School is back in full swing for most kids across the country, which means here in The Meal Makeover Moms’ Kitchen we’re busy cooking up fresh ideas for lunch box and after-school nibbles. On this week’s Cooking with the Moms podcast, we share our newly created recipe for Honey, I Love You Bars, serve up our 7 Smart Snacking Ideas for Lunch Boxes, and give a shout out to some of our favorite dietitians on the web who have also cooked up kid-friendly and nutrient-rich recipes for families. Tune in for all the delicious details.
Perfect for a school lunch box or an after-school snack, our homemade, healthier granola bars hit the spot with hungry kids.
Makes 16 Servings
Sure, you can grab store-bought granola bars, but making them yourself means YOU have all the control over what goes in them. This recipe is simple, flavorful, and packed with nutrition thanks to the whole grain oats, wheat germ, almonds, dried fruit, eggs, honey, and almond butter. By the way, if you don’t have dates on hand, any dried fruit would work, and a small handful of mini, semi-sweet chocolate chips would also be quite nice.
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil or coat an 8 x 8-inch baking pan or dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
2. Place the oats, dates, almonds, wheat germ, cinnamon, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture is finely chopped (the dates should be the size of a dried pea or lentil).
3. Whisk together the eggs, almond butter, honey, and vanilla in a large bowl until well blended. Add the oat mixture and stir to combine.
4. Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared pan, and flatten gently with the back of a spoon or rubber spatula.
5. Bake about 16 to 18 minutes, or until the edges turn golden brown. Let cool completely in pan before slicing into sixteen 2 x 2- inch bars.
TIP: These bars freeze really well. So, if you have leftovers, wrap individual portions in plastic baggies or aluminum foil and freeze.
There’s plenty of flexibility with this recipe. Don’t like dates? Use dried apricots, cranberries, raisins, or apples instead (or a combo). Not a fan of almonds, swap ‘em out for walnuts or pecans!
Do you ever feel like kids snack ALL THE TIME? Kids get about 500 calories each day from snacks alone, and sometimes, those snacks are filled with sugar, refined carbs, and artificial ingredients … and not much more. To improve the GPA of all those snacks and to empower parents to change the culture of snacks from cupcakes and chips to fruits, veggies, and whole grains, our friend and fellow dietitian, Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD from Real Mom Nutrition has started a grassroots effort called, Snacktivism. The campaign, according to Sally’s website, is about finding a better way, thinking twice before serving snacks (are the kids really hungry?), and offering whole foods like fruits and vegetables as the default choice. We couldn’t agree more and hope you’ll visit Sally’s website to learn more …
Happy snacking everyone