sunflower bites

While I don’t have a school age child, I do find I’m becoming heavily aware of back-to-school time with so many of my friends’ kids going back to school. Our niece starts school this year, which is wild to me. She was just this angel-face little baby I swear! Plus my dad is still sweetly nostalgic about back-to-school shopping time. It was a big deal and so much fun in our family growing up. I keep telling him he can take me shopping for new clothes and pencil crayons anytime!

Not eating meat growing up meant that a staple in my lunches was almond butter and jam sandwiches. It was slightly more “normal” than taking nori rolls (vegetable sushi) to school so it became a favourite. Since my entire world is occupied by the thought of this little human we’re raising, I think about what I’ll send to school for snacks for him. Never mind that he’s still years away from being in school, this stuff is no joke. You wonder where the hashtag momlife comes from. The struggle is real, people.  Seriously though, since almost all schools are now nut-free, thinking of (and beginning to make) snacks without nuts is important.

Rarely do I advocate for a brand or make my way into a Costco, but recently I did and since it was getting ready for school time I found myself going up and down the snack isles reading labels of all the mini-packaged granola bars and snacks that are lunch-ready. There were a few I was moderately impressed with, and some I was so shocked could actually be considered an appropriate thing to give a kid in their lunch. In typical Costco fashion, I did find this big bag of organic unsalted sunflower seeds that I couldn’t pass up and as I do, I thought I can make a seed based school friendly lunch snack with these! In thinking of all the other families out there stock-piling snacks for their littles, here’s an idea for you to use that massive bag of organic seeds that you too saw and no doubt had to buy. If you haven’t, now you will.

These sunflower bites are like a little seed bar. They are simple and not overly sweet (with just a little rice syrup) so don’t give you or your little-people that sugar hyper thing.  They are gluten free, nut free, dairy free and include flax for additional fibre. I think they will store and last well but truth be told the batch I made didn’t make it past the first day after I made them. We had guests and they plowed through them in about 5 minutes!  I’ll take that as a good sign.

Here’s how:

  • 1 c sunflower seeds (ground)
  • + 1/4 c sunflower seeds (whole)
  • 1 T gomashio
  • 1/4 c rice syrup
  • 1/8 tsp sea vegetable powder (optional)
  • 1 T oil
  • 1 1/2 T flax seed (ground)
  • 2 apricots (cut small – optional)


In a food processor grind 1 c of roasted sunflower seeds until it’s broken up. Depending how rustic you would like the sunflower bites, the texture can be a mix of fine powder and still some chunky seed pieces. Put the crushed seeds in a bowl. Add other whole seeds, flax and gomashio and chopped apricots (or other dried fruit if you like). In a small saucepan on low, heat the rice syrup and sea-vegetable powder. Pour the liquid rice syrup mixture in the bowl and add the oil. A light tasting oil that is okay to heat such as coconut, avocado or grape-seed are good ones. Mix well. Press sunflower mixture into parchment lined baking dish, about 1-1 1/2 cm high. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes. Let cool before cutting into bite sized pieces (or larger bar size if you fancy!).


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