My little one has gotten into the habit of asking for a snack most nights before bedtime. Many nights, it's clearly a stalling tactic and she's not really hungry for anything other than more time to play or read. Other nights, she didn't quite eat enough for dinner and she needs a little more nourishment in her body before heading off to bed. I'm never quite sure which of the two it is until I actually give her the snack (she won't eat it if she's not hungry!), but I try to keep some wholesome options on hand.
I usually have an assortment of whole grain crackers in the pantry, Cheerios, fruit, cheese sticks and yogurt on hand (Siggi's yogurt tubes are a favorite since they are low in sugar and high in protein and flavor), but I also enjoy having these peanut butter bites to offer as well.
NOTE: We clearly do not have a peanut allergy in our house, so we eat plenty of peanut butter. If you do have an allergy issue, know that you can make this recipe with sunbutter or almond butter. The consistency may vary, but the results will be similar.
I have to admit that I make this as much for little Linden as I do for myself. They are the perfect pre- (or post-) workout snack since they are easy to eat and easy to digest. But they are also just sweet enough to pass as a sweet snack, which pairs especially nicely with a glass of milk. You can vary the mix-ins to your liking and play around with different sweeteners. I use brown rice syrup and honey here because I like that the combination results in a snack that's less overtly sweet, but you could also use all honey. I store each batch in a quart-size canning jar in the fridge, though if you have a young eater, do let the bites come to room temperature before serving so that they soften up a bit.
Oatmeal Raisin Peanut Butter Bites
Makes: 24-30, depending on the size of the bites
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 cup honey
1 t vanilla
1 cup quick oats (or rolled oats ground slightly in the food processor)
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 T chia seeds
1/4 cup snipped raisins
1. Place the peanut butter, brown rice syrup, and honey in a heat-proof container (such as a glass measuring cup) and warm for 15-30 seconds in the microwave. Add to a medium bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Stir thoroughly with a wooden spoon as much as you can, then use your hands to mix the dough together. (It will be messy.) Chill for 10 minutes.
2. Roll into balls (I usually do a mix of teaspoon and tablespoon balls to suit both my toddler and myself). Store in the fridge or at room temperature, depending on how firm you want them to be—the colder then are, the firmer they will be.
Use sunbutter or almond butter instead of peanut.
Use dried cranberries, cherries, apricots, or apples instead of raisins.
Skip the chia seeds.