We are approaching the first day of school. Chhhh. I repeat. We are approaching the first day of school.
If you are like me, I anticipate the start of school by implementing something I like to call the organizing tornado. Or maybe it's the tornado of craziness. I forget. Well, whatever the case, I spin around the house, dumping clutter into bins that get donated to the local thrift store, take inventory of school supplies, visit my girls' closets, make sure they have what they need for Fall and take stock of what they will need in the coming months. Oh, yeah--and I take frequent deep breaths as I brainstorm different things I can do to make school life easier for us while squeezing in activities to knock down the last items on our Summer to-do list.
I also look for ways I can keep healthy snacks on hand. Snacks that are easy to make and appetizing for us all.
I am always looking for new snack and lunch box ideas.
One of my favorite things to do is to make large batches of protein-rich granola to keep on hand. I keep some in a freezer bag, ready to pull out of the freezer when needed. I keep some in individual snack cups and containers to grab at a moment's notice. I keep a stash in the cereal cupboard to be placed atop plain yogurt or underneath a splash of milk. It makes for a great start in the morning or as a nourishing after-dinner snack for the kids. My husband likes to keep some at his desk at work for those days he can't get away for lunch.
Protein is vital for each of us in order for our bodies to perform basic daily functions well. Protein also is helpful in keeping blood sugars level.
And if you have kids who don't like to eat breakfast, tuck a baggie of granola into their backpacks for them to eat while on the way to school or during a morning break. Eating breakfast is important. Kids need high protein in order to develop as they should: emotionally, academically, and physically. Or...tuck in the backpack to provide your child with energy as he attends basketball practice right after school.
I will make extra granola to share, especially if I have a friend preparing for a new baby, or if there is a need for meals due to medical issues or other life events. Who knew granola could be so charming?
My friend, Sharon, gifted me a huge jar of granola when our third daughter was born. It was invaluable during those moments when my hunger got the best of me. I would reach for the granola instead of a chocolate chip cookie. :o)
And don't forget your kids' teachers. They need energy, too, because, well....they're teaching your kid! ;o) So bring along a jar to give them on the first day of school.
This is a gluten-free recipe, but as always, if even a small amount of gluten affects you, check every label to insure that each ingredient is manufactured in a GF facility.
Make this easy recipe and curb those school day munchies!
Back-to-School Granola Recipe:
5 C. old-fashioned oats
1 C. dry milk powder
1 C. ground almond meal or oat bran
1 C. flaked coconut
1 C. sunflower seeds
1 C. sesame seeds (I like to use the black sesame seeds!)
1 C. sliced almonds
1 C. shelled pumpkin seeds
1 C. pecan halves
1 T. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 C. honey
1 C. coconut oil
1-2 C. dried blueberries, cranberries, raisins, or combo. (optional)
Directions: Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Combine all dry ingredients together and stir. Warm oil and honey and stir into dry ingredients until well combined. Spread onto 2 greased cookie sheets or baking pans. Bake for about 90 minutes, stirring occasionally until brown. Remove from pans and toss in a bowl. Add dried blueberries and other dried fruit of choice, if desired. Place into storage containers when cooled.
1) If you are in need of more fiber in your diet, you can add chia or flax seeds to the dry ingredient mixture.
2) Almond meal can also be replaced by oat bran or wheat germ to your liking. If it's more fiber or iron you are seeking, you'll want to use wheat germ. If it's less calories you want, use the oat bran.
Enjoy this wholesome snack and the rest of these beautiful Summer days!