Tasty, filling gluten-free granola bars for snacks and lunchboxes
If you are the mother of a boy, you will be used to hearing the phrase ‘I’m hungry’. Seriously, I must hear it at least 100 times a day. I simply cannot get enough food into my six-year old son. My daughter eats like a fairy, but that boy is an eating machine.
Snacks can be particularly challenging because children tend to beg you for every type of food you don’t want them to have. I’m prepared to allow a little junk as long as it’s in combination with something healthy and, ideally, protein-rich. Whilst it’s the sugar and the carbs that they are craving, it’s so important that they also eat some protein at snack time.
In addition to being essential for growth and development, protein will help to balance their blood sugar levels and help with further sugar cravings later on.
Snacks in our house have got to be gluten-free, and if they’re going in a lunchbox, they have to be nut-free as well which can sometimes be a challenge.
I have therefore adapted a number of different granola bar recipes and come up with these protein-rich, gluten-free, nut-free granola bars! These are ideal as a snack and a perfect addition to a lunchbox.
They are packed with complex carbohydrates from oats, which release their sugar more slowly into the bloodstream, as well protein and healthy fats from lots of seeds. They have been sweetened with banana and dried fruit, so no nasty refined sugars here.
Once you’ve cut them into bars, they can be individually wrapped in greaseproof paper and popped into the freezer.
Nut-free, gluten-free granola bar recipe
- 3 ripe bananas, mashed
- 1 tsp vanilla extract/vanilla bean paste
- 130g gluten-free oats
- 100g dried apricots (unsulphured), chopped (other dried fruit like dates, raisins or cherries would also work well)
- 50g pumpkin seeds
- 50g sunflower seeds
- 3 tbsp maple syrup (or agave, date syrup or honey)
- Preheat the over to 180C/350F
- Grease and line a square baking tray (9" x 9")
- Mash the bananas in a large bowl
- Stir in the vanilla extract/paste
- Pulse the oats in a food processor until you have a mixture of fine and chunky oats
- Mix the oats with the mashed banana
- Add the dried fruit and seeds and stir well
- Mix in the maple syrup
- Tip the contents into the baking tray and press down well until compacted, smoothing down the top
- Bake in the oven for 25 minutes until golden on top
- Allow to cool on a wire rack, carefully remove the greaseproof paper and cut into about 12 bars
- Store in a airtight container, or wrap individually and freeze for later