Monday, August 17, 2009

Chewy Chocolate Granola Bars

We are in to our second week of the school year. Because there are no vegan options on our school lunch menu I pack lunch for M to take to school every day. Like last year I am always looking for ideas to keep M's lunch fresh, new and exciting for her. Just in time for the start of the school year, Lindsay the Happy Herbivore, posted her ideas for great packable vegan/vegetarian lunches. She's got many many great ideas for fantastic kid-friendly lunches. If your school, like many, also has less than vegan friendly lunch options please visit this site, and sign the petition to get healthy vegetarian school lunches available for our children.

In addition to packing lunch every day, I also have to pack a healthy snack for school. Because the snack must be packed in the backpack, and left hanging on a hook for most of the day it needs to be non-perishable and durable. It also needs to create little mess and be able to be eaten in a reasonable amount of time. Therefore, things like yogurts (soy of course) and fruits are not good options. Fruit, except for apples, typically gets smashed and bruised in the backpack. M has an aversion to bruised fruit, and right now she is missing more teeth than she has left, so whole apples aren't the easiest thing for her to eat. We've found that bars typically fit all of the requirements for afternoon snack. She loves Larabars, but they are expensive and not practical to take everyday (especially when mommy has a Larabar habit that she has to feed daily). Chocolate Chip Oat Bars are a good choice, and she took them quite often last year (she was always the envy of the class when she brought these....the teacher was even known to ask if she could break off a bite!!). But, as always, I'm trying to find or develop new snack options.

When thumbing through the latest issue of Yoga Journal magazine I ran across a recipe for chewy granola bars. To my delight these granola bars were totally nut free, meaning S could enjoy them as well. You could of course add nuts to these, and they would be great. I didn't follow the recipe exactly, it called for a lot of dried fruit and crystallized ginger, that I didn't think my kids would eat, and I think the trick to getting kids to eat healthy is to disguise it as a treat. Hence, my version, chewy chocolate granola bars. You can take this recipe, use the method, and develop a plethora of variations on this granola bar......enough snacks to last the entire school year. Once the were ready, I cut them into bars and wrapped them individually in wax paper, ready to go in the back pack all week.

Chewy Chocolate Granola Bars
makes 10 bars

1 1/3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup oat bran
1 1/2 cups crisp brown rice cereal
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp sea salt

Lightly oil an 8x8 square baking pan. Mix oats, seeds, oat bran, cereal and chocolate chips in a large bowl until well combined. In a small saucepan, combine rice syrup, sugar, vanilla and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Continue to cook and stir syrup mixture until mixture starts to thicken, about 3 minutes. Pour the syrup mixture over the oat mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until well coated. Spoon into prepared pan, cover with wax paper and press mixture firmly and evenly into the pan. Allow the mixture to cool at room temperature. Remove waxed paper, cut into bars, wrap individually and store in an airtight container at room temperature.

**Remember, taking a few minutes before bed each evening to lovingly prepare a healthy lunch for your child means so much to them. It only takes a few minutes and ensures that your child will have a lunch well suited to a successful day at school.


  1. Hey! I just have to tell you that I finally made these... AND... they are SO darn good!! I make a lot of foods specifically to avoid over-packaging and a lot of the "junk" that's in the ingredient list... and I've tried many different granola bar recipes... and most are... quite frankly... to put it nicely... boring and too healthy tasting! THESE, however, are perfection... they taste SO bad for you. LOVE LOVE LOVE... did I mention my 3 kids (ages 7, 5, 3) can't get enough?? Thanks so much for sharing!!!!

  2. Granola Getaways recipes will usually cost you less and be healthier than prepackaged granolas available from grocery and health food stores.

    Healthy Granola Recipes

  3. HI, I can't wait to try this recipe, picked up a few ingredients today, but have to still make a few stops before I will have the rest but I cannot wait! I just wanted to say Thank you because your message at the end of this post really touched my heart. I've been struggling so much with what my son is eating (or more often NOT eating) at school. It's time I make him home lunches from now on. It takes a bit more time, planning and money but it will be worth knowing he will have a healthy meal made with love. Your blog post was just what I needed to hear to make the decision that has been weighing so heavy on my heart for a couple of months now. Thank you. I'll post again once I try this recipe (hopefully this weekend).