marshmallowSchool is back in full swing, so days are packed and schedules are tight. The holiday season is coming on strong, too, with its own hectic fun. It all adds up to a recipe for junk food overload. To keep everyone satisfied and healthy, try these alternatives for after-school and party snacking.

Banana Ice Cream: Because bananas are very high in pectin, when they freeze they become creamy and a little gooey. This recipe makes about 1 cup, or 2 servings, of ice cream.
1 large ripe banana
(optional) Peanut butter, strawberries, cinnamon, cocoa powder, honey, Nutella, etc.

  • Peel the bananas and cut them into coins. Freeze them at least 2 hours, longer is better.
  • Blend the frozen banana pieces in a small food processor by pulsing. Keep blending.
  • The bananas start looking crumbly, then smashed. Scrape the walls of the food processor. The banana will start to look gooey. Scrape it again. The banana will start to smooth out but still have chunks. Scrape. Finally, the banana wil turn into soft-serve ice cream texture. Blend a bit longer to aerate the ice cream, adding any optional mix-ins at this stage.
  • Eat immediately or freeze it until solid.

Cookie Dough Dip: This doesn’t sound healthy, but take a look at the ingredients…no flour! No eggs! The dough is actually made from chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans). smileyProtein! Gluten-free! Happy dance!
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
1/8 tsp plus 1/16 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking soda
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ cup nut butter
Up to ¼ cup choice of milk, only if needed
Sweetener of choice: brown sugar (I used ½ cup), agave, maple, evaporated cane juice, etc.
1/3 cup chocolate chips, or similar
2 to 3 Tbsp oats or ground flax

  • Put all ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, into a food processor and process until very smooth.
  • Mix in the chocolate chips. It should be the consistency of real cookie dough. Add the milk a tiny bit at a time if needed.
  • Serve with apple and celery, graham crackers, or just spoons!

Roasted Chickpeas: My taste-testers (my teen and tween children) said these roasted chickpeas are a bit like CornNuts, which is high praise coming from them. But, no worries, these aren’t nearly the tooth-crushers CornNuts are. They are great by the handful, on top of salads, or added into a snack mix. Feel free to change up the spices. You could even make these sweet with sugar and cinnamon!
2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp sea salt

  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • Toss all the ingredients together in a large bowl until evenly coated.
  • Spread the chickpeas in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Let cool and store in an airtight container at room temperature.
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