This guest post was contributed by Kaitlin Hoyt.
Let’s face it: “Hungry child” generally equals “cranky monster”; it’s always of benefit to my sanity to have something edible on hand, to stop the monster in its tracks. Our home is constantly in a state of functioning chaos, and I don’t like gambling with whether my daughter will or will not eat what I give her. Granola bars are a perfect catch-all, but store bought versions are laden with what we’ve affectionately coined “weird stuff”, like high-fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, and artificial coloring. So, we make our own. When my oven stopped working, I found myself scrambling for a no-bake solution and, after several rounds of testing with some very honest subjects, I’ve compiled a top four list of fool-proof, gluten-free, no-bake favorites.
Bananas are a breakfast staple around our house, and I can’t complain. They’re quick and easy, and loaded with fiber, B vitamins, vitamins C and E, and potassium. Combined with peanut butter (or a nut/seed butter of your choice) and gluten-free oats, they make the perfect breakfast trifecta. These bars can be easily made ahead, refrigerated, and provide a well-balanced breakfast for the whole family.
2 tbsp peanut butter (or a nut/seed butter of your choice)
2 tbsp raw honey
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
1 ½ cup gluten-free oats
¼ cup almond flour
4 tbsp ground flaxseed
Mash the bananas with a fork or a food processor, set aside. Mix the peanut butter, honey, and vanilla until well blended, and then combine with the bananas. In a separate bowl, toss the oats with the almond flour and ground flaxseed. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until well blended. You can shape the mixture into bars, or bite-sized balls. Place them on a cookie sheet and let them harden in the fridge for about 45 minutes. Keep them stored in an airtight container in your fridge for 3-5 days – if they last that long.
Cranberry Cacao Bar
These soft and chewy bars are vegan-friendly and filled with superfoods for a satisfying and healthy no-bake dessert bar. The coconut oil is a great source of healthy fats, and the cacao nibs bring a multitude of health benefits along with their indulgent chocolate flavor. Perfect for satisfying a sweet tooth, we call them brownie bars.
1/4-1/2 cup maple syrup or raw honey
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/3 cup hemp seeds
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup raw cacao nibs, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup almond flour
3 tbsp raw cacao powder
Gently mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside. Mix the wet ingredients in a food processor until completely blended. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until they’re well combined. Spread the mixture evenly in a pan lined with plastic wrap. Put the pan into the fridge for two-three hours, until hardened. Once hard, invert the pan and remove the plastic wrap. Cut the bars to your desired shape and size, and store in an air tight container in your fridge. Some people prefer to eat these chilled, straight from the fridge, but I prefer to let my bar sit out for about ten minutes, so it’s extra chewy. It’s up to you!
Almond Honey Crunch Bar
These bars are sweetened with dates and honey, and make a great mid-day snack for hungry kids!
¼ cup raw honey (you can use maple syrup for vegan bars)
¼ cup almond butter
1 cup packed dates, pitted
1 cup roasted unsalted almonds, coarsely chopped
1 ½ cups gluten-free oats
Place the dates into the food processor for about a minute. They should form a doughy consistency. Mix the almonds, dates, and oats in a large bowl and set aside. Melt the almond butter and honey over low heat in a small saucepan. Stir the melted mixture into your large bowl until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Spread the mixture into an 8×8 or 9×9 pan lined with wax paper or plastic wrap. Press the mixture down evenly, and then place the pan in the fridge for 30 minutes to harden. Once hard, invert the pan and remove the plastic wrap. Cut into bars, and store in an air tight container in your fridge. These keep great in the freezer too.
Pumpkin Flax Balls
These balls are Fall favorites for us, though they’re perfect for anytime of the year. Loaded with vitamins, these pumpkin flax balls make a great snack, and their shape seems to make them more fun to eat.
½ cup sunflower butter (you can also use peanut butter)
¼ cup honey
1 tsp vanilla (optional)
¾ cup old fashioned oats
½ cup ground flax seed
1/8 cup raw pumpkin seeds
Combine the oats, flaxseed, and pumpkin seeds in a large bowl. Stir the sunflower butter, honey, and vanilla until well mixed, then mix it into the large bowl with your dry ingredients. Roll the mixture into bite-sized balls, and place them on a cookie sheet. Put it in the fridge for 45 minutes until well hardened, then store in an airtight container in your fridge. These also freeze well if you decide to make a double batch.
Having a variety of wholesome, delicious bars on hand will give you simple, go-to snacks for you and your children, and you’ll feel confident knowing your family is eating only real ingredients – no weird stuff. Enjoy!
Kaitlin Hoyt loves to embrace a DIY lifestyle with her young daughter, and to encourage others to do the same through writing for PartSelect.com – a leading authority on DIY repair.