Most snack packs and bars for kids these days might look pretty, but what’s inside them certainly isn’t. Give your kids the energy they need to get through their busy days with these healthy homemade treats.
Many snack bars marketed to kids actually have sugar as their first or second ingredient and contain additives and preservatives. But these homemade granola bars are loaded with healthy ingredients, so you can feel confident your kids are getting a nutritious treat every time you pop them into their lunch boxes.
Homemade granola bars
Serving size 10–12
Inspired by Food Network’s homemade granola bars
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup unsweetened, dried coconut, shredded
- 1/2 cup almonds, chopped
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup wheat germ
- 1/4 cup ground flaxseeds
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup applesauce
- 1/2 cup dates, chopped
- 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Mix the oats, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, shredded coconut and wheat germ on a large baking tray. Toast in the oven for 4 minutes. Remove, stir well, and return the mix to the oven for another 4 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Reduce oven heat to 300 degrees F.
- In the meantime, heat the canola oil, maple syrup, honey, brown sugar, vanilla and salt over medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir in the applesauce, and continue cooking for another minute.
- Remove the mixture from heat, and pour it into the bowl of toasted ingredients. Stir well.
- Add in the dates, apricots and cranberries, and mix thoroughly.
- Grease a 9 x 9-inch pan with oil. Pour the mixture into the pan, and press down firmly with the back of a large, flat spoon to ensure the mixture comes together. You can also wet your hands and use your damp fingers to press down further.
- Bake in the oven for 28–30 minutes.
- Let cool completely (at least 3 hours) before cutting into rectangles and transferring them to a resealable container.
- Wrap the bars in plastic wrap, or place in snack-size bags to toss in with lunches as needed.
More smart snacks for kids >>
These bars can be a little more crumbly than your usual store-bought varieties, but that’s a small price to pay for the added nutritional benefits. Wrap them in plastic wrap and then in a layer of aluminum foil for extra protection.
Sweet ‘n’ crunchy trail mix
Serving size 1
This yummy trail mix has the perfect combination of sweet and crunch. Plus, you can prepare several little baggies of it in advance and toss them in with kids’ lunches as needed.
- 6–8 almonds
- 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
- 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
- 1 tablespoon dark chocolate chips
- Place all the ingredients in a snack-size bag or a small, resealable container.
- Toss in the lunch box, and you’re done!
If nut mixes aren’t exciting enough for them, check out this pumpkin granola recipe >>
Handcrafted yogourt parfait
Serving size 1
So many yogourt packs these days contain high quantities of sugar and preservatives. So rather than relying on them, make your own homemade parfait with ingredients you can feel good about.
- 1/2 cup fat-free Greek yogourt
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup, honey, stevia or other sweetener of choice
- 1/4 cup mixed berries
- 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
- 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts
- In a small bowl, combine the yogourt with the sweetener.
- Scoop half the yogourt into a small, resealable container.
- Sprinkle berries over the yogourt.
- Place the other half of the yogourt over the berries.
- Top with sunflower seeds and walnuts.
- Seal the container, and pack it in a cool, insulated lunch box.