the chance to combine, from top to bottom, left to right: puffed rice, raisins, chick peas, cocoa nibs, seaweed, dried apricots, sesame seeds, chia sees, hemp hearts and goji berries. (Not pictured: sunflower and pumpkin seeds.)
Layer them in a mason jar, seal, shake and go.