For a picky eater, Little Goat is indiscriminate about the non-food items he will consume!
All sensory play activities we have tried end up as a meal - shaving foam, dirt, raw rice and lentils, playdough… you name it, he has eaten it. They should really make broccoli flavoured playdough, it would last much longer!
I’ve put inedible sensory play on hold for now, instead opting for play options that taste good and form a balanced meal. It’s a real win-win, Little Goat eats far more while we are playing than he does when sitting in his high-chair and I know he’s getting the nutrients he needs and we both have a good time too!
This chocolate muesli / granola is my favourite ‘sensory play meal’. It looks close enough to dirt to make it great for scooping with diggers and loading onto trucks (not what most food bloggers are going for!), the raisins provide some “treasure” to pick out and give a reason to get your hands stuck in and you can make (dairy free) milk rivers through it and muddy puddles for trucks to get stuck in.
This granola is also so much healthier than anything you’d buy - especially in the chocolate cereal aisle! It’s sweetened only with honey, so is refined-sugar free, it is loaded with high calcium seeds and it has iron-rich coconut in it too. Like all the recipes on this blog, it’s dairy free and soy free. It’s also delicious and it feels like a treat for me too!
This is an adaptation of my mother’s recipe, adjusted to make it chocolate flavoured. She regularly made home-made muesli for us when we were kids, I remember asking her once if I could survive purely off muesli as I enjoyed it that much (the answer was “… almost”).
Healthy Chocolate Cereal
Makes: 8 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
3 cups of oats (you can use rolled or porridge oats - rolled is better for older kids, while porridge oats work better for toddlers and babies)
4 Tablespoons dessicated coconut
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
2 Tablespoons poppy seeds
4 Tablespoons cocoa powder
⅓ cup vegetable oil (rapeseed, sunflower, avocado or coconut work best)
5 Tablespoons honey (you can replace with maple syrup - especially for under 1s who shouldn’t have honey)
½ cup raisins / sultanas
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C (340 degrees F)
Put the oats, coconut, seeds and cocoa powder in a large baking sheet and mix well - everything should be coated in cocoa
Whisk together the oil and the honey until combined, then pour over the oat mixture and mix well
Ensure the mixture is evenly spread over the baking sheet then put in the oven
Bake for about 35 minutes (you will be able to smell when it’s ready!), stirring once or twice while baking to ensure even browning
Add the raisins once cooked (but still warm)
When cool, store in an airtight container
Serve on a baking sheet with diggers! (Or in a bowl with milk of your choice)
This muesli keeps for 2 to 3 weeks in a sealed container (or you can even freeze it), so it can provide many mornings of fun
You can replace the sesame and poppy seeds with whatever seeds you have (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds etc all work well) - this makes this allergy friendly for almost everyone