As the summer heat wanes and the cool mornings return, school is back in action. Parents are busy packing lunches and offering after-school snacks. With so many snack items on the market, it’s hard to pick good, affordable choices. If you throw common food sensitivities into the mix, then there really aren’t many options available. So what is a parent to do? I have a solution!
If cost is not of concern then these are some good choices. All of the below are free of the top four allergens (gluten, dairy, eggs, and nuts), and contain quality ingredients:
However, as a mother and registered dietitian, I love to take on recipe challenges. Can I make an easy, simple, and allergen-friendly baked treat that even my preschooler approves of? Yes!
So here it is. A little oatmeal cookie, low in added sugar, made with simple ingredients, and best of all, super adaptable.
These cookies make a great addition to a balanced lunch or along with some additional protein (hummus, yogurt, cheese, meat stick) for a balanced snack. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for about five days. The cookies do tend to soften over time. To freshen up, simply toast in the toaster for a few minutes. These oatmeal cookies also freeze well in case you want to double or triple the recipe.
To show you how adaptable this recipe is, I have created a base recipe with four different options. I tried to keep the base recipe as simple as possible. However, a few more options are:
Add a tablespoon of nut or seed butter for a little extra protein and fat.
Swap out the regular sugar for coconut sugar.
Drizzle with a homemade yogurt icing for an extra special finish.
Every batch makes about 10 mini cookies. Our favorite one is the Seedy Coconut!
In another larger bowl, mix together the wet ingredients. Note: Greenish bananas are preferred in the wet ingredients because they act more like an additional starch or binder, and provide less of a banana flavor to the cookie which allows the other ingredients to shine.
Transfer the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir until combined. The dough shouldn’t be too wet.
Turn the oven on to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and place the dough into the freezer while the oven heats up to temp. This will make it easier to scoop out the batter. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
When the oven is preheated, scoop out the dough to make 10 evenly sized cookies. We used a tablespoon cookie scoop. Press the cookies a little with a spoon or with your hand to make a more uniform “cookie” shape.
Bake for 15-17 minutes. Then remove them from the oven and let them cool before handling.
Add 2 tablespoons of chopped semi-sweet chocolate chips to the dry ingredients. Alternatively you can use mini chips to avoid chopping. Allergen caution: some semi-sweet chocolate chip brands contain added milk – so just double check!
Add 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds (or finely chopped pumpkin seeds) and 2 tablespoons of finely-shredded, unsweetened dried coconut to the dry mixture.
Finely grate ¼ cup of carrots (the finer, the better) and add them to the wet ingredients. Add ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice and 1 tablespoon chopped raisins to the dry ingredients.
Finely grate ½ of a medium apple. There will be a lot of apple juice. This will replace your 3 tablespoons of milk from the base recipe. Stir into the wet ingredients. Add ½ teaspoon of cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of finely-chopped dried apples or dried cranberries to the dry mixture.
How To Make the Easy Yogurt Icing
Mix together 2 tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt or another thick, non-dairy yogurt together with ¼ cup powdered sugar until smooth. Spoon into a zip-close bag, cut off a small corner, and drizzle over the cookies.
Selva Wohlgemuth is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and owner of Happy Belly Nutrition in Bellingham, Washington. She specializes in gut health and has an in-depth knowledge of women’s health.