Dehydrating Food: A Healthy New Snack

Dehydrating Food: A Healthy New Snack

A simple and fun way to try to introduce fruits and vegetables in a new way is to dehydrate them. In feeding therapy, we will often use dehydrated or freeze-dried fruits and vegetables. I have personally seen children accept food that way first before they would accept it in its natural form. In feeding therapy, anyway, you can introduce food and have a positive interaction is amazing! I know many parents are busy and buying dehydrated fruit and vegetables is a possibility, however, if you want a fun way to engage your children in the kitchen give this a try! Remember, interacting with food and helping cook or prep in the kitchen is a natural form of feeding therapy in the home. Please enjoy the simple instructions below for those adventurous enough to try dehydrating favorite or novel foods themselves and invite your children to experiment/cook with you!

1.Bananas

Make cute banana coins for healthy snack kids love. Peel bananas, slice into coins ⅛ to ¼ inch thick and soak in citrus water for 10 minutes to avoid browning. Dehydrate according to the manufacturer’s instructions, at 135°F for 6 to 10 hours, or in the oven at 200°F for 5 to 7 hours.

2. Apples

Chewy apples are an old-school treat. Peel and core apples, if you like, slice into rounds ¼ to ⅜ inch thick, and soak in citrus water for 10 minutes, to avoid browning. Dehydrate according to the manufacturer’s instructions, at 135°F for 7 to 15 hours, or in the oven at 200°F for 6 to 8 hours.

3. Strawberries

Sweet dried strawberries go great with granola. Top and core strawberries, and slice ¼ to ⅜ inch thick, or cut in half if they’re really little. Dehydrate according to the manufacturer’s instructions, at 135°F for 7 to 15 hours, or in the oven at 200°F for 5 to 7 hours.

4. Mangoes

Mango strips taste like sunshine. Peel mango, cut the flesh away from the flat core, and slice ¼ inch thick. Dehydrate according to the manufacturer’s instructions, at 135°F for 7 to 15 hours, or in the oven at 200°F for 6 to 8 hours.

5. Pineapple

Dried pineapple wins the pretty prize. Cut off the top and bottom, trim away the tough exterior, and slice ¼ to ½ inch thick, removing the core. Dehydrate according to the manufacturer’s instructions, at 135°F for 10 to 18 hours, or in the oven at 200°F for 8 to 10 hours.

6. Tomatoes

Don’t call it a comeback—dried tomatoes are still sexy for pasta night. Top tomatoes, remove the cores, if necessary, and slice ¼ inch thick, or cut cherry tomatoes in half. Dehydrate according to the manufacturer’s instructions, at 155°F for 5 to 9 hours, or in the oven at 200°F for 4 to 6 hours.

7. Sweet Potatoes

They’ll never be as crispy as deep-fried chips, but dried sweet potatoes are still crave-worthy. Peel sweet potatoes, sliced ¼ inch thick, blanch in boiling water for several minutes, and shock in an ice bath. Dehydrate according to the manufacturer’s instructions, at 125°F for 7 to 11 hours, or in the oven at 200°F for 6 to 8 hours.
8. Zucchini

Dehydrating can save a bumper crop of summer squash. Trim the tops and bottoms, and slice ⅛ or ¼ inch thick. Dehydrate according to the manufacturer’s instructions, at 125°F for 7 to 11 hours, or in the oven at 200°F for 5 to 7 hours.

9. Bell Peppers

In confetti of colors, dried peppers are fun for soup mixes. Remove the ribs and seeds, and slice ¼ inch thick or chop. Dehydrate according to the manufacturer’s instructions, at 125°F for 4 to 8 hours, or in the oven at 200°F for 4 to 6 hours.

10. Sugar Snap Peas

Better for you than french fries, dried peas make a sweet snack. Trim and remove the strings, if necessary, blanch in boiling water for a couple of minutes, and shock in an ice bath. Dehydrate according to the manufacturer’s instructions, at 125°F for 5 to 13 hours, or in the oven at 200°F for 4 to 6 hours.

Megan Macilroy M.S. CCC-SLP

MEGAN MACILROY