I always love to have an easy to grab snack for myself and the girls. Usually I try to make these things but sometimes it is much easier to grab something from the store. Convenience can't be beat at times. I love grabbing a healthy, wholesome granola bar that I can toss in my purse and pull out when someone needs a snack. Typically my granola bar of choice at the store is a LaraBar. Simple, whole food ingredients. No hidden extras. We all love them. The only drawback is that they get expensive. When we are camping or traveling the girls could eat several of these a day. That equals a nice chunk of change for a snack.
The other week a dear friend was over and mentioning that she had just starting making a version of a LaraBar at home. What?!?! Why hadn't I thought of this. So easy. She completely inspired me. I went on a google quest to find out how to make my own Larabars. Wouldn't you know, it's incredibly simple.
My favorite part about these bars? Dates are the sweetener. No granulated sugar. No honey. No syrup. Only dates, which happens to be my favorite sweetener. I love that I can sweeten all kinds of food with dates without the ill effects of traditional sugar and sweeteners. Dates are a good source of fiber, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and iron. All this to say they are an amazing food and worth including into a whole foods diet. Dates are considered "nature's candy." Really I think a lot of candy gets it's inspiration from natural whole foods. Think of the sweetness and candy like goodness of pomegranates. Tangerines. Papaya. Grapes. Mangoes. Pineapple. Lots of sweet goodness in many of the foods nature provides. Total side note but if you find yourself having a lot of sugar or sweet cravings experiment with adding more sweet whole foods into your diet. Fruits but also sweet vegetables. Might be pleasantly surprised to find those sugar cravings decreasing.
Now for an easy, knock your socks off recipe. This is simply one version of a homemade Larabar. Play with various combinations of dried fruits, nuts, and seeds. I have been playing with making them with less and less nuts and more seeds. I haven't done one completely nut free yet but am experimenting with it.
1 cup Dates (pitted)
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
Add all ingredients to food processor and combine. It is finished when the mixture sticks together well and could be rolled into balls. If this doesn't happen add more dates. I've also added a bit of coconut oil to some batches, which seems to help them stick together really well.
Line a 8x8 pan with parchment paper. Press mixture firmly into pan using hands. Place pan in fridge and allow to chill for several hours. After a few hours have passed, cut the mixture into bars and serve. Enjoy a easy homemade Larabar full of whole food goodness!
Dates are the key ingredient. After that experiment with different types of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.
I've used cashews, almonds, and walnuts. I've also used hemp seed, ground flax seed, ground and whole chia seed, sesame seeds, and pumpkin seeds. Additional dried fruits that I have mixed in are currants, raisins, dried cranberries and dried blueberries. Have fun coming up with your own creations. I hope your little ones enjoy.