If you’re looking for an on-the-go snack that is easy to pack without forsaking nutrition, fruit and nut bars or other “energy” bars can be a healthy choice. But it all depends on what you get: While some commercial bars deliver on the promise of providing a nutritious alternative to candy bars, many are packed with chemicals, refined sugar and cereal fillers. Reading the label goes a long way toward finding the healthy choice, but it comes with a price tag that may have one wondering why healthy living so so darn expensive.
Homemade fruit, nut and see bards aren’t just less expensive, they provide an all-natural alternative to store-bought bars that are packed with protein, vitamins and can be adjusted to please any palate. The best part? You can use ingredients found growing in your own backyard.
Moist, chewy and sweet, these DIY lunchbox or briefcase stuffers will satisfy a mid-morning craving with a quick bite of vitamin-rich dried fruit, protein-rich nuts and seeds and rolled oats chock full of fiber. All held together with sweet, natural honey, these homemade snack bars have everything you’re looking for without the oils, refined sugar or confusing additives found in many store-bought snack bars.
Mix and match your favorite fruits and nuts to create a flavor profile all your own. If you’re growing your own ingredients, there’s never been a better excuse to try your hand at drying fruit at home (figs, apples or grapes are a good place to start.) Once you’ve mastered the basic s, consider adding fresh herbs like mint or rosemary to the mix to create delicious bars that capture even more fantastic flavor from the garden.
Fruit, Nut and Seed Bars
Yields 18 Bars
– 1 cup assorted nuts, chopped (walnuts, almonds, pecans, etc)
– 2 cups rolled oats
– 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
– 1/2 cup honey
– 1 1/2 cups assorted dried fruits, chopped (figs, cranberries, cherries, apples, raisins, etc)
– 1/2 cup shredded coconut
– 1/2 cup seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame)
Place nuts and oats on a baking sheet and bake in a 425 degree oven for 7 minutes to toast.
Transfer oat/nut mix into food processor with honey and salt and pulse to chop and combine.
Add fruit, coconut and seeds to pulse and combine.
Line a 9″ x 14″ baking pan with aluminum foil and coat with nonstick spray.
Press mix firmly into pan. Compress and level surface.
Bake 20 minutes in a 350 degree F oven. All to cool completely in pan.
Remove from pan, lifting by holding edges of aluminum foil.
Cut into bars and store in an airtight container with waxed paper between layers to prevent sticking.