Most days I get a text from any or all of my kids on their way home from school, “Hi mom, what’s for dinner?” Meaning, I’m starving, please let dinner be something I like. And most afternoons, I reply with the dinner menu. But some days I’m still at work, or I haven’t quite finished preparing, or shopping, or planning dinner...oops, guilty.

For those late days, I make sure I have a few homemade snacks awaiting upon their arrival. A nice bowl of grapes or fruit, and some cut up veggies alongside any of these hearty and somewhat healthy treats keeps everyone happy until the official dinner makes its appearance. Most of these snacks also travel well so they make great school snacks, on-the-go options for me, and great travel treats too.

Fruit and Veggie Muffins Packed with Flavor

Makes 36 mini muffins

Photo by Martha Stewart

These are best as mini-muffins, although can be made in regular muffin tins, just increase cooking time by about 5 minutes. I find they are a bit dense that way but certainly filling and still yummy.

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup cauliflower florets (frozen or fresh, steamed is best but can be used raw)
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 banana
  • 1 apple, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 2 tablespoons apple juice
  • ¼ cup applesauce
  • ¼ cup greek yogurt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 24 cup mini-muffin tray.

In a medium bowl, mix both flours, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, mix sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla extract.

In a food processor, blend cauliflower, zucchini, carrot, banana, apple, apple juice and applesauce. Puree until mostly smooth. Add vegetable mixture to butter/egg mixture and mix. Add yogurt and mix again. Add flour mixture and mix until all is wet and incorporated. Do not overmix, it will make these very dense.

Fill each mini muffin cup about ¾ way full. Bake for 15 - 17 minutes or until tester inserted has moist crumbs.

Jicama Fries

Thank you Joy Bauer for this original recipe that I’ve come to love.

Photo by Joy Bauer

  • 1 jicama, skin removed and cut into fries
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt (plus more to taste)
  • 1½ teaspoons ground paprika
  • 1½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1½ teaspoons chili powder, optional
  • 1½ teaspoons onion powder, optional
  • Lime juice, optional

Preheat oven to 425˚F.

Place jicama fries in a large bowl and add oil. Sprinkle on salt and mix to combine evenly. Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in a single layer. Sprinkle on paprika, garlic powder and optional onion and chili powder.

Bake on top rack for 20 minutes. If desired, squeeze on lime juice and additional salt to taste before serving.

Chewy Oat and Dried Fruit Bars

Makes 12 to 16 bars

Photo: Oxmoor House

My kids are on there way on school overnights and trips to Washington and then off to camp. I like to make these and send them for the bus rides or for a pick me up snack while they are traveling. They have great taste, are homemade and have no preservatives so they are better than store-bought versions. Feel free to substitute chocolate chips or other nuts for the dried fruit if you prefer.

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed
  • ½ cup toasted wheat germ
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, margarine or canola oil
  • ⅔ cup honey
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup chopped pitted dates
  • ½ cup chopped dried apricots
  • ½ cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 8 by 12-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper.

Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.

Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the dates, apricots, and cranberries and stir well.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares. Serve at room temperature.

Falafel Bites

About 24 pieces

Baked not fried, these are addictive. They are great atop a salad, on their own as a snack, stuffed into a pita sandwich and right out of the oven these are melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

Photo by recipe chick

  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup chopped fresh chives
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup parsley leaves
  • ½ cup cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a food processor, blend chickpeas, chives, tahini, garlic, parsley, cilantro, olive oil, almond flour, cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon of the cumin, kosher salt, and pepper until smooth. Mixture should be thick but slightly wet.

Dampen your hands and with a spoon or cookie scoop, shape mixture into small patties, about ¾ inch thick and place on baking sheet about 2 inches apart.

Bake falafel bites, flipping halfway through baking, until golden brown, about 25 minutes total cooking time.

In a small bowl, whisk yogurt, lemon juice, remaining ½ teaspoon cumin and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Top each falafel bite with sauce

Breakfast Cookies

Makes 28

Photo by Post Brands

Sometimes, only sometimes, breakfast is on the run. I feel a little better throwing two of these in my kid’s knapsacks or my husband’s briefcase. Filled with oat bran, almonds, and grape nuts cereal they are packed with fiber and some protein. Yes they have sugar and margarine too, thus I call them cookies not granola or health bars but they taste good and get a few wholesome ingredients thrown in.

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 ¼ cups whole wheat or white whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Grape Nuts cereal
  • ½ cup wheat germ
  • ½ cup oat bran
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 cups (yes 4 sticks) unsalted margarine or butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chopped pitted dates or other dried fruit

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix oats, both flours, grape nuts, wheat germ, oat bran and baking soda in a large bowl to blend.

Using an electric mixer, beat margarine until creamy. Add eggs, both sugars and vanilla, and beat until smooth. Add cereal/flour mixture, and stir just until blended. Mix in almonds, raisins, and dates or dried fruit.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats. Using ¼ cup measuring cup, scoop dough onto prepared pan, spacing about 2 inches apart. Press cookies to about ½ inch thick rounds.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes on sheets before transferring to cooling rack.