If your family is gluten intolerant or allergic, do you find you’re up against a brick wall when coming up with a snack or a nibble for them?
Just because your child needs to avoid gluten, doesn’t mean they should miss out on fun snacks to fill their tummies. Packed with great nutrition, these gluten-free recipes mean they won’t be missing out on vital vitamins and minerals. Just be sure to make extra for yourself!
Snacks They’ll Go Bananas For
Bananas are already well known as a naturally sweet addition to baking and snacks. They’re great to use as a ‘binder’ in gluten-free cooking or just as a simple fix to get your child topped up after school.
This can be made in seconds. It’s best to use quite a firm banana in this recipe so the roll is easier to cut. There are a great variety of gluten-free wraps on the market nowadays so just choose your favourite. By all means make your own wraps if you have time, but sometimes you just need to fill them up quick!
Ingredients (serves 2 small children)
1 Banana (firm)
1 Gluten-Free Wrap
1 tbsp Smooth Peanut Butter
1 tsp Runny Honey
1 tbsp Toasted Peanuts
Warm the wrap slightly to make it a bit more ‘floppy’ and easier to roll. Lay it out flat and spread the peanut butter over evenly. Bash the peanuts a little and sprinkle over the wrap. Drizzle over the honey evenly. Peel the banana and place it at one end of the wrap. Tightly roll it up, ensuring there are no gaps between the banana and peanut butter.
Slice into pieces and serve with an ice cold glass of milk.
Tip: You could use chopped almonds and almond butter if you prefer.
Nutrition Per Whole Roll
Calories – 336
Carbohydrate – 59.8g
Protein – 6.7g
Fat – 9.5g
Chickpea Sweet Treats
These delightful little fellas are sweet, nutty and a great base for gluten-free baking. How about just roasting some for 15 minutes in a hot oven? A little bit of olive oil and sea salt drizzled over provides enough flavour, but feel free to go a bit mad with cinnamon, ginger, cumin or other warming spices.
A gluten-free slice that’s full of chickpea protein. Almond butter and maple syrup add a lovely creamy sweetness and some flaked almonds provide essential vitamin E and manganese. This is a nutritious, gluten-free snack that everyone would enjoy.
1 240g tin Chickpeas
2 tbsp Maple Syrup
2 tbsp Almond Butter
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 tbsp Ground Almond
2 tbsp Flaked Almonds
½ tsp Gluten-Free Baking Powder
3 tbsp Almond Milk
1-2 tsp Coconut Sugar to sprinkle over the top (optional)
Drain the chickpeas.
Tip: reserve the water to make something else (search for recipes using ‘aquafaba’, you’ll be surprised!).
Using a food processor, blend the chickpeas, maple syrup, almond butter, vanilla, ground almonds, baking powder and almond milk.
Spread into a small lined baking tray. Sprinkle over the almond flakes and coconut sugar (if using) and place in a preheated oven at 180°C.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until just cooked and still quite squidgy in the centre.
Store in an airtight container and eat within five days.
Nutrition Per Slice
Calories – 130
Protein – 4.3g
Carbohydrate – 11.7g
Fat – 7.3g
With nut allergies on the rise, schools are often keen to remove any form of nut from children’s packed lunches. Hemp seeds make for a super healthy alternative and are a great source of vitamin B, D and calcium.
Nut-Free Nut Balls
This gluten-free snack can be taken to a nut-free school and it’s full of brain power boosting Omega-3. Much cheaper than any shop-bought version, these can be popped into lunch boxes really easily.
1 cup of Porridge Oats
3 tbsp Hemp Seeds (hulled)
1 tbsp Coconut Oil (melted)
2 tbsp Tahini
2 tbsp Maple Syrup
1 tbsp Protein Powder (optional)
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tbsp Cocoa Powder (optional)
Whizz all of the ingredients in a food processor until well combined. With damp hands, divide and squeeze the mixture into 10 balls.
These can be rolled in cocoa powder if you like.
Store in an airtight container. Eat within four to five days.
Nutrition Per Ball
Calories – 91
Carbohydrate – 8.3g
Protein – 4.2g
Fat – 5.6g
Sweet, juicy and full of protein, edamame beans are super fuel for children and can be a real change from the usual boiled pea.
Fat Peas aka Edamame Beans
Cooked and stored in exactly the same way as standard peas, edamame beans can just be added as a simple side dish, finger food or used in the following recipe.
Green Fingers and BBQ Sauce
Edamame beans are a source of vitamin C, iron and calcium. Binding and filling, they’re a great enhancement to cooking gluten-free snacks.
200g Frozen Edamame Beans
90g Gluten-Free Flour
1 tsp Gluten-Free Baking Powder
20g Grated Parmesan
200ml Nut Milk (or any kind)
Large Bunch of Fresh Parsley
1 tsp Olive Oil
2 tbsp BBQ Sauce (a good quality one or make one yourself)
Boil the beans until hot and cooked. Cool until just warm. In a food processor, blend all of the ingredients together, apart from the olive oil and BBQ sauce.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook 4 blobs of the mix until bubbly on top (about 2 minutes). Flip and repeat. Remove these and keep warm. Continue to do this with the rest of the mix.
Slice the blobs into fingers and serve with the sauce in a dipping pot.
Nutrition Per 4-5 fingers
Calories – 122
Protein – 7.9g
Carbohydrate – 5.6g
Fat – 4g
Blueberries are sweet, delicious and naturally full of great vitamins and minerals, like vitamin C and K, manganese and copper. Whizzed into smoothies or baked in a gluten-free muffin, they are a wonderful fruit to incorporate into your child’s diet.
Blueberry Jam Tarts
Who says gluten-intolerant children can’t enjoy a traditional teatime favourite, the jam tart? These are made with a chia seed jam and a lovely, crunchy rice flour, oat and almond crust.
For The Jam
2 tbsp Chia Seeds
1 tbsp Water
1 tbsp Maple Syrup
For the Base
3 tbsp Jumbo Oats
3 tbsp Ground Almonds
2 tbsp Rice Flour
1 tbsp Coconut Oil (melted)
2 tbsp Maple Syrup
½ tsp Cinnamon
2 tbsp Almond Milk (to mix)
To make the jam, mix the blueberries, maple syrup and chia seeds in a small saucepan. Stir over a medium heat and squash the blueberries until the mix thickens. Leave to cool.
Whizz the rest of the ingredients together to form a firm dough. Roll out the dough on a sheet of cling film and cut into 10 circles. Add these to a muffin/cupcake baking tin and bake for 10-15 minutes in a preheated oven at 180°C, or until lightly golden.
When the pastry cases are cool, remove from the tin and divide the blueberry jam between the cases, and leave to set.
Tip: Any leftover jam is great for swirling through natural yoghurt.
Serve these with some extra blueberries if you like. They travel well and make a great picnic or lunch box addition.
Tip: If your kids go to a nut-free school and you want to use these for packed lunches, replace the almond butter with 2 tbsp of coconut flour.
Nutrition Per Tart
Calories – 73
Protein – 1.5g
Carbohydrate – 9.9g
Fat – 3.3g
With a little bit of creative thinking, a gluten-free child in the family should have little impact on everyone else. Get creative with these tips on making healthy gluten-free snacks for your children.
- Be adventurous with the wide choice of flours available nowadays, such as teff, rice, buckwheat, oat and quinoa. Some of these flours pack a good dose of protein too, great for growing children and tired parents!
- Find binding agents in your baking that create moist textures, like beans, chickpeas and bananas. Gluten-free baking can have issues with quite ‘sandy’ bakes but if you mix them with these other softer textures you’ll have much more success.
- If just using gluten-free flours on their own, stick to recipes that are quite short in texture, like pastry, shortbread and crackers.
- Don’t spend extra on gluten-free flours you can make at home. Whizz porridge oats, buckwheat groats and quinoa grains in a food processor to make your own flour. Ready milled versions are so expensive!
- Remember there are other foods to pack energy-giving carbohydrates into your child’s diet. Colourful, vitamin-rich fruit and vegetables, yoghurts and other dairy, beans and potatoes are also sources of carbohydrates that are all naturally gluten free!
- When out and about, it is important to look for hidden gluten to prevent unwelcome symptoms.
Finally, if you have any questions or concerns about coeliac disease or gluten intolerance, it’s always best to speak to your doctor.