With the Beijing Summer Olympics having taken place last month, combined with the start of school and a new season of athletic competition, we all start thinking about healthy snacks we can provide our kids that nourish their bodies and give them an energy boost just before their games. There are dozens of power bars on the market, with protein and healthy carbohydrates to promote muscle development and aid athlete with a steady source of energy.
But if your child has food allergies, these bars may be off limits to them. Many of these energy bars contain peanuts, tree nuts, whole grain wheat or dairy as their sources of protein or carbohydrates. I can't give these bars to my daughter, so I developed a recipe for an allergen-free energy bar that is both healthy and delicious.
(Note: The recipe below contains coconut, which is actually a seed and not a nut. FAAN and most allergists agree that coconut is not a tree nut, but the FDA has included coconut in their definition of tree nuts. If you are concerned about this ingredient, I encourage you to consult your allergist, or you may simply substitute it with an extra half cup of oats.)
4 Tablespoons brown sugar
6 Tablespoons corn syrup or rice syrup
1/3 cup soy butter or sunflower butter
1 ½ cup Gluten Free Oats (I use Bob's Red Mill)
½ cup Gluten Free puffed rice cereal
¼ cup unsalted pumpkin seeds
¼ cup unsalted sunflower seeds
¼ cup unsweetened desiccated coconut (or 1/2 cup of oats)
½ cup raisins
Preheat oven to 325 degrees, and lightly grease an 8"x 8" pan. Place a small saucepan over medium-low heat and add the brown sugar, corn syrup, and soy butter. Allow the mixture to melt, making sure it doesn't boil. Once mixture is completely melted, take it off the heat and allow it to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, combine the oats, puffed rice, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut and raisins. Drizzle in the liquid mixture and stir it very well, making sure all of the ingredients are coated. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and pack it down evenly. Bake for 15-18 minutes.
Remove from the oven and score the mixture with a knife into 1"x 4" bars. Allow mixture to cool completely in the pan and then cut bars and transfer them to an airtight container for storage (they keep for a couple of weeks). Makes 16 bars