Cooking real food meals – not too hard. Providing your kids with real food snacks every day – nearly impossible!
If your kids are like mine, they love snacks. We keep snacks small, but I have no desire to skip them and risk a blood sugar crash!
I am diligent with keeping meals balanced and nutrient-dense, but sometimes adding several snacks to the list feels like too much. I give in to the store-bought granola bar or a handful of dried fruit. Easy for sure. Healthy – not as much.
I’d rather not resort to packaged food so often, so it’s nice to have some nourishing snack options that kids love AND don’t require much effort.
Quick Snack: Air Fryer Chickpeas
Introducing Air Fryer crispy chickpeas – the perfect snack!
It only takes a few minutes to prepare the chickpeas. Then the Air Fryer does all the work. It’s so quick you’ll have a healthy snack in ten minutes. Just enough time to read a book or two with the kids while you wait.
You can use canned or home-cooked chickpeas for this delicious treat. The Instant Pot is my go-to for cooking garbanzo beans or any other bean. Use this simple guide to learn how to cook all types of beans. Just be sure to factor the cooking time of the beans into the process if using dry chickpeas. Cooking the beans in advance is helpful.
High Protein Snack For On The Go
Beans are one of my favorite foods because they contain a good amount of both protein and fiber (not to mention other key vitamins and minerals).
While beans are not a complete protein, I don’t worry about that for a snack. You can fill in the other essential amino acids at meals. Or pair the chickpeas with cheese or a hard-boiled egg.
Chickpeas are the most kid-friendly bean in my opinion. They have a very mild flavor.
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My kids actually love to eat chickpeas plain as snacks. When you add some oil and seasoning it takes snack time to a whole new level, and by adding olive oil you’ve got protein, fiber, and healthy fat all in one! That is what I call smart snacking.
Whether you are at home or on the go, crispy chickpeas are a simple solution to snack time.
Healthy Snacks for Lunchboxes
Now that kids are back in school, healthy snacks are more important than ever!
If you want your child’s brain to function optimally, he or she needs to be eating non-inflammatory, brain-supportive foods. This includes real, unprocessed foods that contain protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Crispy chickpeas fit this description perfectly!
Strategic snacks are also important for energy production. Did you know that using your brain burns calories? According to Doug Boyer, associate professor at Duke University, “In the average 5- to 6-year-old, the brain can use upwards of 60% of the body’s energy.”1 Thinking requires fuel. So make sure your child is prepared.
Make a big batch of Air Fryer crispy chickpeas at the start of the week and use them as snacks and lunch components throughout the week. Bonus – it will make lunch packing easier!
Easy Crispy Chickpea Recipe
While these simple Air Fryer chickpeas can be used as a nourishing snack, there are other ways to enjoy them.
The crispy texture makes these garbanzo beans a perfect salad topping! Whether you are serving a kid-friendly salad bar or you’re making a delicious layered salad or warm veggie salad, roasted chickpeas make a great addition. They are also a unique substitute for croutons.
Crispy chickpeas can also serve as the base for a unique hummus. They add both texture and flavor!
Eaten as a snack, as part of lunch, or in your favorite salad, crispy chickpeas will become your new favorite bean.Print
Sweet and salty chickpeas with a crunch!
Savory Crispy Chickepeas:
- 1 15–oz. can of chickpeas or 2 cups home-cooked chickpeas
- 2 tsp. extra virgin
- 1 tsp. unrefined sea
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. non-fortified nutritional yeast (optional)
Sweet & Salty Crispy Chickpeas:
- 1 15–oz. can chickpeas or 2 cups home-cooked chickpeas
- 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp. honey
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Heat Air Fryer to 375-degrees F with insert. Set timer to 9 minutes and let preheat for 3 minutes.
- While the Air Fryer is heating, drain the chickpeas and mix them with oil, honey, and seasoning in a small bowl.
- After 3 minutes pour the chickpea mixture into the Air Fryer basket with insert.
- Cook for 3 minutes.
- Pause the Air Fryer and shake the basket/move the chickpeas around.
- Cook for another 3 minutes.
- Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
The recipe easily doubles.
You can add additional seasonings to create unique flavors: basil, oregano, turmeric, dill, etc
- Serving Size: 1/2 cup
- Calories: 412
- Sugar: 12g
- Sodium: 494mg
- Fat: 9g
- Saturated Fat: 1g
- Carbohydrates: 65g
- Fiber: 19g
- Protein: 21g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
Keywords: snack, lunch box snack, kid-friendly
Easy Snack Kids Can Make
Aside from the nutrition factor, Air Fryer crispy chickpeas are one of my favorite snacks because they are so easy for kids to make!
Younger kids can mix up the chickpeas. Older kids or an adult can operate the Air Fryer. And little ones will love checking on the crispy beans. Some of them might even pop!
You can also have some fun experimenting with different flavors and creating your own unique variety. I was quite surprised that my kids preferred the savory variety over the sweet. Try it and see what your kids like best.
And if there is one lesson you can learn from my kitchen experimentation it’s this: Make at least a double batch! Crispy chickpeas always disappear way too quickly. That’s a good kind of problem when trying to feed your kids nutrient-dense, real food!
What is your go-to easy and healthy snack for kids?
- Bryce, E. (2019, November 9). How Many Calories Can the Brain Burn by Thinking? Live Science. https://www.livescience.com/burn-calories-brain.html ↩︎