After a visit last week to a local primary school, an opportunity presented itself to come up with a recipe for a healthy kid's snack bar for breaktime to supplement their daily piece of fruit. And I think I've come up with a winner! Myself and Sally, owner of nourish health foods where I volunteer as a nutrition advisor twice a week, gave a talk to a group of parents last Wednesday night called "Smart Food, Smart Kids". The response was great and we're hoping to give the talk again very soon. After we spoke, the headmistress briefly told us about their fruit scheme at the school. What a wonderful way to get kids to eat fruit! But the only downfall is that one apple or one banana is not a very well-balanced snack. Adding protein and healthy fats could really benefit the kids' learning ability and concentration, not to mention keep them from feeling hungry again before lunch. And this goes for adults too!
The constraints of the recipe that I came up with as a result of this talk were:
- No nuts - the school is a nut-free zone
- No refined sugar - I wouldn't be doing my job very well if I added a load of sugar to sweeten up this snack bar
- Readily available ingredients - the school's budget is limited
- Easy to prepare - there are over 200 kids in the school so time is of the essence!
And just because I am who I am, the resulting bar is also dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, and can easily be made gluten-free. The banana acts as a binding agent. And if you're not into honey, try using rice syrup, date syrup, maple syrup, or of course sweet freedom if you have it. Make a batch whether you're feeding hungry kids or not!
Oaty Seed Bars
Makes 16 small bars
- 2 cups rolled oats (choose gluten-free if required)
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup raisins or sultanas
- 6 dates, chopped into small pieces
- 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
- 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
- 2 tbsp organic honey
- 5 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 banana, mashed
- Heat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9x9 inch tin with coconut oil.
- Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- In a small saucepan over a low heat, melt the coconut oil with the honey and stir well.
- Pour honey and oil mixture into the dry ingredients and add the mashed banana. Stir everything until coated and incorporated.
- Transfer the mixture into the greased tin and spread evenly. Press with the back of a spoon to flatten the surface and place in the oven.
- Bake for 24-25 minutes, until the edges are golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and, with a sharp knife, lightly score the mixture into 16 equal bars. Leave to cool completely in the tin.
- Once cooled, slice along the lines you scored earlier and remove the bars carefully.