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Healthy snacks might not be good for you

It’s amazing what passes for healthy today.

Like most Moms I’m always on the lookout for healthy snacks for the kiddos (and myself). There was a time when you could give your child a granola bar and feel good about it. I think that ship has sailed.

Have you looked at the labels lately? I flipped over a bunch of boxes, read the nutrition labels and flipped my lid.

While oats were listed as the first ingredient; most had sugar as the second ingredient followed by oil as the third. I’m already not happy. Down the list there was inevitably, corn syrup (I guess sugar as the second ingredient wasn’t sweet enough?) various flours, other sweeteners and other unpronounceables I don’t want to ingest.

So I did what I usually do; went home and made some myself. I came up with this super easy recipe with no added sugar, no corn syrup, no added fat or oil, and they’re probably gluten free.

Did I just say “probably”? I need to explain that. In nature, oats don’t contain gluten. However, most oat manufacturers also process wheat and other grains containing gluten. Due to the chance the oats could be contaminated; I can’t technically shout “Oats are gluten free!”

Well, here’s the recipe. They come out soft and chewy, delicious and nutritious. Next time I make these I’m going to add some chocolate chips. That can be our secret, okay?


Start to finish: 45 minutes

Servings: 8 bars

2 very ripe bananas, mashed

¼ cup unsweetened applesauce

¼ cup peanut butter – or other nut butter

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups rolled oats – NOT instant

2 tablespoon flax or almond meal – optional

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ cups of mixed goodies – like raisins, dried fruit, nuts, coconut, sunflower seeds.

Heat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9×9 baking dish with non-stick spray. As an option you can line the pan with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mash bananas with a potato masher, add the applesauce and peanut butter. If you warm the peanut butter first it will mix better. Stir until combined. In a second bowl mix together the rolled oats, flax meal (optional), cinnamon and salt. Now add your goodies, whatever you choose as long as the total is one and a half cups. Use up all those odds and ends in your cupboards.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well with a wooden spoon, or just use your hands. Press mixture into prepared baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes. When done, invert onto a cooling rack and allow the bars to cool before slicing. Enjoy.

Frugal Food Finds contributed by Patti Diamond, author of Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!, www.divasonadime.com Join us on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom.

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