Food blogger Jessica Gavin is an expert at unraveling the science behind flavorful, healthier cooking and sharing that know-how on her blog, Jessica Gavin – Culinary

Scientist ( She loves developing recipes for delicious food, beverages and children’s treats and sharing her simple, family-friendly tips with her readers. She created these healthy and satisfying snacks that you can make to keep you and your kids fueled for the school year ahead.


Banana bread flavored popcorn is the perfect after-school treat.
Banana bread flavored popcorn is the perfect after-school treat.


1 cup walnuts

1 cup banana chips,


4 cups popcorn, Skinny

Pop brand

½ teaspoon cinnamon,


¼ teaspoon nutmeg,


¼ teaspoon ginger, ground

¼ teaspoon allspice


Heat a small pan over medium heat. Add walnuts and toast for 5 minutes until crunchy, tossing every minute for even toasting. Turn off heat and set pan aside.

Add 1/2 cup of banana chips to a blender or food processor. Process until powder forms, about 10 seconds. Transfer contents to a small bowl and set aside.

Add popcorn to a medium-size bowl. Add in cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice.

Toss to combine until the popcorn is evenly coated. Add 2 tablespoons of the ground banana chips and stir to combine. (Some will stay at the bottom of the bowl but mix as best you can.)

Add in 1/2 cup of whole banana chips and walnuts. Store in an airtight container

for up to one week, or divide into five individual resealable bags as a portable snack.

Note: The ground banana chips are optional; the popcorn will still have lots of flavor without the banana powder if you don’t have a blender or are tight on time. You can also skip toasting the walnuts; however, it adds crunchiness and brings out the flavor.


This sweet and healthy treat is the best of both worlds.
This sweet and healthy treat is the best of both worlds.


½ cup coconut oil, softened to

room temperature

¾ cup pure maple syrup,

or 1 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ cup sliced almonds, plus 2

tablespoons for topping

1½ cups white whole wheat flour,

or whole wheat flour

1½ cups old-fashioned oats

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup seedless raspberry jam,

such as Knott’s Berry Farm

1 cup raspberries, fresh


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a 9-by-9-inch or 12.5-by-9-inch pan with foil, lightly grease the foil with vegetable oil or cooking spray. Set aside.

With a hand mixer or stand mixer with whisk attachment, beat coconut oil and maple syrup or brown sugar on medium-high speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until combined. Add the vanilla and whisk for 30 seconds until incorporated.

In a separate bowl, combine almonds, flour, oats, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and beat on low speed until blended and crumbly. Remove 1 1/4 cups of the mixture and set it aside.

Add the remaining mixture into the prepared pan. Use the bottom of a greased measuring cup or your fingers to press the mixture evenly into the pan.

Slightly melt the jam in a microwave-safe bowl for 15 seconds at a time, stirring in

between and continuing to heat until the jam is easily spreadable.

Spread the raspberry jam over the crust, and then top with raspberries, distributed evenly throughout the pan. Sprinkle the reserved oat mixture and 2 tablespoons of sliced almonds over the top.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until the top is light golden brown and the jam is

bubbling around the edges.

Cool completely before cutting into bars. Recipe makes approximately 20 bars, depending on how large you cut them.


These yummy crispy apple treats are the perfect snack for busy students on the go.
These yummy crispy apple treats are the perfect snack for busy students on the go.


2 apples (use your favorite variety)

2 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, set aside. Sift 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar into a bowl.

Add 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon to the powdered sugar. Gently whisk to combine the sugar and cinnamon, set aside.

Wash and dry the apples. Thinly slice the apples using a mandolin, to 1/16 inch. If you’re

using a knife, try to slice the apples to no larger than 1/8 inch. Remove the seeds from the individual slices.

Spread the apple slices onto the lined baking pans, making one single layer. About 15 slices should fit comfortably on a half-sheet pan.

Transfer the cinnamon and sugar mixture into a sifter. Gently sprinkle each apple slice with a thin coating of the mixture, then turn over the apple slices and sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar.

Bake for 1 hour, then flip and bake for an additional hour. Depending on the thickness of

the apples, continue to cook for extra time if needed, until crispy.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Healthy snacks for kids: These DIY treats will earn an A+

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