A Fun and Nutritious Snack the Kids Can Help Make

Ciara Hyatt from Homemade Takeout, our food columnist, shared with us a fun and nutritious snack that even the kids can help make:

I’m always looking for a healthy snack food to keep around the house and also one that the kids can help me make. That’s why granola bars are one of my favorites. They are not only easy and very tasty, they’re packed with oats, dates, almonds and flax seed, all ingredients that are good for you. So next time you go to throw a box of bland granola bars in your shopping cart, think twice, and make these yummy, truly healthy ones instead!

Easy Granola Bars:

1 1/2 cups rolled oats, toasted in oven on 350 for about 20 minutes, until golden brown
1 cup packed dates, pitted
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup almonds, chopped
1 tbsp, ground flax seed

Put dates in food processor for about 1 minute, until a dough-like consistency forms.
Place toasted oats, almonds, dates, and flax seed into a bowl and set aside.
Warm honey and peanut butter in saucepan over low heat, just until warm.
Pour warm honey and peanut butter over bowl of oat mixture. Stir until all ingredients are well blended.
Transfer to a wax-lined pan. I used a 5×9 pan, and it worked great for the size bars I wanted.
Put a piece of wax paper over the mixture and use your hands to flatten the bars until they are even in the pan.
Place in fridge for about 30 minutes to set (or freezer for 15 minutes, if you’re impatient like me).

(Click each photo to enlarge)

I like to keep these cool in the fridge, but you can also keep them at room temp. I love to have these in the morning with coffee or as a pre or post workout snack. You can also add dried fruits, chocolate chips, or more of your favorite nuts to the mixture. I hope you try these, and let the kids make them, too! It will help them get more active in the kitchen, and they are more likely to taste the food that they cook, and therefore they will get hooked on healthy ingredients!

Health benefits of ingredients:
Oats: Studies have shown that they have been known to lower cholesterol levels. Lowering high cholesterol levels can therefore significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Dates: High in fiber, therefore promoting healthy digestion, also known to boost heart health. High in magnesium, a mineral known as an anti-inflammatory, and can help lower blood pressure.
Almonds: A high-fat food, but don’t worry, it’s a heathy fat. They are very filling, and just a few of them can significantly reduce hunger. They’re also high in fiber and magnesium, and packed with vitamin E, which can reduce the risk of heart disease.
Flax seed: Also a heart healthy food, full of omega-3 fatty acids, more good fat. Flax seeds also have antioxidant qualities and may reduce the risk of some cancers as well as cardiovascular disease and lung disease.

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Posted in Food & Drink.

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