It’s tough to find a kid who adores vegetables, so getting the suggested amounts into your children on a daily basis can be difficult. The USDA recommends eating 2 ½ cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit per day, or about half of a dinner plate, but most people don’t come close to eating that much. Making vegan class snacks is a great way to ensure kids get the nutrition they need in a fun, tasty way. Here are five suggestions for vegan elementary classroom snacks that will tempt even the pickiest eaters. Some recipes call for nut butter, so check with your child’s teacher to see if any of the kids have allergies and be ready with nut-free substitutes.
Ants on a Log
The classic version features sliced celery stuffed with peanut butter and topped with raisins. You can give it an update by substituting tahini, cashew butter, sunflower seed butter or almond butter. Change up the toppings by using dates, Craisins, or goji berries.
You can make these ahead of time but it’s more fun to have the kids make their own as part of a class party activity. Cut pieces of elastic cord long enough to easily slip over each child’s head and tie a large knot on one end. Wash pieces of fruit such as strawberries, blueberries, and grapes to use as “beads” and thread yarn needles (plastic ones are available for younger kids) with the cord. Let the kids choose their own patterns of “beads” and string them onto the cord to create unique, one of a kind fruit necklaces.
Pumpkin Pie Bites
These would be fun for a Halloween party or for snacks anytime in the fall. You’ll need 2 cups of plain vegan cream cheese, ¾ cup peanut or nut butter of your choice, ¼ cup pumpkin puree, 1 cup of sugar (divided) and 2 tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice, divided. In a small bowl, add ½ cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of spice and set aside. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well; it should be thick and smooth. Refrigerate for 10-20 minutes to solidify. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, dampen your hands slightly and make small balls. Dip each into the sugar/spice mixture and place on the sheet. Freeze until firm.
Watermelon Shark Fruit Bowl
For a truly memorable snack idea, serve fresh fruit in a watermelon cut to resemble a shark! Follow the directions here to turn a melon into a fearsome creature from the deep, then fill the mouth with a variety of seasonal cut fruit and berries. Use dark blue fruit like blackberries and blueberries to make the shark look like it’s jumping out of the ocean. Even the most devoted sugar eaters will be unable to resist this scary, tasty treat.
Vegan Nacho Cheese Dip
It’s hard to beat a good cheese dip at a party. Make it healthy by bringing 1 ¼ cups vegetable broth to a boil. Combine 1 cup plain non-dairy yogurt, 3 tablespoons flour, ¼ teaspoon salt, teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon chili powder and ¼ teaspoon paprika in a bowl and mix well. Reduce the heat on the broth, add the yogurt mixture and stir until thick and bubbly. Let cool and serve with an assortment of cut vegetables such as celery, carrots, and peppers.
Making vegan snacks for a classroom doesn’t have to mean boring treats. In fact, you don’t even have to tell the kids they’re eating vegan. In this case, what they don’t know really won’t hurt them.
Have you ever made vegan snacks for your class? What did you make?