Ask Angela: Savoury toddler snack ideas, nut-free flourless muffins, and more

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on March 2, 2018

We’re baa-aaack! Thanks for your patience last Friday as I escaped the flu’s chokehold, lol. I’m happy that we’re into the swing of things again with some fun questions today! How nerdy am I that I get excited to test these things out? I’m basically just relieved that I can taste food again.

In case you missed it, yesterday I posted my recipe for the flourless muffins that have been in our breakfast and snack time rotation lately. We received so many questions about these muffins that I thought I’d include a couple in today’s roundup as well—see the last two for my notes on a nut-free version and ingredient swap. Also be sure to check out the comments in the post itself as I’ve answered a slew of other muffin questions there. I can’t wait to hear what you think about them!

Q1. Great toddler snack ideas! I’m wondering if you can create some more ideas for savoury snacks? I have a two year old who is clearly a vegan foodie. I give him a daily snack at 4pm and once a week try to provide a savoury snack too. Daiya Plain Cream Cheeze Style Spread on top of very small celery sticks has been a hit.

Hi Laurie, I love this challenge! It’s definitely easy to default to snacks that are naturally sweet because they tend to be instant hits with kids. Here is a list of savoury snack ideas your little one may enjoy. I hope my suggestions help! And if any other readers would like to chime in below, please do. A big thanks to my recipe tester Nicole for helping me drum up some ideas! 

  • Avocado “fingers”: avocado slices tossed in crunchy breadcrumbs or almond meal and garlic powder. Adriana really likes this one and it’s super easy to prepare on the fly.
  • Carrot sticks (either raw or steamed) dipped in Cashew Sour Cream, hummus, or mashed avocado/guacamole. 
  • Cooked chickpeas that have been rinsed, drained and dried. Toddlers love a finger food! 
  • Dill Pickle Smoothie from the app (iOS/Android). This savoury smoothie comes together in a few minutes and I find kids love its tangy flavour too! If serving it the first time you may want to scale back on the lemon a bit until they get used to the flavour.
  • Avocado Hummus Toast from Oh She Glows Every Day. You can leave the 9-Spice Mix off if you choose, but I recommend letting toddlers try it first. You never know what they are going to like!
  • Pickles! Pickled cucumber, cauliflower, carrots and beets. Pickles may not be a hit on the first try, but keep offering them.
  • Sun-dried Tomato and Garlic Super Seed Crackers (Oh She Glows Every Day, p. 81). You can give the larger seeds several pulses in the food processor if your toddler isn’t able to chew them yet.
  • Seasoned kale chips. Try my Flawless Kale Chips, or if you have a dehydrator my Sun-dried Tomato Cheezy Kale Chips are out of this world! 
  • Sneaky Shamrock Crackers. These spinach, dill and whole grain crackers can be cut into any shape you (or your kids) like.
  • Super Power Chia Bread (The Oh She Glows Cookbook, p. 229 and on the blog) This is a dense, hearty bread that packs a nutritional punch. Try it spread with hummus or mashed avocado.
  • Cast-Iron Tofu (Oh She Glows Everyday, p. 137) cooked in rectangles and cut into thin sticks for dipping in ketchup or mild barbecue sauce. My Crispy Breaded Tofu Strips are also a huge hits with kids.
  • My Homemade Wheat Thins crackers taste just like the real thing, and they can be frozen too.
  • My Jumbo Chickpea Pancake cut into small pieces or fun shapes.

 

Q2. What can I use as a substitute for carrots in your Perfect Veggie Burger recipe? I can’t eat carrots for health reasons. 

Hey Jelena, Grated sweet potato will work just fine in place of the grated carrot. Grated beet could be a fun twist, but I haven’t tried it yet so I’m not entirely certain. I’d love to hear if you do, though! 

Q3. Hi Angela, I’m loving the return of Friday FAQs/Ask Angela. I love unwinding on my lunch break at work reading the weekly post. I have a question about your Nut-Free Dream Bars from Oh She Glows Every Day (p. 211)—do you have any swaps for brown rice syrup in the crust? Every grocery store in my city is out of stock, and I want to make the bars for my mom’s birthday.

Hey Amanda, I’m so happy you look forward to the series every Friday…picturing you reading over lunch makes me smile! I used brown rice syrup in this crust because it’s the stickiest type of liquid sweetener and tends to bind ingredients very well. But your question made me curious, so I tested out a maple syrup option for you as well! Instead of using 2 1/2 tablespoons brown rice syrup, I used an equal amount of pure maple syrup and followed the crust directions as written. I found that the maple syrup crust was softer and crumbled a bit when sliced, but overall it didn’t break apart quite as much as I expected it would with that swap. It still tastes great, so I’d say it’s an option as long as you don’t mind some of the crust breaking off here and there!

Q4. What model coffee grinder do you have? 

Hey Lauren! I’ve used this KitchenAid BCG111OB Blade Coffee Grinder for the past several years, but I do have a couple qualms with the grinder overall. You have to be pushing the lid down for the grinder to run, and I’d much prefer being able to press a button and walk away while I prep my coffee things. You also can’t specify the grind level (e.g. course, fine, etc.) on this model, so it can be difficult to achieve a precise grind. Other than that, the grinder works just fine. But would I buy it again? I would probably look for one that suits my needs a bit better. If anyone has a coffee grinder they LOVE, please do share below!  

Q5. Is there anything I could substitute for the almonds and almond butter in your new Flourless Bite-Sized Breakfast Muffin recipe? I bake for a lunchbox program for kids and I’m always looking for good nut-free recipes. We use SunButter and Wowbutter in place of nut butters. Do you have any thoughts or suggestions? 

Hey Alana, Good news! I just tested a nut-free version of these muffins and it worked great. I used 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds instead of the whole almonds and substituted the almond butter for 1/2 cup of SunButter Organic Sunflower Seed Butter (make sure there is only sunflower seeds on the label). I also upped the cinnamon to 1 teaspoon to balance the sunflower flavour. This nut-free version does have a distinct sunflower flavour (not exactly surprising, haha!), but I still find it pleasant even if it isn’t as sweet as the almond version. Arlo approved of them, but Adriana wasn’t as sold on this version. ;) Mine also turned out a bit darker and more dense than the almond version. All in all, I do think it’s a decent option. I hope this helps and I would love to hear what you and your students think if you try it.

Q6. I’d like to make your Flourless Bite-Sized Breakfast Muffins. Is there anything I can use instead of arrowroot starch?

Hey Tara, For sure! An equal amount of cornstarch tends to work well as a swap for arrowroot in baked goods, so you could try it out. I haven’t tested it myself as I don’t tend to keep cornstarch in my pantry. Please let me know how it goes if you try it!

“Your 3-Layer Nut-Free Dream Cups are the best thing ever. I made half my batch with peanut butter and the other with almond butter. So good. As much as I love peanut butter and chocolate together, the almond butter was amazing. (Though I understand nut-free is great for people who can’t have nuts at all.) MAKE THESE. DO NOT hesitate. I actually cut each cup into quarters as I thought a whole cup was way too much. At times I would have half, but mostly ate a quarter at a time and that was enough. What a treat. I will make these over and over and over and over…. :)”

Hey Trish, Haha…your review was so fun to read. Thank you so much for trying the dream cups! You’ve reminded me that I need to make a batch of these beauties soon because it’s been WAY too long. So many recipes…so little time!

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Erin March 2, 2018 at 9:57 am

Hi Angela,

Love reading your weekly Ask Angela posts! As for coffee grinders we’ve been very happy with our Baratza Virtuoso grinder. Can set it and walk away and also you can vary the grinds. https://www.baratza.com/grinder/virtuoso/

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 2, 2018 at 10:38 am

Thanks Erin! Sounds like a dream..heh. I will have to check it out sometime.

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Laura @ Raise Your Garden March 7, 2018 at 7:59 am

I’m due for a new grinder too. And Angela, I have the exact same socks as you! Like exactly. My sister bought them for me for my birthday!!!!

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Amanda March 2, 2018 at 5:06 pm

Hey Angela! You should check out the bodum electric burr grinder. Gets a lot of mileage at our house. As for your instant pot question the other week, it’s totally worth it even for just dried beans and quickly cooking items like beets/sweet potatoes . I’ve used mine several times a week for the past 2 years

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 3, 2018 at 7:39 am

I don’t know why but speed-cooking beets didn’t even occur to me with the instant pot…genius! And thanks for the bodum recommendation..I remember hearing good things about that one!

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Amy March 2, 2018 at 8:27 pm

I think I have the same grinder as you! I actually don’t like it much either, something about the way you have to hold it down and the plastic lids for the different cups. I only use it as a spice grinder because of this.

I have had this cheap Mr. Coffee coffee grinder for more than 10 years and I happen to love it! You do have to hold the button down when you grind, but for some reason I don’t mind it as much as the KitchenAid one. You can select the grind coarseness and the cup is removable for easy cleaning (oils from coffee beans build up and go rancid so you do need to clean it here and there!)
https://www.amazon.com/Mr-Coffee-Electric-Settings-IDS77-RB/dp/B000BRLXUI/

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 3, 2018 at 7:32 am

Thanks Amy! I will check it out. And that’s funny holding it down bothers you too. I don’t know what it is, but I’m always impatient with it. Like let’s get going here!! lol.

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Beth March 3, 2018 at 7:43 am

Hi
Love all your recipes. It would be great if would do a cooking class one one on one.
Also if you could post how you recovery from your eating disorder, the steps you took and how you daily feed yourself without worry of getting heavy.
Thanks so much
Beth

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 6, 2018 at 9:09 am

Hey Beth, Thanks so much for your kind words about the recipes! I wrote a post several years back that you may find helpful. It’s called “5 things that helped me beat the obsession” I’d love to hear what you think!
http://ohsheglows.com/2010/01/17/5-things-that-helped-me-beat-the-obsession/

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Ameeta March 3, 2018 at 7:59 am

Hi! Why don’t you keep cornstarch in your pantry? why do you prefer arrowroot over cornstarch? also…is arrowroot flour the same thing as arrowroot starch? Just curious. Thanks for your posts, love them!
also, re grinder – I agree re the nuisance at times, have the same type of grinder…but, how often do you grind anyway and it’s basically forcing us to single task. which is a good thing sometimes :)

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Rebecca March 5, 2018 at 10:47 am

Hi Angela! This is a new question for an upcoming email. I’m going camping in a few weeks–do you have any recommended recipes or packing lists that would be ideal for a weekend in the woods?

Thanks,
Rebecca

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 6, 2018 at 9:22 am

Hey Rebecca! I’d love to try to help…actually I have been asked this in the past so I do have some ideas up my sleeve to share! :) First, a little disclaimer: I am NOT a camper, so my suggestions should be taken with a grain of salt. haha. ;) I’d love it if some experienced campers chimed in on this one too.

Some ideas: bring your favourite fruits and veggies that tend to travel well and do fairly well at room temperatures (to save space in the cooler for other meals where refrigeration is a must), like apples, oranges, and avocados.

Dried fruit, either store bought or homemade, is another great option as it’s energy dense.

Granola or muesli–again, either store bought (which likely has a lesser need to be refrigerated) or homemade recipes like my Ultimate Nutty Granola Clusters (p. 31 of The Oh She Glows Cookbook).

For something more savoury, you could also bring crackers (for a recipe, try my Endurance Crackers or Homemade Wheat Thins).

Protein bars or energy bites, like my Dark Chocolate Cherry Energy Bites or Triple Almond Energy Balls, Glo Bars, or Feel Good Hearty Granola Bars will give you a great boost. I would keep those chilled.

If you have a really good cooler situation going, you could also consider making a salad that travels well (like my Chickpea Salad- recipe on the blog/app/book #1), or perhaps a gazpacho (check out the one on my blog!) that can be eaten cold, but both of those would have to be kept chilled at all times.

You could also bring single-serve, non-refrigerated almond milks (some stores carry “juice box-sized” plant milks!), and little baggies of pre-portioned vegan overnight oats (chia, oats, dried fruit, cinnamon, a bit of granulated sweetener) and mix the almond milk and oat mixture for breakfast. It wouldn’t be cold necessarily but it would work in a pinch. Or you could simply serve the granola with the milk.

Cans of baked beans always work in a pinch too (just don’t forget the can opener). I recommend eating the most perishable items first, and this may be a situation where it’s worth stocking up on some store-bought, less perishable options because most foods won’t last in a cooler for that long (unless of course it’s going to be COLD where you’re camping!). Anyway, I hope this helps get the wheels turning, and that you have a fantastic weekend!!

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Stephani April 12, 2018 at 2:21 pm

Bagged frozen leftovers. Frozen smoothies. Cook a few meals ahead of time that reheat well and quickly. The campgrounds in my state typically have grills and campfirUue rings and they even sell chopped wood that Park Services thins. We bring a medium sized Dutch oven and one spoon. Reheats in about 45 minutes. Take the frozen smoothies out at bed time and they’re thawed and cool in the morning. Maybe limit the beans. Farting+tent=bad. No chili.

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Jaime March 5, 2018 at 8:23 pm

Hi
I loved your ideas for toddler snacks! do you have any snack ideas for babies (8 plus months?) Also any plans do write an infant/toddler family cookbook?

Jaime

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 6, 2018 at 9:13 am

Hey Jaime, So happy you enjoyed the snack ideas. Is your little one eating purees? If so I do have some fun puree ideas to share.

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Jaime March 9, 2018 at 6:53 pm

Yes, he has been eating purees/mashes for a few months. We just started to introduce some basic finger food to encourage self-feeding but struggling with ideas. He absolutely loves everything we have been giving him!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 12, 2018 at 9:19 am

That’s so encouraging! There’s a great Baby Led Weaning cookbook (I’m not exactly sure of the name). I will take a look and see if I still have it or not but I remember it having some fun ideas.

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Laurie L March 17, 2018 at 3:08 am

Hi Jaime,

At about 8-months, and older, my baby was eating chunks of tempeh, chunks of cast-iron tofu, plain beans (preferably smaller ones, like black beans & white “navy” beans). He grew to love pulses so much that “tempeh” was one of his first ten words, and so was “beans”!

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corinne March 6, 2018 at 12:46 pm

Love your recipes! I”m glad to see a savoury one :) can”t be eating sweets every day, even if they are sugar free, haha! I”ll try it tonight. Looks delicious!

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Melissa Uhlir March 14, 2018 at 9:36 pm

Hi all. I didn’t have Arrowroot starch in my pantry and subbed cornstarch in the flourless muffins. They turned out beautifully! Happy baking :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 15, 2018 at 12:39 pm

That’s great to hear cornstarch worked Melissa! Thanks for reporting back :)

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Laurie L March 23, 2018 at 10:12 pm

Dear Angela & Nicole,

Thank you so much for the thirteen savoury snack recipie ideas for toddlers. I really appreciate the work you put into brainstorming them.

Here are some other ideas I’ve come up with:
1. Toasted seeds & nuts, chopped small (i.e. 1-2 almonds, 2 pecans, a Brazil nut, 2 cashews, & sunflower seeds) My 2-year old really enjoyed experience the unique taste of each nut/seed. Please note, I made this snack well after I knew he had no allergies to nuts.
2. Popcorn popped on the stove and topped with nutritional yeast. (I only do this once a month because popcorn is tough for toddlers to digest; however, we have a fun time hearing & seeing the corn pop.)
3. Nut/seed butter in celery ‘boats’
4. Vegan Cheez bite-site cubes (duh, but had to include it)
5. Unsweetened vegan yoghurt topped with toasted wheat germ, &/or poppy seeds, &/or hemp hearts. This works best with creamy yoghurt.
6. Vegan Cornbread
7. Crumby Peanut Butter Bars
Here’s my recipe.

Ingredients:
1/3 cup unsalted natural peanut butter
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup quick rolled oats
1/2 cup dedicated coconut, fine shreds
Pinch of salt

Method:
(1) Line a loaf pan with parchment paper or wax paper.
(2) Combine the peanut butter, melted coconut oil and vanilla in a medium size bowl.
(3) Add the rolled oats, coconuts and salt.
(4) Press into the prepared loaf pan and refrigerate for a couple of hours. My toddler finds these bars more-ish.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 25, 2018 at 1:33 pm

Hey Laurie, Thank you so much for the toddler snack ideas! And thanks for that great bar recipe at the end!

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