KIRSTEN LUPINSKI: Bake up some fun, healthy snacks

HEALTH AND FITNESS: Kids can help create healthier alternatives to goldfish and animal crackers.

Kirsten Lupinski

Kirsten Lupinski

I want to follow up from last month’s column and give you more fun and healthy snacks that you can make with your kids. It is that time of year that the cold and chilly winter weather is coming to an end and spring is just around the corner. However, these snacks are fun, healthy and can be eaten at any time of the year.

I gave you one of my family’s favorite snack recipes in February (homemade graham crackers) and I have another cracker recipe that is just as yummy and easy to make.

You know all those goldfish crackers that your kids love to snack on? This is a healthier version that you can easily make at home. My daughter and I spent an afternoon mixing up this recipe, rolling it out and using different cookie cutters to make these.

You will need to preheat the oven to 350 degrees and then mix the following together in a mixer:

— 1 ½ cups sweet potato puree;

— ¾ cup grated parmesan cheese;

— 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese;

— ¼ cup soft butter;

— 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour;

— 1 tsp salt.

Combine all these ingredients in a mixer and mix until a sandy consistency forms. Then add ¼ cup skim (or 2 percent milk) and mix to form dough. You will need to roll out the dough on a hard surface covered with flour to prevent sticking. Then bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for about 15 minutes.

You can use any shape cookie cutters you desire, but smaller ones make little cheddar cheese crackers. This recipe makes a lot of crackers for you and your family to enjoy.

Animal crackers are another favorite of kids and this version not only allows you the opportunity to make them yourselves, but gives you a healthy version. You can use animal shaped cookie cutters for genuine animal crackers or any other shape you have on hand, or holiday shapes depending on the time of the year you make these.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the following in a food processor or mixer and mix/pulse to combine:

— 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour;

— ½ cups old fashioned oats;

— 1 tsp baking powder;

— ½ tsp salt;

— ½ tsp allspice;

— ½ cup sugar.

Add ½ cup chilled and cubed unsalted butter and mix/combine. Add 1 tsp vanilla and 1 egg and combine until a dough forms.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Roll out the dough to about ¼ inch thickness or more if you like them puffier and cut out your shapes. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

Like I previously said, these recipes are fun to make and kids love to roll out the dough and use different cookie cutters to make a variety of shapes and sizes. Plus, they will love to eat them because they helped make them.

Enjoy baking and have a happy beginning of spring.

Kirsten Lupinski is an assistant professor at Albany State University in the Department of Health and Human Performance. She has a B.S. in Nutrition from the University of North Carolina, an M.S. in Health Education from the University of Kentucky and a doctorate in Education from the University of Cincinnati. She has worked in the health education field in various capacities (corporate health, community health, college health and wellness and university education) for more than 17 years. She and her husband have three young children (6-year-old twin boys and a 4-year-old little girl).