Summer is fast approaching…and there are bound to be kids around… lots of hungry kids. What do you feed them without loading them up with sugar and empty calories or breaking the bank? Here's a homemade super-foods version of a LÄRABAR™ and provides a nice balance of proteins, carbs, and fats guaranteed to keep their moods happy and energy up. Bonus: it only takes 10-15 minutes. Feel free to play around and experiment with different dried fruit, nut and seed butters.
Blueberry PBJ Bar or Blueberry Sun Butter Bar
- 1 cup dates
- 1 cup dried blueberries
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter or sunflower seed butter
- 1 cup ground flaxseeds
- 1 tbsp. gelatin
- 3 tbsp. water
- ¼ tsp. sea salt
In food processor, add dates and blueberries. Process until you have a thick relatively smooth paste. Continue pulsing if you still have large pieces of dried fruit. If mixture is too stiff, add 1 tbsp hot water.
In a small bowl, mix 1 tbsp. gelatin with 3 tbsp. COLD water. Mix until dissolved.
Add gelatin, nut/seed butter and ground flaxseeds to food processor. Process until mixture is well blended. If it forms a ball but not well blended, push mixture down with spatula and pulse until you have a consistent texture and color throughout.
Place mixture on parchment lined 8x8 baking pan. Using another piece of parchment paper, press the mixture down until you have a smooth flat square. Place in refrigerator for an hour or so to set.
Remove from pan and cut with a large chef’s knife into desired size. Bite-size squares work well for larger groups and larger bars work well to individually wrap (I use parchment paper) and pack in lunches for school/day camps.
Store in airtight container in fridge for up a couple weeks or freeze for a couple months.
These bars are loaded with nutrients but taste like a yummy treat. Using dried fruits for sweetness, vitamins, minerals and fiber; there's no need to added sugar. Dates provide a good neutral flavor and are high in potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, B vitamins and anti-oxidants. I like to pair it with another ‘flavored’ fruit. Here I use blueberries which are high in vitamin C and anti-oxidants.
Nuts and seed provide protein and minerals. I like the nut butters in this recipe because it is easier than using the whole nut. Peanut butter is sure to please the kids but you can use sunflower and pumpkin seeds as a good alternative for nut allergies. Each nut and seed has a different array of nutrients.
The “super-foods” I added are flaxseeds and gelatin. Flax seeds are a great source of protein, fiber and Omega-3 fatty acids. They will help boost their immunity, brain development and digestive health. Gelatin provides collagen and certain amino acids to help strengthen bones, nurture the brain, and improve sleep. Gelatin is part of what makes a homemade bone broth so nourishing. For the bars, it also serves to bind and hold everything together so that they don’t fall apart easily.
Maria Quintana-Pilling is Founder of Urbanspice Nutrition and a certified holistic nutrition consultant and natural chef, specializing in digestive and women’s health issues. In addition to private health coaching, she teaches cooking classes at Taste Kitchen & Table in Fairfax throughout the year to help you get nutritious delicious meals on the table for your family. The next class is Wednesday, May 18. Get the details on her cooking classes here.