I loathe making kids lunches. But what I loathe even more than making lunches is coming up with kids healthy lunch box ideas; it's never-ending.
I dread it every day, all year-long and I'm sure there are many other parents out there that are just like me. So, if you are one of those parents (or not a parent, but just generally hate making lunches), I want to offer you a few more lunch bag food ideas, like these Healthy Fruit and Oat Bars. These bars are vegan and allergy friendly (nut free, refined sugar free, egg free, gluten-free and dairy free!)
School is starting in less than 2 weeks again and although that comes with its own set of benefits, sadly, my lunch holiday is over. However, I am determined to go into this school year armed and that is precisely why I am starting early!
For this Oatmeal Fruit Bar recipe, you'll need:
- rolled oats
- dried apricots
- dried cranberries
- raw, unsalted sunflower seeds
- pitted prunes
- vanilla extract
- chia seeds
- unsweetened coconut flakes
- baking soda
📖 Variations & Substitutions
Pitted Prunes - you can substitute dates
Dried Cranberries- you can substitute dried cherries
Tahini: you can substitute nut butter (almond, for example) or peanut butter
Although this recipe is not going to change your life (sorry, you still have to make lunches 🙁 ), it will give you something fast and healthy to add to your arsenal. This healthy oat bar is not only dairy-free, nut-free, gluten-free, egg-free and refined sugar free, you can make it ahead, freeze it, then throw in it in the kids lunch bag for a healthy and easy dessert or morning snack.
They keep well in the fridge for 3 days and they freeze well and defrost pretty quickly. You can also defrost them in the microwave for 20 seconds.
Aside from being free of just about everything allergy related or bad for you, these bars are also portable! And it's a great way to use up some of those frozen overripe bananas in your freezer!
💭 Top tip
Peel your bananas BEFORE freezing them, then stick them in a Ziplock baggie (you can cut them in half) and label them with the date. Yes, this seems like a no-brainer but I didn't think to do it for years (until a friend mentioned it) and would always have these frozen hockey puck-like bananas (with peel on) flying out of the freezer (they are awkward and slippery when frozen) and landing on my toes - ouch! Then I got minor frostbite whenever I had to peel them! This will make your life much easier.
If you don't have to make lunch for your kids, lucky you! But if you still have to pack a lunch for yourself, give this recipe a try. I love this recipe for fruit bars and pack them regularly in my own lunch bag.
Happy back to school baking and lunch making!
Did you make this recipe? Please RATE THE RECIPE below!
Here's another tasty and healthy lunch bag snack:
📋 Healthy Fruit & Oat Bar Recipe
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- ½ cup tahini
- ½ cup dried apricots chopped
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup sunflower seeds
- 1 cup pitted prunes you can substitute dates, bite-sized
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoon chia seeds
- ½ cup coconut flakes unsweetened
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 ripe bananas mashed
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Spray a 9 X 13 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a food processor, add the coconut, banana, apricots, prunes, chia, cinnamon, vanilla, baking soda and tahini. Process until smooth.
- Remove mixture from processor and place in a bowl.
- To the bowl, add cranberries, ¼ cup sunflower seeds (reserve ¼ cup seeds for top) and old-fashioned oats. Mix well.
- Pour the batter into prepared pan and spread all evenly with a spatula.
- Sprinkle the top with ¼ cup of reserved sunflower seeds.
- Bake for 18 minutes in preheated oven.
- Cool for 3-5 minutes, then run a spatula around the edges of the pan.
- Let stand for at least 10 minutes before cutting into bars.
- Portion and wrap individually in saran wrap.