May 18, 2011

No-Bake Sun Butter Energy Bars

With those endless summer days just around the corner and summer camp on my mind, I have started thinking about handy snacks to pack in my son's lunchbox besides the usual fruit.  I personally love granola bars because they can be chalk-full of fiber, protein, and minerals.  They satisfy my hunger cravings in a way that an apple or banana can't.  Plus, I'm such a sucker for the salty-sweet contrast. 

The problem with granola bars for our family, though, is that most kinds in the market contain milk products, peanuts and/or tree nuts.  It seems that homemade granola bars are the best way to go.

I want to make granola bars that held together for all-day outings such as summer camps.  But in my search for a good granola bar recipe I got sidetracked by a simple raw protein bar recipe from Averie's Love Veggies and Yoga blog.  These bars might not be ideal for long trips on hot days but they are so easy to make that I can look past that.  I can save these for in-house snacks. 

This recipe offers a lot of wiggle room for substitutions.  The original recipe calls for peanut butter but I used sunflower seed butter since we are peanut- and tree nut-allergic.  If your kids aren't allergic to almonds or sesame, try almond butter and lots of sesame seeds to give the bars a boost of calcium.

Sun Butter Energy Bars (adapted from Love Veggies and Yoga Blog's Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Bars)

1 ripe banana
1 1/2 cups oats (I use quick oats.  If you are gluten-allergic, make sure you use certified gluten-free oats.)
1/2 cup shredded or flaked coconut
1/2 cup raisins (you can probably use any other type of dried fruit)
1/2 cup maple syrup (agave should be fine, too)
1/2 cup sunflower seed butter (any nut or nut-free butter should work depending on your food allergies and personal preferences)
4 Tbsp ground flaxseed meal

1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
2 to 4 scoops soy protein powder (optional; I skipped this)
  1. Mashed banana until most or all lumps are gone.  Stir in remaining ingredients until well combined.
  2. Spread mixture on a small baking pan (mine happened to be about 12"x8")
  3. Put pan in freezer until bar has frozen, at least an hour.
  4. Remove pan.  Cut into small bars.  Store in freezer, taking out one at a time when you are ready to eat.
The quest for great on-the-go granola continues.  In the meantime, the no-bake energy bars are perfect for those low-key afternoons at home.

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