Dairy-free | Nut-free | Vegan | Gluten-free option | Refined sugar free
These super-food chewy oaty bars are a fabulous source of protein, fibre, healthy omega-3 fats and a whole range of vitamins and minerals. Containing only natural fruit-based sugars, and several ingredients that help balance blood sugar levels, you can be sure they won’t give your kids (or you) a sugar spike. Instead you’ll get a slow-release of energy to see you through the afternoon! Perfect for the school lunchbox!!
Since arriving in the UK 6 months ago, life has been a bit topsy turvy, and home baking healthy snacks for the girls has kinda gone out the window. There’s something about having your own kitchen, pantry, ingredients, space, time…. So, any baking or making mojo went out the window, and in its place came convenience foods – the healthiest ones I could find in the store, admittedly, but still not my day-to-day ideal.
As a result, my four-year-old has become rather fixated with oaty bars. I have been meaning to make some myself so that I can feel confident they are getting a dose of nutrient-dense goodness, especially since we finally moved into our own place at the end of November. But what with pregnancy fatigue (it’s kicking my butt!) and the whirlwind that was December, it’s taken me until mid (ok late-ish) January to finally put these together.
Now, they should be pretty quick to make – I took a bit of a guess at 15 minutes prep time – but if you enlist the help of your four-year-old and almost-two-year-old, it will take you over an hour!! Can’t say I didn’t warn you… No, really, it makes for a fun Sunday activity 😉
Oats are full of protein and fibre, providing a filling snack as well as slow-release energy. They can also help lower cholesterol, and improve blood sugar control.
Chia seeds are a fantastic source of protein and fibre, as well as omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. They also contain calcium, magnesium and a host of other vitamins and minerals. A teeny tiny food powerhouse!
Seeds are rich in B complex vitamins, essential for a healthy nervous system, as well as tonnes of other vitamins and minerals. They’re also a fabulous source of fibre, protein and healthy fats. They can help reduce blood sugar levels, cholesterol and blood pressure.
Cinnamon is another great ingredient to lower blood sugar levels, as well as a gorgeous flavour. It is loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties (which reduces the inflammatory response in the body).
Tahini, or ground sesame seeds, are a fabulous nut replacement in recipes, great in both savoury and sweet dishes. Sesame seeds are a great source of calcium, and in comparison to the calcium found in milk and other dairy products, it is much more bioavailable to the body. Tahini is also full of healthy fats and amino acids (the building blocks of protein), vitamins and minerals including B vitamins, copper and iron. And yet another ingredient that regulates blood pressure and cholesterol.
No-Bake No-Nut Oaty Bars
Preparation: 15 minutes | Refrigeration Time: 2 hours | Serves: 16
What you need:
- 9-10 Medjool dates, pitted and halved
- ½ cup tahini
- 1/3 cup fruit syrup (or maple syrup or honey if not vegan)
- ½ tsp vanilla paste or extract
- 2 ½ cups rolled oats (if needing to be 100% gluten free, use gluten free oats or quinoa flakes)
- ½ cup mixed seeds
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- ½ – 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ¼ cup apricots, chopped, sulphite free ideally (these are the brown ones – the sulphites act to preserve the colour of the apricots, but aren’t so good for us)
- For a different flavour combo: replace apricots with cacao nibs or chopped dark chocolate
What you do:
- Prepare a baking tin (I used whatever I could find which happened to be around 27cm by 17cm, but slightly smaller would be better if you prefer thicker bars) – line it with baking paper.
- Place the dates into a small saucepan with a little water (about halfway up the dates) and bring to the boil for about two minutes, until the dates are softened, and the water has mostly evaporated.
- Add the dates to a food processor, along with the tahini, syrup and vanilla, and process until smooth (a minute or two).
- In a large bowl combine the oats, seeds, chia seeds, cinnamon and salt. Add the tahini mix into the oat mix and combine well.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and spread into an even layer. Use a sheet of baking paper over the top to press down on the oat bars until firmly packed.
- Place in the fridge for around two hours. Once set, remove and slice, and enjoy!
Do you use tahini in your recipes? What’s your favourite recipe that uses tahini? And let me know how you get on with these oaty bars!