Snack Attack

Snacks make the world go ’round when you have little kids. Snacks can diffuse a tense moment or stop a tantrum in its tracks. Hungry kids are grumpy kids, and if you don’t keep feeding them kids can be hungry pretty much most of the time. The conventional wisdom that all of the parenting books share is to keep the fridge stocked with healthy snacks at all times, so that you always have something to feed the grumbling masses. Which totally makes sense, in theory anyway.

I am going to admit that for most of my parenting career I haven’t really been a snack superstar. I relied on breastfeeding to see me through for the longest time. And even after that became insufficient, I somehow didn’t pick up the slack. Muffins aren’t my strong suit, I don’t like most of the widely-available pre-packaged snack foods and I am often pressed for time when I’m heading out the door. I keep lots of fruit and cheese on hand, but I am nowhere like some of the moms I know who always have 5 different options at all times, as well as water, napkins and unbreakable plates.

Processed dates and cashews
Making snacks

It was with some gladness, therefore, that I recently discovered a snack that the kids and I will all eat. It’s loosely based on the Power Bites from Micaela Preston’s book Practically Green, with some modifications of my own to create a chocolate and coconut version. Because I heart chocolate and coconut, especially together. I make a batch, I keep them in the fridge, and when fruit stops hitting the spot I have something ready-made to pull out. I feel like quite the domestic goddess, in fact.

If you would like to attempt to duplicate my snack glory you’re in luck, my recipe is just below this photo.

Finished snacks
Mmm, chocolate and coconut

Amber’s Chocolate Coconut Snacks

* This recipe has always been gluten-free!

1 cup packed dates, whole or chopped
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup coconut
3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Put dates and cashews into the food processor, and process until the nuts are broken down into small pieces and the ingredients cling together easily. Add coconut and cocoa, and process briefly to combine.

Form the mixture into balls approximately 1 1/2 inch across. If you want the balls to hold together better, you can refrigerate, but it’s not necessary.

Happy snacking!

Do you have any sure-fire tricks for keeping the children full and happy at all times? I now have one weapon in the war against hunger, but I could certainly use more. Especially of the non-muffin variety.

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  1. For me it is all about keeping a certain brand of protein bar in the cupboard. BOTH girls love these things (Victoria will polish one off by herself if you let her) They sometimes serve as a meal replacement for them if we are dealing with uber picky eaters that day.

    I just wish I could still eat them myself. They were my favourite mid day snack or something for after a workout. But they changed something in the ingredients so now it upsets my tummy. Booo to that!
    .-= Carrie´s last post ..Momma likes technology =-.

  2. Mmmmmmmmmm chocolate and coconut! Definitely trying this.
    .-= Dionna @ Code Name: Mama´s last post ..Disposable Diapers? Those are so last decade . . . =-.

  3. oooh chocolate.

    i keep big bags of snacking carrots in the fridge with a carton of chocolate milk. there are nut-free bars in the cupboard (school rules) to throw into the lunch bag – mind you, with only a 15 minute lunch break, and this includes having to rinse out a milk carton for bringing home (!), lunchtime at school is little more than snack time

    PS: i do make muffins too 🙂 and not all of them thermally challenged
    .-= pomomama aka ebbandflo´s last post weekend =-.

  4. I never went anywhere without cheerios and goldfish crackers. Which are still an inextricable part of much of the upholstery in the car.
    .-= allison´s last post ..********************Uglification and Derision: Outrage, Part 1 =-.

  5. Hillary Boucher says:


  6. Since Hollis weaned himself so early (14 mos) I had to figure out the snack thing pretty fast. At first it was organic Cheerios (or whatever they’re called). I’d toss a huge bag in my purse along with a sippy cup and go. I never went anywhere without a banana, either. Ever. Well, that is until he started refusing bananas. And I can’t remember who, but someone introduced him to Goldfish, so I buy those mini-packs in bulk on occasion (I’m not crazy about the ingredients, but in a pinch, they’re great). Have you tried Lara bars?? They’re made of 4 all-natural ingredients in most cases, like pistachios, molasses, oats and cherries. They’re easy for small hands to hold and they’re not messy.
    .-= Jessica – This is Worthwhile´s last post ..It’s just a color. Or is it? =-.

  7. Those look delicious!

    I agree, you got to have snacks available at all times. We like crackers and cheese, veggies and dip and peanut butter and banana roll ups when we are home and for car rides we like pepperoni sticks, goldfish and the dried fruit bars.

  8. Oh we are snackaholics! Animal crackers, graham crackers, Teddy Grahams, pretzels, goldfish (rainbow), fig neutons, fruit loops (I know, not too healthy but it’s something when nothing else works) are all examples of what I’ll have with me when we’re on the go. At home we’ll eat cereal bars, fruit strips (dried fruit), yogurt covered raisins, or gogurt.

    I tend to not make many snacks, but your recipe sounds yummy! I’ll have to try that one 🙂
    .-= Sara´s last post ..I went for an oil change and of course there were more issues… =-.

  9. YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM! So making these. They’re like larabars. Ohhhhh yum.

    As for the snacks. I always keep (in order): fruit, baby carrots, nuts (pistachios, walnuts, almonds, and cashews are the faves), cheese, tofurkey, newman’s protein pretzels, olives & pickles. Everything else comes & goes with preference, but these are staples for everyone here as far as snacking goes.
    .-= kelly (@kblogger)´s last post ..My Motherhood Roadmap =-.

  10. I love making these!

    The possibilities are really endless, peanut butter and chocolate combo? Yummy.

    Cashews are so tender and creamy, with coconut, yes please!
    .-= Amber Morrisey´s last post ..Slide Show: Placenta Encapsulation Info =-.

  11. Definitely going to try these.

    I think we’d get along just great. I’m usually the mom at the playdate who scratches her head and wonders how she didn’t get the memo that everyone was bringing 5 colorful tupperware containers of snacks with drinks, napkins and wipies for hands afterwards.

    I miss a lot of those mom memos 😉

  12. I like snacks that don’t require any baking!
    .-= Francesca´s last post ..Rich soil =-.

  13. Going to try these for sure.
    .-= AmberDusick´s last post ..Happy Mothers Day =-.

  14. These look great! I forget sometimes that I can grind nuts and use them instead of peanut butter (which my oldest hates). I will definitely give these a whirl. Pun intended!
    .-= Melodie´s last post ..Inspiration Goes Both Ways =-.

  15. Love them! I just made 1/2 a recipe to try it and used almonds in place of cashews (because I winged it at the store without a list!) and it was yummy. A little much for my little kidco food grinder but it worked. And the 4yo liked it. Is this a school-peanut-free friendly snack or no because of the nuts?
    Thanks for sharing. Off to make some tea and eat a few more.
    And any advice for rolling them and keeping your hands from getting really gunky?

    • Unfortunately, it’s not school-friendly because of the nuts. At least, that’s the case at my daughter’s school.

      As for the gunky hands, I think it’s just par for the course. Although perhaps if you put a little bit of oil on your hands first it would help?

  16. Super yummy! I just made these and subbed raisins for the dates and they turned out great.

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