We’re all extremely busy and finding the time to eat healthy AND filling food, especially snacks in between meals, isn’t always easy. Mid-morning and/or mid-afternoon was always when I would reach for a quick carb or sugar fix. But I was finding that eating this type of food between meals really burned me out and made me feel sluggish. Now I like to eat bars loaded with nuts, dried fruit and seeds. These give me tonnes of vitamins and nutrients, fill me up, give me energy and satisfy my sweet tooth all at the same time!
Most of the bars I see at the store are really expensive and loaded with preservatives and sugar. The really good ones are better for you, but they cost a fortune. If I was living alone the cost might be worth it, but I have 2 boys and a husband who are ALWAYS hungry and looking for a quick, convenient snack so we’d go through a $20 box of bars in about 3 days!
These homemade bars are a lot cheaper than store-bought ones.
COST SAVING SUGGESTION: I recommend buying all seeds, oats, dried fruit, and nuts from BULK bins. It’s WAAAAY cheaper than buying pre-packaged items and you have more control over the quantity you’re buying.
These bars, in my opinion, taste WAY better than anything from the store. They’re a perfect combination of salty and sweet. They have a great crunch from the nuts and a wonderful chewiness from the fruit. The coconut oil prevents them from being dry and the almond extract adds just a hint of ‘cherry’ flavour that I LOVE.
Since there’s no baking involved, it’s really just mixing the dry ingredients with the wet ones, pressing it into a pan, and chilling it. That’s it! You can literally make these in under 10 minutes!
These bars are PERFECT to take along on long car rides, hikes, bike rides, park play, etc. or just to grab and eat on your way out the door. The best part is, my kids love them as much as I do and actually consider them a ‘treat’. I even give them to them for dessert!
NOTE: If you don’t like/have something, simply substitute it for something you DO have/like or just add more of another ingredient instead. I used mixed nuts because I always have a container of them on hand. Same with the dried fruit. I like as many flavours in these bars as possible but you can always use just one kind of nut/dried fruit…. Have fun with these and switch up the fruit and nuts for different flavour combinations!
- 1 Tbsp flaxseeds
- 1 Tbsp chia seeds
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/8 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 dates – chopped into small pieces
- 3/4 cup puffed rice (I used Rice Krispies)
- 1 cup oats
- 1 cup mixed, unsalted nuts – chopped (cashews, almonds, macadamias, pistachios, peanuts, pecans, etc….)
- 1/3 cup peanut butter
- 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp honey
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp almond extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
- In a saucepan, combine all the ‘wet’ ingredients and heat over low heat, stirring often, until the peanut butter until everything is combined. Around 2 – 3 minutes.
- pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and fold together using a spatula until all the dry ingredients are evenly coated.
- Using a wax/parchment paper lined baking pan (around 7×7″ – 9×9″ in size), spread the mixture evenly and press down firmly until the mix is even and condensed into the pan.
- NOTE: taking the time to press firmly and evenly all over the mixture is important so they don’t fall apart when you cut them. You want to condense the bars as much as possible. I put a piece of wax paper on top and then use a bag of rice or other weight on top while it’s chilling.
- Put in fridge and chill for at least 1 hour before removing parchment paper from the pan and cutting the block into whatever sized bars you want.
- Store in an air tight container in the fridge or at room temperature.