Schools start in less than a week. Are you happy about that? Sad? Nervous about what your morning commute is going to be like once the buses are back on the road?

I am really excited for school to be starting up. I like having structure and a certain level of predictability to my days, and while I have attempted to create firm activity schedules for my kids and myself over the summer, they have been met with much resistance and groaning. While I like to go to the library on Monday because it’s “Library Day” on our schedule, my kids don’t care about that if the neighborhood kids are knocking on our door, asking them to play.

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I know a lot of people get stressed out by the rigidity of school morning routines: the need to continuously check on some kids to make sure they’re out of bed, making sure everyone is dressed with teeth brushed, shoes found and out at the bus stop before the school bus comes. Oh yeah, and then there’s breakfast, and packing lunches. That can be a hard thing to plan ahead once you get in the lazy lifestyle of summer.

This week I wanted to share some easy-to-make and good on-the-go breakfast bars for kids’ breakfasts. They may not be the healthiest of breakfasts, but I think the fact that they’re more like a treat will make them a sure hit for families on the go.

First up, peanut butter oatmeal protein bars. They’re like making a homemade granola bar but you add extra protein powder to them, which I never would have thought to do, and yet I know that commercial protein bars are all essentially granola bars with protein powder. I had all of these ingredients in my house so I gave them a try and they turned out great. And not having to turn the oven on during the 93-degree day when I made them, that was awesome, too.

Next, for a breakfast bar that does not include chocolate, I liked the looks of these chewy apple cinnamon granola bars. These looked a lot like those Quaker chewy granola bars, which have always reminded me of Rice Krispie Treats with the addition of some oats, but they’re still yummy, and making them yourself is probably going to cost less, and then they won’t have all those weird preservative flavors that I know I’m sensitive to. And I love dried apples, going to love eating the rest of these all on their own!

And finally, this third recipe looked beautiful but I haven’t tried it yet, these are peanut butter and jelly yogurt bars. This recipe uses a lot of oats and some flax, and then equal parts raisins and peanut butter, all of which you grind up in a food processor. Then you spread it into bars and cover it with a dairy-free yogurt, such as coconut milk or oat milk, both of which I’ve heard good things about from friends with food sensitivities. Finally, you add some blackberry jelly on top and swirl it together and then freeze it to let it set. Plan to keep these in the refrigerator, and eat them within a week.

Enjoy!

Healthy no-bake peanut butter oatmeal protein bars

For the bars:

2 cups rolled oats

3 tbsp flaxseed meal

2 tbsp chia seeds

1/2 cup protein powder

3/4 cup peanut butter

2 tbsp coconut oil

1/3 cup honey

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For the chocolate coating:

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 tbsp coconut oil

Line an 8- by 8-inch pan with parchment paper, set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients (oats through protein powder). Set aside.

In a medium microwave-safe bowl, add peanut butter, coconut oil, and honey. Microwave for 10-15 seconds, and stir until evenly combined. Add this to dry ingredients, stirring gently until mixture is evenly combined. Mixture will be thick and heavy.

Press mixture into prepared pan, using hands to press evenly into all corners. Place pan in refrigerator for about 45 minutes to set (or 20 minutes in freezer).

Melt chocolate chips and coconut oil in the microwave for 10-second intervals. Once completely melted, pour chocolate on bars, spread evenly, and allow to set, about 15 minutes in your fridge.

Store the bars in an airtight container in a fridge up to 2 weeks, or store in the freezer for a longer period of time.

Healthy chewy apple cinnamon granola bars

1 1/4 cup old fashioned oats

1 cup chopped pecans, or another nut

1/4 cup flax seeds

4 tablespoons coconut oil

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups puffed rice cereal

1/2 cup dried apples, diced

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9- by 9-inch baking dish by spraying it with nonstick spray and lining it with parchment paper, leaving excess hanging over the sides for easy removal later.

Spread oats, nuts, and flax seeds out in an even layer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Bake for 5-8 minutes, watching closely for the oats to just start to brown and become fragrant.

In a small sauce pan, bring honey, coconut oil, and brown sugar to a simmer over medium heat. Stir to dissolve sugar for 2-4 minutes. Remove from heat, add vanilla extract, and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine puffed rice cereal, dried apples, cinnamon and salt. Stir in the oat mixture, and pour in the honey mixture. Stir until everything is well coated.

Press into your prepared dish. Use another piece of parchment paper on top to pack it down and press it into the corners.

Place them in the refrigerator to chill for an hour before removing from the baking dish to cut into bars. Serve at room temperature.

Peanut butter and jelly yogurt breakfast bars

1 cup of raisins

2 cups of rolled oats

1 cup of peanut butter

¼ cup of grounded flaxseed

2 tablespoons of cinnamon

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

1 ½ cups dairy-free yogurt

Blackberry jelly

Blend the rolled oats, raisins, flaxseed, cinnamon, and vanilla into a processor or blender.

Once the mix is blended, add the peanut butter and blend until it has a sticky paste consistency.

In a medium baking pan with parchment paper, spread the crumbly mix out evenly. This is the base, so make sure it is packed together evenly so the bars don’t fall apart.

Add yogurt on top of the crust and spread across evenly until it is covered like frosting. Next, add blackberry jelly. The amount depends on your preference. Use a butter knife to make swirls.

Lastly, put the pan in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours, then pull out parchment paper and cut into bars.

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