Sometimes, it’s just easier to throw an unhealthy, packaged snack at the kiddos and call it a day. We know; we’ve been there. But, for the most part, we should be paying attention to what we’re handing our kids. Check out these snack ideas from Léman Manhattan Preparatory School’s Head Chef, Jenny Gensterblum, that are festive enough for a party, kid-friendly, nutritious and easy to make. Score!


Ingredients for Chips
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled
1 – 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

Directions: Thinly slice (try – carefully! – using a mandolin) washed sweet potatoes. The thinner the slices, the crispy the chips will be. In a bowl, toss to coat in olive oil and spread in a single layer on a rimmed, parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and bake at 375°F, flipping every 10 minutes or so until golden brown and crispy.

Ingredients for Dip
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced chives
Ground cayenne pepper (optional), to taste
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions: Mix all ingredients in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.


Ingredients for Muffins
3/4 cup applesauce
3/4 cup pureed pumpkin
1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1 large egg
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup honey
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Directions: Preheat oven to 350F. Combine applesauce, pumpkin, yogurt, egg, molasses, vanilla, and honey in a large mixing bowl. Combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in another bowl. Gently stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just combined. Spoon into lined mini-muffin pans. Makes 24 mini-muffins.

Ingredients for Streusel
1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon softened butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions: Combine flour, brown sugar, and flax seed in a bowl. Cut in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. To finish, sprinkle the streusel on top of each muffin. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through cooking, until a toothpick inserted in a muffin comes out clean.


1 head of kale, washed and thoroughly dried
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon Worchester sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

Directions: Preheat oven to 275F. Remove the thick stem from each kale leaf and discard. Cut the leaves into bite-sized pieces. In a large bowl, add the kale and the all of the spices (except the salt). Spread in a thin, even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with a 1Ž2 teaspoon of salt (do not use too much salt! The leaves of the kale shrink when cooking. What might taste right before cooking could become too salty!) Bake for 20 minutes, turning the leaves halfway through, until crispy. Taste one chip and season with additional salt if necessary.


1 medium onion, diced

1 tablespoon granulated garlic
2 pounds zucchini
1 pound baking potatoes, peeled
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup breadcrumbs

2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Vegetable oil

Directions: In a medium frying pan over medium heat, add 1 teaspoon oil. Cook onion and garlic, stirring often, until the onions are soft and golden in color. Set aside.

Grate zucchini and peeled potatoes with a box grater or medium shredding disk of your food processor. Toss with 1 teaspoon salt and place in a cheesecloth or kitchen towel. Squeeze out as much water as possible from the vegetables and place in a large bowl.

Combine onions & garlic, eggs, flour, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper with the zucchini potato mixture until well combined. The batter should be fairly dry; add additional flour and breadcrumbs if necessary.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Use an ice cream scoop to measure out the batter into the pan. Cook in batches and be careful not to overcrowd the pan. Try about 4 latkes in the pan to start. Flatten each latke with a spatula. Flip over when the first side is golden brown. Cook that side until golden brown. Drain on paper towel and continue with the rest of the batter. Makes 36 latkes. Serve immediately.


Editor’s note: This recipe appears in Chef Jenny’s cookbook: Secret Sauce: Kid-Tested and Approved Recipes from the Leman Manhattan Chef Jenny Gensterblum.


Nonstick spray cooking spray
3 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup pure maple syrup (or *agave nectar)
1/4 cup olive oil (*or egg whites)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup dried fruits (raisins, cranberries, apricots, etc.)

Directions: Preheat oven to 325°F. In a large bowl, combine oats, maple syrup (or agave nectar), olive oil (or egg whites), salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Spread evenly on 2 cookie sheets coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for 20 minutes, stir, and return to oven. Stir every 10 minutes and continue baking until well toasted. (Approximately 45 minutes baking time). Cool completely on cookie sheets. Toss with dried fruits and store in an airtight container for up to two weeks. Makes four cups.


Editor’s Note: This recipe appears in Chef Jenny’s cookbook: Secret Sauce: Kid-Tested and Approved Recipes from the Leman Manhattan Chef Jenny Gensterblum.

Chef-Jenny-G-Photo-232x358-1Jenny Gensterblum is a chef in New York City. Memories of her family’s garden and seasonal harvests in Michigan, coupled with the garden-to-table approach of her mother’s cooking and the important ritual of enjoying meals together as a family incited Jenny Gensterblum’s culinary curiosity. This curiosity bloomed into a passion and calling that led her to the French Culinary Institute in New York City. After some years working in the restaurant world and as a chef for private clients, Gensterblum began to focus on the need for change in school food programs, and she firmly believes that eating habits established during childhood last a lifetime. Since 2007, she has worked to develop the program at Leman Manhattan Preparatory School in New York City that focuses on balanced, nutritious, and, most importantly, flavorful cuisine for school-age children.

In 2012, Gensterblum released her first cookbook, Secret Sauce, Kid Tested and Approved Recipes from the Leman Manhattan Chef’s Vault, has contributed to and been featured in publications such as the NY Press, Women & Co, Food Republic, Whole Foods Kiwi Magazine, and Reader’s Digest. In 2012, Chef Jenny was awarded the Downtown Otty Award in Culinary Excellence, for her contributions to the downtown community of Manhattan.