Healthy Back to School Snacks {+ Dehydrator Giveaway}

Every year around this time, I make a commitment to pack healthier snacks for the kids when they go back to school. It’s easy and exciting to do for the first couple of weeks of the school year, and then slowly but surely we slip back into the trap of pre-packaged snacks. This is actually quite frustrating for me because I’ve done pretty well at eliminating packaged food everywhere else in our house. We no longer use soup from a can, or any pre-mixed dinners in a box, and the veggie drawer in our fridge is overflowing, but we can’t get our act together when it comes to snacks. hamilton beach food dehydratorWhen I found out that the appliance I’d be testing this month as part of the Hamilton Beach Social Kitchen program was a food dehydrator my first instinct was to try to make a papad recipe (then I started thinking about vadian and kasoori methi), but just this once, I gave the desi foods a break and decided to work on the school snacks issue. Since I’ve never used a dehydrator before, I started with very basic foods like; blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, banana chips, and fruit leathers; I’ve made mango and blueberry so far. (If you haven’t caught on already I’m trying to banish the fruit roll-ups and Dora snacks from my house.) 

For some reason I thought that dehydrating fruit was going to be more complicated than it was, but the Hamilton Beach Food Dehydrator makes it ridiculously simple. What I love about this machine is that it’s pretty compact and easy to store, it has five trays you can use all at once and don’t have to rotate, and it has a timer with auto shut-off. hamilton beach food dehydrator

So far I haven’t ventured out of the fruits realm, but I’m already in love. If you decide to get a Hamilton Beach Food Dehydrator (which you totally should), here are some tips I’ve picked up about dehydrating fruits:

  • Give yourself time. Some fruits can take 14-16 hours to dry and I did not realize that the first time I tried to make snacks for a road trip! The good news is, you don’t have to do anything while the fruit is drying – no flipping, no rotating trays.
  • Wash the fruit and let it dry before dehydrating. If you are using soft berries like raspberry however, just wash, shake off the excess water, and put them right in the machine.
  • Spray fruits that might discolour with a water lemon juice solution (I did one part lemon juice, 3 parts water) before dehydrating.
  • Follow directions for blanching certain fruits. I did not do that with my first batch of blueberries and they didn’t dehydrate properly.
  • Store your dehydrated foods properly in air tight containers. Don’t let your hard work go to waste. 

mango fruit leather, hamilton beach food dehydrator{The dehydrator comes with a special solid sheet for making fruit leathers and rolls}mango fruit leather, hamilton beach food dehydrator

Now the big question is, what did the kids think of dehydrated fruit? Complete honesty; they loved the strawberries and blueberries, and liked the mango fruit leather. I think they would have loved the mango leather if I had chosen in season and sweet mangoes. The problem is those store bought fruit rolls are loaded with sugar, so the ones I made at home didn’t seem sweet enough to them. The husband and I on the other hand loved them!

The dehydrator is a hit, but also a gentle reminder for me that I need to keep working on weaning them off of all the sugar laden “foods” they eat, and mamas new favourite kitchen appliance will definitely help with that. 

My next experiment with the food dehydrator will probably be veggies. How great would it be to dehydrate local in season veggies and have them on hand for soup and pasta sauces in the winter. I wonder if I could use dehydrated veggies to make sabzi (vegetable curries) too?

Want to learn more about the Hamilton Beach Food Dehydrator? Check out these awesome posts from my fellow #HBSocialKitchen ambassadors; Small Batch Beef Jerky, Dehydrate All the Things, and Sensational Snacks for the Cottage. Want to win your own food dehydrator?  Enter below – contest is open to Canadian residents only.

This post is sponsored by Hamilton Beach Canada. In exchange this review, I have received special perks in the form of products and compensation. All opinions on this blog are my own.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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89 Comments

  1. August 16, 2015 / 8:49 am

    So many things!! Kale chips, for sure. Also, several kinds of bread and crackers I’ve been dying to try!

  2. August 16, 2015 / 9:02 am

    I would love to try dehydrating Strawberries and Apples first if I won.

  3. Anne Taylor
    August 16, 2015 / 9:14 am

    I’d definitely dehydrate some plums and strawberries! Thanks!

  4. Sabrina Tong
    August 16, 2015 / 9:20 am

    I would dehydrate apple slices first 🙂

  5. August 16, 2015 / 9:22 am

    Everything!!! HA I’ve been dying to try Zucchini Chips!

  6. naiddia p
    August 16, 2015 / 9:43 am

    I would try to make banana chips.

  7. Carina
    August 16, 2015 / 9:44 am

    Obvs I would make beef jerky! My mum has a fantastic recipe.

  8. nomnombearinyvr
    August 16, 2015 / 10:13 am

    I think I would dehydrate some strawberry slices first!

    Jeannie Lam

  9. Tina L.
    August 16, 2015 / 12:15 pm

    I would dehydrate strawberries and bleuberries.

  10. Russell Porter
    August 16, 2015 / 12:52 pm

    I would try to make some Moose Jerky. 🙂

  11. August 16, 2015 / 4:24 pm

    i would make some fruit for my kids lunch. i find it hard to send fruit as it seems to go soggy or off come lunchtime

  12. MANDA
    August 18, 2015 / 10:05 am

    I would make fruit snacks

  13. August 18, 2015 / 3:03 pm

    I would try to make some dried kiwi and pineapples

  14. August 19, 2015 / 7:24 pm

    RAFFLECOPTER: CAROLSUE
    I would make fruit rolls — apple and others

  15. Pat
    August 20, 2015 / 1:43 pm

    I would dehydrate strawberries.

  16. August 22, 2015 / 1:23 pm

    The garden has been producing tomatoes like crazy, so I’d love to dry them to save for winter.

  17. Brandee H
    August 23, 2015 / 12:40 pm

    I would love to try beef jerky and fruit leather.

  18. Michelle Policelli
    August 23, 2015 / 8:29 pm

    I would dehydrate banana’s and strawberries first if i won 🙂

  19. angela m
    August 24, 2015 / 10:35 am

    I would dehydrate apples or strawberries.

  20. August 26, 2015 / 8:13 am

    I would try to make banana chips

  21. Tazim
    August 26, 2015 / 8:20 am

    I Would dehydrate strawberries and mango slices

  22. Viv Sluys
    August 26, 2015 / 8:32 am

    I would dehydrate apples first; apple rings and apple (maybe mixed with some berries) fruit leather. My apple tree is loaded this year and they should be ripe in a couple weeks

  23. Courtney
    August 26, 2015 / 8:33 am

    Apple slices!

  24. tanyab79
    August 26, 2015 / 8:38 am

    I would try strawberries first than potatoes.

  25. Robyn Bellefleur
    August 26, 2015 / 10:48 am

    Strawberries and apple slices.

  26. victoria W
    August 26, 2015 / 11:05 am

    would love to try making a fruit leather with berries

  27. joy
    August 26, 2015 / 11:32 am

    i would like to try apples or sweet potatoes

  28. Juliee Fitze
    August 26, 2015 / 11:55 am

    I would do sweet potatoes.

  29. ginette4
    August 26, 2015 / 12:25 pm

    I would dehydrate bananas and apples

  30. ivy pluchinsky
    August 26, 2015 / 12:52 pm

    I would dehydrate strawberries first

  31. Diane S
    August 26, 2015 / 2:10 pm

    I would dehydrate papaya and mango…..I buy them dehydrated all the time, so to do it myself would be awesome!

  32. August 26, 2015 / 4:16 pm

    I would do wild blueberries and strawberries.

  33. Cheryl
    August 26, 2015 / 4:18 pm

    I would try strawberries first 🙂

  34. August 26, 2015 / 4:20 pm

    I’d make strawberry fruit rollups!

  35. Francine
    August 26, 2015 / 4:25 pm

    apricots

  36. Jenness M
    August 26, 2015 / 4:29 pm

    I would dehydrate cranberries first.

  37. jessica s
    August 26, 2015 / 5:04 pm

    i’d try apples first!

  38. Jolie
    August 26, 2015 / 7:58 pm

    Bananas & cranberries.

  39. michelle tremblett
    August 26, 2015 / 8:40 pm

    I would love to try strawberries first, my fave fruit 🙂

  40. August 26, 2015 / 10:06 pm

    I’d love to try dehydrating bananas first.

  41. Goldie
    August 27, 2015 / 1:42 am

    wanna try mango fruit leather..and strawberries.

  42. Julia
    August 27, 2015 / 12:44 pm

    I would try making crunchy raw cookies! Or dehydrated cheezy tomato chips!

  43. August 27, 2015 / 2:09 pm

    At this time of year I always have a freezer full of wild blueberries. It would be nice to free up some space by drying some of them.

  44. krystyl olson
    August 27, 2015 / 4:44 pm

    i would make bannana chips and apple chips – and fruit leather

  45. Florence C
    August 27, 2015 / 6:35 pm

    I would do apple first. The Fruit leather looks good also.

  46. Lisa bolduc
    August 27, 2015 / 7:43 pm

    I would try making the fruit leather thing… maybe a strawberry banana flavour

  47. Kimberley Buckton
    August 27, 2015 / 11:32 pm

    I would make some apple chips first. My son loves them!

  48. August 29, 2015 / 12:42 pm

    I would love to dehydrate fruit & veggie that we grow in the garden. These would make perfect snacks for the trail mix I make for the kids!

  49. Danielle Nantau
    August 29, 2015 / 1:34 pm

    Gosh, that’s tough haha I’ve wanted one of these for yearssss. Hmm either apples or kale! Yummy!

  50. Tricia Hope
    August 29, 2015 / 1:42 pm

    I LOVE cranberries and banana chips!Thanks for the chance!

  51. shellie clark
    August 29, 2015 / 1:59 pm

    I would dehydrate apple slices first

  52. PAT
    August 29, 2015 / 6:57 pm

    candied ginger

  53. thomas rusinak
    August 30, 2015 / 6:33 am

    dehydrate my wife’s sense of humor

  54. August 30, 2015 / 6:49 am

    EVERYTHING!!! Thanks for this contest 🙂

  55. August 30, 2015 / 12:54 pm

    I would dehydrate the plums from my tree!

  56. Wendy Hutton
    August 30, 2015 / 1:18 pm

    I would dry some apricots

  57. Louanne Baelde
    August 30, 2015 / 3:24 pm

    I would dry strawberries for a natural and healthy version of red licorice. Thank you for the great giveaway and the chance!

  58. aketch
    August 30, 2015 / 5:34 pm

    My son loves blackberries, so I would dehydrate those.

  59. August 30, 2015 / 6:58 pm

    I would dry Papaya first. I just love dried papaya. So expensive to buy at the Fruit & Nut store, this would save me a small fortune 🙂

  60. Edmond
    August 30, 2015 / 7:12 pm

    Yay, would luv to dry blueberries when they are in season. Wow, prize dehyrator is fab. & splendid. 2 fingers snap. It is tight, fly & off the chain. Thank you for the awesomeness, the contest, and generosity. 🙂 Pick me, pick me!

  61. christine holliday
    August 30, 2015 / 9:40 pm

    I think I would do a test-run with apples.

  62. August 31, 2015 / 11:50 am

    I will make loads and loads of Fruit roll-ups. Aam -papad..yummm!!!

  63. Susan Patterson
    August 31, 2015 / 12:59 pm

    I would dehydrate apples if I won! Thanks!

  64. August 31, 2015 / 1:52 pm

    I would make Beef Jerky , thanks for the chance 🙂

  65. Tara Gauthier
    August 31, 2015 / 9:19 pm

    I would definitely make beef jerky, we use our oven right now and this would be easier!

  66. September 1, 2015 / 6:35 am

    I think I would have to try beef jerky. My husband and daughterlove it and I never want them to get it due to all the chemicals in it.

  67. dave g
    September 1, 2015 / 8:44 am

    plums

  68. Brian W
    September 1, 2015 / 9:09 am

    I’d love to win! I want to make fruit roll ups like I ate as a kid. But without all the added sugar and chemicals!

  69. penny
    September 1, 2015 / 10:29 am

    apples or mango

  70. Josie
    September 1, 2015 / 12:57 pm

    apples, kale, zucchini

  71. Krista Embertson
    September 2, 2015 / 4:58 am

    Want to try to make crackers with leftover pulp from juicing.

  72. S. Jackson
    September 2, 2015 / 8:11 am

    The first thing I would do is beef jerky!

  73. Lushka Smith
    September 2, 2015 / 11:01 am

    I think I would go with strawberries.

  74. Anna
    September 2, 2015 / 11:54 am

    I would dehydrate sweet potaoes first.

  75. September 2, 2015 / 5:37 pm

    I would dehydrate peaches and pineapples first , they are the fruit the most eaten at home , i wonder what they would taste like dehydrated ! 🙂 Great giveaway such a awesome prize to be won.

  76. Lina Policelli
    September 3, 2015 / 9:06 am

    I would dehydrate apple slices and banana’s first 🙂

  77. September 3, 2015 / 1:12 pm

    I would totally do a jerk for hubby and fruit rol ups for the kids!!

  78. Sunshine H
    September 3, 2015 / 1:51 pm

    I would dehydrate pineapple or strawberries I think. So good!

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