When big brother was diagnosed with severe nut and peanut allergies over 4 years ago we soon began to discover how difficult finding healthy, prepackaged, allergy free foods is.
I’ve come to realize that, in regards to prepackaged snack foods, “healthy” usually means it contains nuts. I totally get that nuts are healthy, but for a person who is allergic to nuts, it can be really frustrating to try to find quick, prepackaged snacks. Those that don’t actually contain nuts are often processed on “shared equipment” which is pretty risky.
I’ve often lamented, “Argh! It would be so easy if I could just give him a granola bar to snack on!” Granola bars are relatively healthy (well, if we are talking the big brand boxed kind, “healthy” is debatable), mildly sweet, and kids love them! But good luck trying to find allergy friendly granola bars. If you do manage to find a brand you’re going to end up shelling out at least $6 for a box of 5 or 6. That’s pretty pricey for a snack food.
Having food allergies or having a family member with them isn’t all bad though. Because of Big Brother’s food allergies we have become much more conscious of the foods we eat, have eliminated most processed foods, and really eat quite healthfully now. I’ve also learned to be more self reliant, cook and bake more from scratch, instead of relying on prepackaged foods from the grocery store.
While lamenting about my allergy friendly granola bars issue with a friend she recommended a website with a homemade granola bar recipe.
I hit up the grocery store and went to work. Unfortunately, I really didn’t like the way the granola bars turned out. They were way too sweet–more like dessert than like snack–and way too gooey. They had to be eaten frozen or they’d end up gooeying and crumbling all over the place. Not such a great thing to send as a school snack.
So, I made several modifications, baked, modified again, and ended up with the perfect chewy homemade granola bar!!! For those without nut allergies feel free to make them a little nutty.
- 4 cups old fashioned oats
- 1 cup rice crispies (any brand will do)
- 1 cup + 4 tsp oat flour
- 4 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup ground (milled) flaxseed
- 6 Tbsp oil (I used grapeseed, but you can substitute olive or coconut)
- 1 cup + 2 Tbsp honey (it is okay if your honey is crystalized)
- 6 Tbsp apple sauce
- Your choice of add-ins. I used:
- 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 1 cup craisins
- 1/3 cup white chocolate chips (I divided the recipe and made half with the choc chips and half without.)
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and wet ingredients in a separate smaller bowl.
- Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix well.
- Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper (do NOT substitute with wax paper).
- Pour approximately half of the mixture onto the parchment paper in the pan.
- Spread it out then lay a separate piece of parchment paper over top of the mixture.
- Using something with a flat bottom press the mixture down firmly.
- Cook 15-18 minutes, remove from oven and squish the bars down again.
- Let the pan cool for a few minutes and then refrigerate for 10 minutes before cutting.
- This batch will fill 2 9x13 pans.
*Tip: For easy cutting use a pizza cutter.
This large batch of granola bars lasts my family of 5 just over a week. If you have a small family, are baking for yourself, or just want to do a test run you can half the recipe.
Even though these granola bars can sit out at room temperature, they are best stored in the freezer.
Linking up to Nomday Monday.