I am always tring to think of a healthy snack that doesn't contain too much sugar. These fit the bill in so many ways as they are really low in refined sugar, in fact you can leave it out all together if you want!
1 stick of butter
4 tblsp maple syrup
2 tblsp apple sauce
2 tblsp brown sugar (optional)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups oatmeal
3 tblsp unsalted sunflower seeds
2 tblsp flax seeds (optional)
Preheat your oven to 170oC. Grease a shallow medium sized baking dish. Put the oats and cinnamon into a mixing bowl. Melt the butter with the maple syrup and sugar, you can do this in a small saucepan or in the microwave on low power. When the butter has melted stir in the apple sauce.
Chop the apples finely, skin on – I use the fine setting on the mandolin. If you don't have a mandolin a grater is also fine, but I find the mandolin gives slightly bigger pieces which are nicer in flavour and consistency, and give a haystack kind of look to the oatcakes. The mandolin will make long skinny sticks of apple which may need to be cut in length once or twice to make them about an inch to an inch and a half long. I do a couple of random lengthwise chops on the pile of chopped apple. Naturally if your kids are helping be careful with a mandolin as they are extremely sharp!
Add the butter and maple mixture to the oats, and stir in the apples and the seeds. Spread the mixture into your baking tin and press down with the back of a spoon. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden on top.
Cool them for about 10 minutes after taking out of the oven and cut them into snack sized pieces while still warm.
Unsalted sunflower seeds – where I live these are incredibly difficult to find. I buy salted ones and just give them a rinse in warm water and dry them on a piece of kitchen towel. If you do this first they will be dry by the time you need to add them to the oat mixture.
Flax seeds – these are optional as while some kids will love the added crunch and texture they give, other kids don't like small seeds in their foods. If you 'smash' them a little in a mortar and pestle – or put them in a plastic bag and hit them with a rolling pin – kids won't notice the small seeds as much – this also helps in the absorption of the nutrients. However they are worth a try as they are such a little power pack of goodness that they are a fantastic addition to a snack. Flax seeds are cheap, generally easy to buy, the are low in carbohydrate, really high in dietary fibre, full of antioxidants, Omega 3 oils, just to name a few of their good things!
Sugar - The sugar is optional, and they taste great with or without it. If you don't use sugar you can add an extra spoon of apple sauce. Sugar will make them slightly crunchier.
Oats and gluten – With so many kids on restricted diets these days it is nice to find a snack that is almost allergy free. It is a common question to whether oats contain gluten. The simple answer is no, however it is important to note, while oats are gluten free, some people with ceoliac disease cannot tolerate a protein in oats which is similar to gluten. Approximately 20% of people who have a gluten intolerance may also be intolerant to this protein. So it is worth checking with a parent before serving these to a child with ceoliac disease. Also as many grains are processed at the same time oats may be contaminated with wheat products, so it is important to buy oats labelled 'gluten free' if your child is on a gluten free diet.