When it comes to packing school lunches and trying to decide on snacks the granola bar is one of the first snack ideas that comes to mind.
Granola bars are convenient, portable and have tasty ingredients mixed together making them a perfect snack option. While there are many convenient pre-packaged options available in grocery stores making your own granola bars from scratch can give you the piece of mind knowing what is in the bars your child is eating (young children also love mixing dry ingredients!). Homemade granola bars are still cost-effective and a convenient snack to pick and pack in the school lunch and also for adults.
Making your own granola bars allows you to combine a variety of nutrient packed ingredients in endless combinations with an end product that is ultimately delicious. Options such as fruit purees and seeds filled with healthy fats, protein and fibre help to fill hungry bellies fuelling your child’s growing mind and body.
In our home we keep multiple types of homemade granola bars in the freezer in their own zip top bag so there is always a stash ready for school lunch packing, a quick breakfast or snack on the go. Here are some of our favourites and as an added bonus many of these are be School Safe!
*Check with your school allergy policy. Some schools don’t allow peanut butter substitutes likes toasted soy spread, sunflower butter or pumpkin seed butter since they can easily be mistaken for peanut butter.
This is the ultimate granola bar recipe and one that you would be hard to tell is not store bought. The rolled oats, wholesome seeds, hemp hearts, and ground flax provide healthy fats along with some protein and fibre to provide staying power with your child. These granola bars are the perfect; chewy, they stay together and are not too sweet. After you make your first batch you’ll notice they’ll easily become a family favourite. If you start with one recipe, pick this one!
If you are looking for ways to eat more lentils this is the recipe for you!
Sarah Remmer RD gives a great overview of why you should love lentils since “they boast a stellar nutritional profile (they are loaded full of protein, fibre, iron, vitamins, and minerals), they’re also budget-friendly and are easy to use.”
For school safety I substituted the peanut butter for toasted soy spread (sunflower or pumpkin seed butter would work too). Sweet and Salty Chocolate Lentil Granola bars are simply delicious and the lentils make them rich in fibre and protein resulting in a very snack. One thing to note is that instead of being like a chewy granola bar these bars have a cookie like consistency.
Banana Bread bars embrace the flavours of banana bread and are the ultimate comfort food. I always reach for these bars as a quick morning or afternoon snack with a cup of coffee and have been known to bake some and not share them with the kids. Now that school is here I switched up the peanut butter in the original recipe with a nut butter substitute. These bars are soft with a muffin-like texture and hold together well and are comforting and delicious.
Full of seeds, dried fruit and using bananas as the binding agent is what gives these lunchbox bars a delicious blend of nutritious ingredients without added sugar or nut butters. These are the fruitiest option listed here and definitely becoming another great bar recipe in the mix especially to use up your browning bananas. This recipe was shared by Sarah Remmer RD but first published in the cookbook Nourish written by Cara Rosenbloom RD & Nettie Cronish.
Have you ever opened a can of pumpkin and wondered what to make? After opening a can of pureed pumpkin I always make this recipe. I even made them with some roasted pureed pumpkin from our 2017 vegetable garden. These bars are soft with a muffin-like texture but ultimately delicious, satisfying and packed full of nutritious ingredients.
Homemade healthy oatmeal granola bars are a very tasty option and very easy to make. They are naturally sweetened with banana and applesauce and feature healthy fat and fibre from the pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and ground flax. These bars have more of a muffin/cake like texture but a great healthy option for breakfast or snack. My friend and colleague Jennifer Broxterman RD owner at Nutrition Rx developed this recipe.
Chocolate Whole Grain snack bars is a super easy, no-bake recipe using All-Bran Multi-Grain Crunch cereal that my kids love! By using high-fibre cereal and other wholesome ingredients like rolled oats, chia seeds, sunflower seeds and sunflower seed butter these bars are nutritious and with chocolate chips extra delicious! Sarah Remmer RD shared these bars and explains why she feels good feeding her kids this cereal, you can check it out here. This will definitely be another great option to keep in the granola bar rotation.
Lunch box granola bars is a very customizable recipe that has more of a traditional granola bar consistency. I used ¼ cup hemp hearts, ¼ cup pumpkin seeds and ¼ cup dried blueberries. Choosing your favourite add-ins will make them a sure win in the taste department. Choosing more seeds over dried fruit will add more protein and fibre to help your kids feel full longer and keep the total sugar down. This recipe was developed by Gwen Leron blogger at Delightful Adventures and shared on the CBC Parents page.
The key to making these bars is to how you press this mixture into the pan. It is a no-bake recipe and the result is a typical granola bar consistency, sweeter and chewy but can easily crumble unless you use both hands and really put your weight into it. As the recipe developer Nicole McPherson emphasizes using both hands to “press, press and press some more’. Best kept in the refrigerator or freezer because when they warm up to room temperature they tend to fall apart easily, also depends on your pressing ability.