3 Anytime Kefir Treats

Unknown to many Americans but revered in Eastern Europe, kefir is a fermented probiotic milk drink that's high in protein, calcium and B vitamins. It can be a great (and delicious) tool for developing strong bones and teeth in growing kids, and also help them build up beneficial intestinal flora that can thwart stomach woes and illnesses. 

These three delicious, gluten-free recipes from our friends at Lifeway—one each for breakfast, snack time, and dinnertime's dessert (but really, perfect to eat almost anytime of day—will give the whole family a healthful nosh whenever hunger pangs sets in.

Breakfast: Kefir Plum Overnight Oats
Assemble before you go to bed for an easy, grab-and-go breakfast. Makes 1 serving.

1 cup Lifeway plain nonfat kefir
¼ cup rolled oats
1 Tbsp sugar
1 plum, chopped
1 Tbsp slivered almonds
 ½ teaspoon vanilla

Mix all ingredients together in a glass jar. Refrigerate overnight, or for at least eight hours. Stir just before serving and top with additional almonds, if desired.

Snack: Kefir White Bean Dip
Makes 4 servings.

15 oz can great northern white beans, drained and rinsed
¼ cup Lifeway plain lowfat kefir
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve with bread, crackers, or cut up raw vegetables.

Dessert: Blueberry Lemon Kefir Muffins
A treat you can feel good about. Makes 14-16 servings.

1 ¼ cup Lifeway plain lowfat kefir
2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour
½ cup very ripe banana, mashed
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
Zest from one lemon

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line two muffin tins with cups and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, banana, oil, and kefir.

4. Pour liquid ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and add the lemon zest. Stir gently to incorporate then gently fold in blueberries.

5. Spoon the batter into the muffin trays and bake 25-28 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Stick a toothpick in one of the muffins to be sure its cooked all the way. Remove from oven and set tray on a cooling rack.

6. Allow to cool completely before wrapping and storing at room temperature, or in the freezer.