Build good eating habits through healthy school snacks- Tahini Cookies & Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Dr. Michelle Peris

Before I dive right into it, I just wanted to apologize for my slight delay in posting this – I hate being behind on things! I’ve been under the weather and have now, just at this moment, been able to sit back at my computer and get back into the swing of things, with full force of course!

The year has just started and I feel as if I’ve really hit the ground running. My 2014 is jam-packed with new experiences and I’m so thrilled. One of the biggest changes around our home is that our son has started to attend day-care a few days a week – which is great for his social development and also means that I need to add extra food prep to our daily activities. And like most of you, I don’t have extra time for this task – I need to ensure I stay organized and prepare ahead of time.

Childhood nutrition is something I am extremely passionate about, which I’m sure you’ve noticed through the DrMomND FB page. I feel food and nutrition are the fundamentals to setting your child up for a healthy future and now more than ever it is so crucial to feed our children nourishing meals that promote health. Here are a few facts to really drive this important topic home: nutrition plays an important role in preventing obesity and difficulties in behaviour, learning and mood. Developmental conditions such as ADHD and autism spectrum disorder can be improved and better managed with a healthy diet. Mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression are also impacted by nutrition. Healthy eating in childhood is important for proper growth and development and can prevent obesity, cavities and iron deficiency. (References at page end)

It’s important I send our little one off to conquer his day of adventure with healthy, nut-free and gluten-free Dr MomND approved whole-food snacks. To do this, I make the majority of what I pack. I set time aside on the weekend and bake in batches, freezing what we’re not using the next day. This way, I still have precious family time, the week goes a lot smoother and my little guy has plenty of snack options with little stress. Staying super organized is always my plan, but sometimes life sneaks in and takes over – I know I’m not alone here. This is why I batch bake and try to have four different muffin, cookie and protein bar options available for me to rely on.

I’ve received such positive feedback from you about my son’s daily snacks that I thought I would share two go-to recipes that have Dr Mom ND’s approval and better yet, are a hit with my little guy. And for the perfect carrier, I pack everything in a fun and easily separated bento box.

Tahini Cookies


These delicious cookies are adapted from Joyous Health.  I have love all her recipes, so do check it out. This a very popular recipe in our household, so thank goodness they are so easy to make.

You’ll need:

  • 6 tbsp tahini paste
  • ¼ tsp of sea salt
  • ¾ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 ½ cups gluten-free rolled oats

Method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place spoonfuls of the cookie dough onto a greased cookie sheet and flatten with a fork. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Makes a little over a dozen cookies.

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins


These swoon-worthy muffins are adapted from Oh She Glows.

You’ll need:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 ¼ cup lightly packed shredded zucchini, skin left on
  • 1 ¼  cup coconut milk
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla extract
  • 2 cups GF all purpose flour (I used Namaste)
  • 1/3 cup raw cacao powder (mine was from Giddy Yo-Yo)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder (aluminum free)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/3 cup dark GF/DF chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life mini chips)


Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease with coconut oil or use paper cups. Grate zucchini and set aside. Mix almond milk and apple cider vinegar (or sub fresh lemon juice) in a small bowl and set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (GF flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar). In another bowl mix together the wet ingredients (egg, almond milk mixture, maple syrup and vanilla) and then pour over dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and shredded zucchini. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin filling each tin 3/4 of the way full. Bake for about 15-17 minutes at 350F, or until muffins slowly spring back when touched. A toothpick should come out mostly clean. Cool in tin for 5 minutes. With a knife, loosen around the muffin edge (skip if you using paper liners) and transfer to a cooling rack until completely cool. Makes about 15 muffins.

What are your go-to, tried and tested, healthy snack recipes? Please share. And if you’re looking for an awesome bento lunch box, mine is from PlanetBox.

In great health & happiness,

Dr. Michelle Peris


Dr. Michelle Peris is a Naturopathic Doctor whose goal is to inspire health through educating, motivating and empowering people.  She has a family based practice out of a clinic in Oakville, Ontario.

Contact Dr. Michelle today to book your 15 minute complimentary consult.





Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (February 17, 2013) Adolescent and School Health. Nutrition Facts. Retrieved from

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (July 10, 2013) Adolescent and School Health. Childhood Obesity Facts. Retrieved from

Food and Behaviour Research. Research.