Mix and Match Granola Bars

We do a lot of eating on the go and I tend to stock up on car snacks to avoid fast food stops.  Granola bars are a favorite snack around here but the ones I want (all natural and relatively healthy) tend to be pretty expensive when you’re feeding 6 people.  Add a peanut allergy in there and it’s very hard to find anything that works for our family.

Here’s a recipe I’ve adapted from some I found online.  I’ve tweaked them a lot to make ours healthier (original versions called for corn syrup and a few raisins) and made it completely flexible to match whatever is in your cupboard or whatever you’re in the mood for!  Best of all, there’s no baking and it’s super quick to whip up!

Victoria says she likes these bars more than chocolate.  I’m not sure I like anything better than chocolate (except perhaps my kids and hubby– most days!), but they are pretty darn good.

This makes a big batch because if you’re going to go to the trouble of making granola bars up then I think you should make enough that you don’t have to do it every day!  Besides, they get gobbled up really quickly!

Alicia’s Mix and Match Granola Bars

Makes about 20 full sized bars or 30 smaller bars

4 cups quick cooking oats
3 cups dry cereal *
2 cups dried fruit **
1 cup nuts or seeds ***
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup honey
1 cup sunbutter, soy nut butter or peanut butter
2 tsp real vanilla

1.  Grease and set aside a 9×13 or 10×14 inch baking pan.

2.  In a very large bowl, stir together the oats, cereal, fruit and nuts.

3.  Heat the brown sugar and honey in a pan over medium heat, stirring often, just until boiling.  Remove from heat and stir in the nut butter and vanilla.

4.  Pour hot mixture over dry mixture and mix well.  (If you are adding in chocolate chips, allow the mixture to cool slightly so they do not melt.)

5.  Press very firmly into prepared pan (wetting your hands can help a bit).  Allow to cool and cut into bars. 

*  Good dry cereal choices are rice crispies, cheerios and corn flakes.  Rice crispies are perfect but anything crunchy will do.

**  Dried fruit options include raisins, cranberries, blueberries, cherries, pineapple, etc.  Diced prunes are surprisingly sweet and delicious but they’re rather sticky.  I dust them with powdered sugar to chop them so they don’t make a sticky mass.  You can also add ingredients like coconut and chocolate chips.  Our favorite mix so far is chopped prunes, tart cherries, coconut and some whitechocolate chips.  You can also do themes like tropical with coconut, papaya, pineapple…

*** Any nuts or seeds will do.  These contribute protein, texture and a bigger health punch.  Options include sunflower seeds, chopped almonds, pecans, sesame seeds, flax seeds….

I wrap these in aluminum foil for on-the-go snacks.  They can be kept at room temperature or refrigerated.  They are slightly sticky and soft at room temperature, or at least they are in the summer.




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2 responses to “Mix and Match Granola Bars

  1. Oh thank you! We are on the go so much right now, that I’ve had to buy a cooler and even then the kids eat through it and we end up buying food on the go.
    Zoe has a peanut allergy (not super severe, I don’t think – but we do have an epi pen). Does a peanut allergy preclude all nuts or just peanuts? We’ve been hyper vigilant and not allowing any nut at all. I haven’t researched it at all (bad mom!)

    • Nut allergies
      Technically, peanuts aren’t in the same family as tree nuts (they’re legumes) so a peanut allergy should only mean that you avoid peanuts.
      That said, children who are allergic to peanuts have a 30% chance (I was told) of having a tree nut allergy too. Our allergist told us to avoid all nuts just to be safe and for years we did. Jack had a few accidental exposures to other tree nuts like almonds and did not react so we introduced other nuts in small amounts one at a time and so far he is not allergic to any tree nuts.
      The other concern with tree nuts is that they’re often processed on the same equipment as peanuts so you can get traces of peanuts in the other nuts. If you have a severely allergic child, you should probably avoid tree nuts that have been processed in shared plants for that reason. But then you probably also have to avoid most cereals and other things too.
      If you’re not sure, seeds are a great way to still get some nutrients and protein. And crunch. 🙂

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