Healthier Back-to-School, Gluten-Free Snacks

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This school year, why not up the healthy standards of your kids’ snacks? Sure, there are choices everywhere on supermarket shelves, but none are as healthy as the ones you can control yourself — and cook up in your own kitchen. When you’re popping popcorn, shaping pizza crust and rolling oat balls, your kids will want to get in on the snack-making fun, and before you know it, they’ll be asking to make more. Bonus: The whole family gets to spend some quality time together.

Chunky Monkey Popcorn

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients:

4 cups unsalted popped popcorn

1/2 cup freeze-dried banana slices

1/4 cup raw walnuts, chopped

Salt, to taste

1/4 cup chocolate, melted

Directions:

Toss together the popcorn, banana slices and walnuts in a medium bowl; salt to taste. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the popcorn in a zigzag pattern.

Per serving: Calories 163; Fat 9 g (Saturated 3 g); Sodium 3 mg; Carbohydrate 19 g; Sugars 11 g; Protein 2 g

Cheesy Cauliflower Pizza

Yield: 12 slices

Ingredients:

1 cauliflower, leaves removed, stalks trimmed and cut into chunks

1 cup blanched almond flour

2 large eggs

1/4 teaspoon salt

Tomato puree, for topping

Shredded mozzarella, for topping

Basil, for topping

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a food processor, and working in two batches, pulse the cauliflower until finely chopped and resembling rice.

Transfer to a microwaveable bowl and repeat with the remaining cauliflower; cover and microwave on high until softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a clean dishtowel and let cool slightly; press firmly to squeeze as much liquid out of the cauliflower, then place in a medium bowl.

Add the almond flour, eggs and salt. Mound about a third of the cauliflower mixture onto one side of the prepared baking sheet. Using your hands, evenly spread out into a circle about 1/4 inch thick to form a pizza crust. Repeat with the remaining cauliflower mixture and bake until golden and crisp, about 18 minutes.

Preheat the boiler to high. Top the pizza crusts with some tomato puree, mozzarella and basil. Broil until the cheese is melted and bubbly, 3 to 5 minutes.

Per serving: Calories 131; Fat 11 g (Saturated 1 g); Cholesterol 33 g; Sodium 98 mg; Carbohydrate 6 g; Sugars 1 g; Protein 7 g

Berry-Apricot Oat Bites

Yield: 16

Ingredients:

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1/3 cup brown rice cereal

1/3 cup agave nectar

1/4 cup flaxseed meal

2 tablespoons dried blueberries

2 tablespoons finely chopped apricots

1 tablespoon coconut oil or canola oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

Combine all ingredients together and roll into small balls, about 1/2 inch in diameter. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

Per serving: Calories 55; Fat 1 g; Sodium 3 mg; Carbohydrate 11 g; Sugars 7 g; Protein 1 g

Get more healthy ideas for breakfast, dinner and everything in between:

10 Snacks Under 250 Calories

Healthy Weeknight Dinners

5 Healthy Breakfasts to Fit into Your Schedule

The Best Gluten-Free Food

Silvana Nardone is the author of the Silvana’s Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Kitchen: Timeless Favorites Transformed.