girl holding a piece of bread with cream cheese and vegetables on it. girl holding a piece of bread with cream cheese and vegetables on it. Your kids' lunches don't have to come from a box. (Photo: gorillaimages / Shutterstock)

10 snacks for your family to make, not buy

The best things in life don't always come in slick packaging. Make these family-friendly foods right at home.

As the week drags on, you've made an astute observation: the longer your grocery list gets, the shorter your time at home becomes.

But what if you could make those things your family keeps clamoring for at home instead? What if "donut night" became a fun family baking project, rather than a trip to the nearest drive-thru? What if preparing your kids' school lunches for the week didn't involve searching through supermarket aisles for hours?

It is possible – we'd even say preferable – to make your kids' favorite snacks and lunch items without exorbitant effort, time and cost. And with the help of our talented Israeli Kitchen at-home chefs, we'll show you how.


Hummus

Hummus with pita chipsChips and dip, Mediterranean style. (Photo: Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock)

Make this Mediterranean staple at home using a few simple ingredients and surprisingly little time. And don't limit this creamy dip to a bowl alongside pita or veggies. Hummus is also a superb sandwich condiment, excellent with a few cucumber or avocado slices on top.


Pita bread

PitaPita (Photo: cunaplus/Shutterstock)

Speaking of sandwiches, this pita bread recipe is a great introduction to the concept of homemade bread. It's not at all difficult, and you'll be delighted by the freshness you'll bring to the table, as well as the irresistible aroma wafting through the house. For more traditional sandwich bread, try this recipe.


Donuts

chocolate cake donuts with peppermint glazeGet creative with homemade donuts, like these chocolate cake donuts with peppermint glaze. (Photo: Sarah F. Berkowitz)

Gourmet donut shops are all the rage right now, but they're not the only place you can get these colorful, extraordinary pastries. Homemade donuts are definitely in your wheelhouse, even for the most inexperienced cooks among us. You can fix up Israeli Kitchen blogger Miriam Kresh's version of the sufganiyot, a jelly-filled donut found throughout Israel, or try chef Sarah Berkowitz's creative spin on cake donuts, with two topping options.


Sunflower seed butter

Sunflower seed butter spread on bread.Sunflower seed butter spread on bread, topped with bananas. (Photo: Tracy Benjamin/Flickr)

Is sunflower seed butter the new peanut butter? For many parents, this spread has become a favorite, due to both its simple ingredients (sunflower seeds, oil, salt) and lower risk of allergy (no peanuts in sight!). When Kresh got wind of this trendy condiment, she decided that rather than pay the hefty price for a jar, she'd just go ahead and make it herself. And you can, too.


Fruit bars

cherry oat barsThese cherry oat bars, which can also be made into chocolate cherry oat bars, are gluten-free, high in soluble fiber and oozing with tart cherry filling. (Photo: Sarah F. Berkowitz)

Breakfast, lunch, midday snack, midnight snack ... there's hardly an inappropriate time to grab one of these homemade fruit bars. And the best part is that they're super easy to whip up at home. As our blogging chefs discovered, commercially purchased energy and fruit bars are packed with so many ingredients humans don't need – high-fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated soybean oil – that making these bars at home just makes sense.


Chive cream cheese

cream cheese on baguettes with parsley and chivesCream cheese and baguettes are a perfect pair. (Photo: /Shutterstock)

If you've ever looked in the fridge and discovered in horror that you're out of cream cheese, you probably thought, "Guess it's time to make another grocery run!" Well, next time, think outside the shmear – make this creamy, crowd-pleasing spread at home.


Ice cream

Banana black cherry ice cream in a glass.Banana black cherry ice cream is the perfect summer dessert. (Photo: Sarah F. Berkowitz)

Finally, an ice cream that comes from the earth, rather than from a box or a machine. This recipe for banana black cherry ice cream includes no added sugar, no cream, no stabilizers and all the satisfaction and sweetness you get from traditional ice cream. You can mix and match with different fruits, and even top with something creamy or chocolatey, if you prefer.


Granola

Granola in a bowl.With granola, you can vary most of the ingredients to your taste. (Photo: Miriam Kresh)

See those boxes of cereal lined up like toy soldiers in your pantry, taking up about 80 percent of its space? Give it – and the loads of sugar that come with it – a rest. Before your next breakfast, give this fresh homemade granola recipe a try, and you'll wonder why you ever poured milk into anything else.


French fries

sweet potato friesBy replacing Idaho potatoes with sweet potatoes, and baking instead of frying, you can up the ante on nutritional value. (Photo: Sarah F. Berkowitz)

French fries get a bad rap. They're generally devoured alongside greasy, devoid-of-nutrition cheeseburgers and sugar-laden soft drinks. This recipe puts french fries in their place – the oven. Next time someone asks you, "Would you like fries with that?" remember that the correct answer is, "No thanks, I've got some baking at home!"


Applesauce

Homemade applesauceHomemade applesauce (Photo: MSPhotographic/Shutterstock)

When life hands you apples, eat them! When you're sick of apples, make applesauce! This handy, easy-as-pie recipe for homemade applesauce works well with any variety of apple, and like so many recipes shared above that our Israeli Kitchen chefs excel at, this one is free of mass-produced additives and chemicals, and includes just a little sugar. Aside from being a pleasant side dish to any lunch, applesauce is also a wonderful topping for potato pancakes or rice pudding.

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10 snacks for your family to make, not buy
The best things in life don't come in packages. Make these family-friendly foods right at home.