A few weeks back we shared some super yummy recipe ideas for healthy baby dinners from the amazing Young Gums. Today it’s the turn of the pram snacks and I can assure you they are good. Hands up, I’m guilty of grabbing some shop bought snacks that pretend to be healthy but these bad boys have changed my mind completely.
I am now a huge convert to the Young Gums recipes and will regularly be found making my own fruit leather/yo yo’s. The girls LOVE them. And these carrot cake balls are to die for. I mean seriously yum. I may possibly have eaten a whole batch once myself. That’s ok though, right, as they are all healthy stuff? These don’t just have to be for teeny ones. I’ve been making them for the girls lunch boxes and they are definite winners.
I’ll hand you over to Beth from Young Gums to share some of her favourites. Enjoy!
Summertime = long lazy days out pram-pushing with the mama crew, following the sun. Although B’s favourite thing is just grabbing a bit of milk here and there, I’m finding myself thinking more and more about ideas for nutritious & interesting little things she can nibble on while we’re cruising. Easy things that will survive a couple of hours in a box under a hot pram. Non-messy things that won’t require an entire change of clothes, for either of us.
I’m going to share my holy trinity of badass pram-snack ideas with you, mamas. Clean, natural, nutritious, non-messy, easily-transportable and ace-tasting, they all use different ingredients and provide different nutrients so they’re good to mix up and take with you on a day out (or a long, hot car journey ?). Not a grain of refined sugar/carb in sight. Soooo much less £££ than buying pre-made baby snacks while you’re out and about.
And so easy the baby could do it.
Carrot Cake Balls
First of three ideas for you mamas…brill little snack that my babe LOVES. A refined-sugar-free, honey-free baby-friendly spin on the raw energy balls you see in the vibey health-food shops and cafes all over town, these guys are the perfect shape and size for baby hands to grip (without dropping…well, not *instantly* dropping anyway). Plus they’re soft and smooth to gum and num on without turning into a crazy crazy sticky mess. They travel well in the changing bag/pram basket and a batch will keep in the fridge all week. Win.
As well as digestion-supporting fibre, raw carrot brings zap-loads of Vit A from all that beta carotene (which actually actually does help you see in the dark! Vit A > a compound called rhodopsin which turbocharges the retina). Also Vits C, K and B8 plus copper and iron. Almonds pack good fats and Vit E, and dates bring natural sweetness and fill in the nutritional blanks with pretty much all the other essential vitamins and minerals. Cinnamon and vanilla dial up the CAKE flavour. These take about three mins to make.
WTF DO I DO?
Grate one carrot (skin on if it’s organic) and chuck in whizzer [I used a nutri bullet] with six torn-up soft dates, a tiny splash of cold water, pinch of cinnamon and a drop of vanilla extract. Pulse a few times then tip the semi-blended mixture into a bowl and tip in 5 tbsp ground almonds. Stir to combine then use hands to gently form balls. Roll each ball on a plate that’s been sprinkled with ground almonds. One the balls are dusted with almond they won’t stick together, and they’ll be nice and grippy for the baby. You should make about 12/14 balls depending on size. Cover in fridge til your next pram expedition. I take them out in threes – one or two for my babe, one for the floor. ?
More badass pram snacks, mamas. Dehydrated apple crisps for the win. Light and grippy for small hands to hold; interesting crispy-chewy texture that even my two-teethed wonder can manage easily; not messy or sticky…just give the baby a little pat-down when you arrive at your destination and say no more about it. No major clean-up operation and no changes of clothes, for either of you (not like that time I thought offering a casual banana in the baby sling would be a wise, time-saving idea). Made from a single, cheap, abundant ingredient available all year round, an air-tight little bag or box of these will keep well under your pram for days, or in the fridge for a couple of weeks. They take ages to bake, but couldn’t be quicker to make.
Because these crisps are cooked at such a low temperature, the vitamins and minerals aren’t hugely affected or lost. Great hit of fibre too, essential for helping tiny digestive systems do their thing.
WTF DO I DO?
Use peeler over and over on the same part of the apple to create thin shavings. Flip fruit and repeat down to the core. Leave skin on (I use organic apples for this, no pesticides lurking in their skins). Arrange slices on a big baking tray that has a tiny smudge of oil on it. I use coconut oil but any is fine, don’t worry about flavour transfer from e.g. olive oil, you’re only using a tiny bit. Tray into oven on a ridiculously low heat…75 degrees C…and forget about them for a couple of hours. The slices will dehydrate and curl/crisp so you can just shake the tray and tip into a storage container. Why not try pear crisps (great in the autumn) or apple and cinnamon crisps (nice for bringing more complex, aromatic flavours into your babe’s diet). But it’s the summertime so I’ve kept it simple with a plain fresh British orchard apple.
Fruit Roll Ups
One of parenting’s best-kept secrets = homemade fruit roll-ups (a.k.a. fruit leather). Probably the most badass pram snack of all, mamas. Loads of fun to eat, tasty and colourful, these are a major crowd-pleaser at the park with the mama crew. Good way to give your baby some fruit while you’re on the go in the pram without hot and sticky beam-me-up levels of mess.
Fruit roll-ups usually come in shiny sweet-wrappers that pack more sugar, flavourings and preservatives than actual fruit. But the homemade stuff is so much nicer, more nutritious and less expensive. And you can customise the flavours.
I’m doing two types: apple and strawberry, and apple and cherry. You can use practically any fruit for this though so play around with flavours your baby likes.
The reason you don’t need any other ingredients is because the fruit naturally contains pectin which sets when the fruit is heated. There isn’t a lot of heat used (so the nutrients aren’t all damaged and lost) but it is baked for a long time so this snack needs a bit of forward planning.
WTF DO I DO?
Prep your fruit and whiz it in a blender. I used two apples and a small handful of strawberry/cherry for each of my batches. Leave skins on fruit for max nutrition. Pour the whizzed liquid fruit blend into a baking tray lined with non-stick paper and spread with a spatula onto an even layer a couple of millimetres thick. Bang tray on kitchen worktop to smooth it out and remove any bubbles. Bake at 100 degrees c or lowest oven setting for 3-4 hours. It’s done when it’s tacky but not sticky. Your finger should leave a fingerprint. Remove tray, slice into strips and roll them up. Some people leave the paper on for the child to peel the fruit off as they eat it, but for babies I remove the paper and just give the fruit. For small babies like mine, you can transport the fruit as a roll-up then unwind and break off hand-sized pieces for your baby to hold/gum/throw straight out of the pram.
Holy cake balls, these are good. I’ve been experimenting with a lighter and more summery kind of cake ball and I think this is it mamas. These taste a bit like a Bounty without the choc, but there’s no sugar in sight. You know I love a three-ingredient, no-cook kinda treat. Let’s go!
Banana and coconut bring fibre, carbohydrate and a host of vitamins and minerals – notably the mega all-rounders vitamin C and potassium. Almond dials up the nutrition-load with vitamin E and beautiful good fats. And because these balls are raw, we don’t lose any of our goodness through a cooking method. Almond is a tree nut so should be approached with some caution in case of allergies – however, it’s one of the lowest-allergen on the list so it’s unlikely to cause a problem. As with anything new, try your bb with a titchy lil bit first and keep a little eye on them.
WTF DO I DO?
Anyone up for a bit of one hand cooking? Position bb on hip and allow them to marvel at their baller of a mama. With free hand fork-mash half a banana in a bowl (rest bowl on a tea towel so it doesn’t slip). Scatter in two tablespoons of ground almond and three of dedicated coconut. Stir to combine into a sticky soft dough. Bam it into the fridge for a few mins before returning for the ball-rolling. I took the bowl to the playmat and rolled down there with the babe so she could watch (= eat half the mixture). This amount should yield about six or eight pram-snack-sized balls. Roll ’em in an extra bit of coconut (whizz them round in a teacup with a sprinkle of coconut in it, endless LOLs) to give them more grip. Three is good in a petit pot in your pram bag, and the rest will keep in fridge for three days if the daddies don’t find them.