Do you know you can make nice and healthy snacks for kids with what you have at home?
If the stores in your locality still have packaged snacks on their shelves, it is not an indication for you to throw caution to the wind and relax.
People are no longer going to work. It is a #stayathome time and so, factories are no longer producing more.
Snacks are a big part of children’s diets. Hence, it is important you don’t let the novel coronavirus take that away from your kids.
It is not unlikely that your first instinct would be to start rationing (managing snacks for kids).
But with the seemingly consistent extension of the covid-19 lockdown, it might be reasonable to approach this from a more sustainable POV, that of making your own easy home-made snacks for kids.
They will delight their taste buds, satisfy and fuel your ever-active kids.
Here are 10 healthy snack ideas to try:
1. Coconut Candy
Coconut candies are candy-like, crunchy, chewable, and really easy to make and they are great snacks for kids.
Traditionally they could be thinly grated and fried but in recent times, some people just adopt the caramel initiative. The creamy or golden-brown color is dependent on the choice of adding water or not, respectively. The water determines the caramelizing level. You can adjust the sugar used to your preference, and coconut candies can be served with chocolate or eaten like that.
- Break the coconut, collect the coconut juice from it, and set the juice aside.
- Remove the meat from the shells and grate the meat into tiny pieces. You want to grate along the meat of the coconut rather than across it. This is to ensure that you’ll have long thin coconut pieces rather than a mass of grated coconut.
- Pour the coconut juice into the pot.
- Add the sugar and stir.
- Then grated coconut and stir.
- Add water to the same level as the grated coconut; cover the pot and set to boil at high heat.
- Once the contents start boiling, stir continuously till all the water is just about evaporated.
- Reduce to low heat and keep stirring; stir until the sugar caramelizes and everything starts sticking together.
- Continue stirring till the coconut pieces begin to turn slightly brown.
- Turn off the heat and scoop the very hot coconut candy onto a flat plate and leave to cool down. The coconut candy should be sticky when cold. It should not be dry.
- Serve your snack or put in the freezer (can be stored for up to a month).
Would you prefer a video directive? Click here to see the simplest way to make coconut candy at home
Kids never say no to Popcorn. This snack may look dry to you, but Popcorn actually has 4 grams of fiber per 3-cup serving, which makes it a very filling snack. Plus, it’s endlessly versatile. You can transform your home-made popcorn with all sorts of toppings, including grated cheese, caramel, cinnamon, etc.
All you need is a few handfuls of corn for popcorn, margarine, salt, and/or sugar to taste. However, use caution when offering popcorn to your preschoolers, as it can be a choking hazard.
- Thoroughly remove stones and other particles from the corn and set aside.
- Melt the margarine in an empty dry pot on low heat.
- Add sugar, stir.
- Add the popcorn corn and continue stir, as soon as it starts popping, cover the pot and leave to completely pop.
- Your delicious popcorn is ready when you no longer hear the popping sound.
Prefer a video? Click here to see the simplest way to make popcorn at home
Puff-puff is the ultimate Nigerian home-made snack. It is prepared by spicing up your batter and then deep-frying in vegetable oil. In modern times, the snack is prepared with a little more sophistication, thus we have such delicacies as the puff-puff Suzette.
- Put the flour in a bowl, add the ground nutmeg, powdered yeast, sugar and salt. Mix all these together.
- Add water in small quantities and mix everything by hand till you have a good blend of all the ingredients. Add the yeast you mixed with lukewarm water if applicable. Use warm water to mix the puff-puff ingredients for it to rise faster.
- Keep mixing till the batter is smooth but not too watery to flow from a spoon.
- Cover the bowl with aluminum foil and make sure it is airtight by pressing the edges of the bowl.
- Leave to rise for about 45 minutes. When OK to fry, the Puff-Puff batter should have risen in quantity and will have some air bubbles.
- Pour some oil in a deep pot and allow to heat up. It’s not advisable to use a deep fryer for Puff-Puff because of the netting but if you want to use it, set the temperature to 170°C.
- When the oil is hot enough, scoop some batter into the oil with your hand by pressing the batter to come out from between your thumb and index finger.
- Put in more scoops of the batter, as much as the space in the frying pot will allow without overcrowding.
- Once the underside of the puff-puff has turned golden brown, flip the ball so that the topside will be fried as well.
- When both sides are golden brown, take out the puff-puff balls and place them in a sieve. If you want to reduce the oil on your Puff-puff as much as possible, then line your sieve with paper towels. The paper towels help soak away the excess oil on the puff-puff.
Prefer a video directive? Click here to learn the simplest way to make puff-puff at home
Chin-chin is a crunchy snack made with well-prepared dough, flavored and deep-fried; you can also oven-bake chin-chin. The size and shape of the snack is also of individual preference.
- Measure and Mix dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
- Measure and mix wet ingredients together except butter.
- Add butter to the dry ingredients and mix with your fingers until just combined.
- Pour in the other wet ingredients and mix together until dough forms. it should form a perfect dough but if it feels a bit stiff, add a Tbsp of water or milk. if it feels too tacky, add a Tbsp or 2 of flour no more. Try not to overwork the dough.
- Wrap in a saran wrap and allow to rest on the counter for about 5 mins. this allows flavors blend in and develops the gluten which makes it easier during the cutting process
- Unwrap rested dough, you can roll out all the dough at once since dough is small or you can divide into 2 portions and roll individually. Roll out dough to about a quarter of an inch thick because the dough will rise when you fry them.
- With a knife or pizza cutter or even a dough divider cut dough across vertically and horizontally forming little squares.
- Put little squares in a bowl and sprinkle a little flour on them and shake to prevent sticking.
- Heat up oil. Fry till light golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and spread on a paper towel-lined tray to cool. Chin-chin will be soft when hot but hardens as it cools.
Click here to see the simplest way to make chin-chin at home (video)
5. Akara (Bean Cakes)
This is one of the most popular snacks for kids/food in Nigeria.
Also known as Bean Cakes or Bean Fritters, Akara is made from beans flour, spiced to taste and deep-fried into balls. Whether or not as a snack, it is best served hot.
- Soak beans for about 30 minutes or till the skin is swollen (optional)
- Peel off the beans with your hands (the hard way) or use a blender and pulse a couple of times to split the beans (the easy way)
- This is now blended until a smooth and thick batter is formed.
- Whisk until the batter becomes airy and fluffy
- Stir in blended pepper and onions.
- Season with salt and seasoning cube (optional).
- Preheat the oil and scoop the mixture by spoonfuls into the pan
- Fry till golden brown!
Click here to see a simple video on how to make Akara.
6. Meat Pie
Nothing delights the taste buds as much as this tasty snack filled with ground beef, vegetables, and gravy.
The meat pie is a conventional snack in Nigeria. What makes this snack the interesting savory snack that it is, is the spicy meat and vegetable filling enveloped in it.
- Set your oven to 170°C (335°F) and leave to preheat while you continue with the meat pie.
- Rub margarine on the insides of the oven tray and set aside. This is so that the undersides of the meat pies do not burn or stick to the tray during baking.
- Break the egg, beat it, and set aside, you will need it pretty soon.
- Knead the dough some more, roll it out to achieve a 5mm thickness.
- Use a cutter, be it the cover of a small pot or a meat pie cutter, to make round cuts on the rolled-out dough.
- Remove the excess dough, leaving behind the round cuts.
- Scoop some meat pie filling into the center of the round cuts, the quantity should be such that you can comfortably close the dough without overflows. Don’t worry if you over-filled the first one, you have many meat pies to fill today so at some point you will know just the right quantity of meat pie filling to scoop into the dough.
- Rub the egg on the inside edge of the cut meat pie dough. Watch the video to see how this is done. This is to ensure that your meat pie is perfectly sealed and does not open up while it is being baked.
- Fold one part of the dough to meet the other end and use a fork to press the 2 edges together to close tightly. Place your work of art in the oven tray and repeat the previous step till all the cut-out dough is exhausted.
Have you read: Coronavirus Lockdown:10 Fun Things Mums Can Do At Home
11. Roll out more dough, cut, fill, close and place in the greased oven tray till all the dough is used.
12. Rub the egg on the meat pies. This gives the meat pie a golden-brown look when done.
13. Set the tray in the preheated oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes.
This time will depend on the type and heating capacity of your oven.
For some ovens, the meat pie will be done in half an hour, for some, it may take up
to 50 mins.
Whatever type of oven you have, the important thing to know is that the best meat pies are the ones baked at medium heat.
You can confirm that the meat pie is done when it starts browning. It is alright to open the oven to check this.
Click here to see a simple video on how to make a yummy meat pie in your kitchen.
7. Nuts Are Great Snacks For Kids
Nuts are such lifesavers, just ask your cardiologist. When nuts are mentioned in Nigeria, the first two that come to mind in order of popularity are groundnuts (peanut) and cashew nuts.
Both nuts can be taken independently and can as well make great accompaniments. In Nigeria, groundnuts as a snack can go with bread, bananas, roasted plantain, cucumbers or garden eggs.
8. Plantain Chips
Plantain chips are one of the staple snacks for Kids and adults in Nigeria. Indeed, there are a variety of things to do with plantains, ripe or unripe. As for snacks, they are made as chips, roasted/fried plantains, plantain pancakes, plantain pies, or battered plantains.
- Peel the plantains. Cut off both tips of a plantain then cut a line across the ridges of a plantain then lift the skin from the cut portion and remove the entire skin with your hands.
- Slice the plantains into chips using a mandoline slicer, the slicing side of a box grater or just cut thinly with a knife.
- In a small bowl, mix a quarter cup of water and the salt. Set aside.
- Place oil in a deep pan up to 4 inches high. Heat the oil on high for about 10 minutes (the oil should be 350 degrees Fahrenheit hot). Turn down the heat to medium then add two tablespoons of the saltwater. Add the plantains one after the other. (I added half of the plantains at this point.)
Gently stir the plantains and let them fry in the oil while you stir from time to time for about 5 minutes. After that, remove the chips and place them on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.
- Once the chips are cold, enjoy it! You can store plantain chips in an airtight container or Ziploc bag.
Click here to see a cool video of how to make plantain chips
9. Egg Rolls Are Healthy Snacks For Kids
The Nigerian egg rolls might be casually mistaken for scotched eggs but on a closer look, the difference is quite clear.
The snack is made by practically wrapping up a boiled egg in the dough, and deep-frying it.
- In a large bowl, mix together the Flour, Baking powder, Salt, Sugar and Nutmeg
- Use your fingers to blend the Margarine into the flour until it’s crumbly.
- Add the beaten egg and mix together. The dough should look dry at this point.
- Begin to introduce the water a little at a time and work the dough till the dough is soft and sticky but still workable.
- work the dough for about a minute then cover it and let it rest for about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Work the dough again for a couple of seconds to a minute and divide it into 5.
- Tightly wrap each of the dough around each Egg.
- Fry on a medium heat turning over and over again until it’s golden brown.
- Serve your Egg Roll hot or warm.
You could also watch a video of how to make savoury egg rolls. One of the snacks for kids that is easy to make.
Also Read: Covid-19: Best self-care tips for mums
10. Kuli kuli (Groundnut Cake)
Kuli Kuli is native to the Nigerian Hausa tribe.
It is made from roasted peanuts; grounded, spiced and deep-fried. This is another snack that permits a range of variety in terms of size and recipe.
- Pour the groundnuts and ginger into the powerful food processor, and set to rotate until the nuts are almost turning to the pastry cream.
- Scoop the pasty nut into a clean and dry muslin cloth and squeeze out the oil as much as you can. Do not expect to see a lot of oil. This step is very key as it determines the crunchiness of the kuli kuli.
- Pour the peanut mesh into a plastic bowl, add the powdered ground pepper.
- Mix the constituents using your fingers and shape using your palms to your preferred size.
- Place the non-stick cooking pot on the cooker and add some groundnut oil enough to fry the balls. You could also sprinkle some kahun (potash) into the oil but this is optional. You could also add some rings of onion to provide some flavour.
- Just before the temperature of the oil gets to frying point, add the shaped balls (or rods or pellets) into it and keep stirring until all sides of the balls turn brown.
- Scoop out using a spider into a plate and allow it to cool.
Here’s a video of how to make kuli kuli one of the health snacks for kids.