With school back in session I am now getting into the swing of preparing three sets of lunches and snacks everyday.Previously I would pack my husband’s cooler in order to help him stay on the healthy eating track, and pack a bag for my sweet boy. However, since Princess E has graduated from her daycare/school (which provided breakfast, lunch & 3 snacks in the tuition cost), she now requires a bag of lunch and snacks.
And you can’t toss anything in there. The food must require no prep, be easy to open, tasty, varied and packed almost every day. Also the food should be healthy.
One of the kids favorite snacks is ‘Little Bites’. Enteman’s makes them and I beleive Little Debbie makes a version. They are basically mini-muffins. They come 3-5 to a bag depending if you get the regular or 100 calorie, and for a box of five bags will run you between $2.50 and $5.00 depending if they are on sale. And of course they are loaded with all the packaged food ‘goodies’
However, I make 12 bags of 5 little bites for $2.00 per batch or less. depending on coupons. When I make them, the recipe actually yields about 72 mini muffins, however there is some snacking going on between getting them out of the pan and into the baggies.
They are also a little healthier than little bites. Not huge, but enough to make me feel good about serving them.
Homemade Mini-Bites (Makes 72)
2 egg whites
1 can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 box chocolate cake mix
(If you are not trying to hide the pumpkin, feel free to use another flavor cake mix. I did do this with spice cake for grown ups once and they were yum!)
Mini Muffin tins
Pancake Mix squirter (This is awesome. Before I had this, I would make the biggest mess.)
1. Heat oven to 350. Spray mini muffin tins
2. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form
3. Add canned pumpkin and mix until combined. (This is the part where I rip off the label and clean the pumpkin can before the kids see. I’m a bad mom-sue me.)
4. Add cake mix and mix until combined.
5. Put mix in prepared muffin tin, filling 1/2-2/3 full.
6. Bake for 8 minutes at 350
7. Let cool for a moment in the pan, remove to wire rack
8. Cool completely and put in little bags
I typically freeze these and pop a bag into the kids lunches and they defrost in time for morning snack. They have never noticed the pumpkin taste and I can’t taste the pumpkin either. From heating the oven to clean-up this took about 45 minutes, including taking some photos which involved clearing some counter space. If I had a 2 more mini muffin tins, I could knock about 10 minutes off of this and get it done in less than 30 minutes.
Make a batch for your lunches, I promise they will be devoured.