In the Sparkle Sleepytime story “Bonbon the Elephant,” Bonbon is a model student in school — he does his best and is always polite. But when the elephant calf comes home, things are very different. He throws tantrums and fusses and can actually be rude. When his mother talks to his teacher about this, the wise teacher knows just what to do.
I have a quote on my office wall that says, “Avoid making irrevocable decisions while tired or hungry.” It's so true, and even as an adult I like having the reminder. Very few humans, children included, can be their true, best selves when they're tired, hungry, or both.
But sending snacks to school can be so hard. I absolutely want to be supportive of my children's friends who have allergies, but that can get complicated fast when you're trying to provide a snack for 20 kids — many of whom have different sets of concerns.
Inspired by Bonbon from the story, this snack mix is my answer to that problem.
Of course, you should still check the labels of your specific ingredients carefully, but — generally speaking — this mix should work for the whole class. It's gluten-free and nut-free, but it still features a savory/sweet combo that will satisfy those mid-afternoon munchies.
It's also incredibly easy for kids to help put together — or even make by themselves entirely. Set the ingredients out in front of them, give them a list of the number of “scoops” to count of each ingredient, and set them loose. Even if they get a little extra of one thing or another, it will still be yummy.
But how can you have an “elephant” snack mix without peanuts, you ask? Eh, elephants don't really eat peanuts anyway. They mostly eat vegetation and tree bark. I can't say that I've ever tried either of those, but if you gave me the choice, I'd definitely choose snack mix!
Bonbon's Elephant Snack Mix
makes about 11 cups
6 cups air-popped popcorn
3 cups Rice Chex cereal
1 cup banana chips
½ cup pumpkin seeds
½ cup dark chocolate chips
1-2 tablespoons popcorn salt, to taste*
Measure all of the ingredients into a large bowl. Use clean hands or a large spoon to mix them together well. Store in an air-tight container or zip-top bag, and eat within 48 hours.
(Because you aren't buttering the popcorn, it's important to use popcorn salt, as regular salt will just fall to the bottom of the bowl. If popcorn salt isn't something you would regularly buy, you can make your own by grinding the regular salt into a fine powder with a mortar and pestle or a blender.)
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About the Author
The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.
Meryl lives in a hundred-year-old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two preschoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion — showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun — in her Sparkle Kitchen posts.