Handheld snacks are the easiest for the little ones to tackle but not all of these types of snacks are created equal.
With their tummies still very little, you want to feed them the easiest snacks with the most nutrient-dense ingredients which usually means avoiding a number of processed or packaged foods with empty calories in them.
These crumble bars are packed full of nutrition with oats, chia seeds, peanut butter and banana and they are sweetened naturally with local honey and brown rice syrup.
Local honey has been suggested in particular as it exposes your little one to the local pollen which has shown to assist with seasonal allergies.
Organic peanut butter is the nut butter of choice for these bars but if you have a child with a peanut or nut allergy, you can swap it directly for tahini or sunflower seed butter.
Carob is free of caffeine and theobromine which can stimulate your little one too much. You can find carob chips or carob blocks at your local health food store or some supermarkets.
Oats are the high-fibre, slow-burn carbohydrates that little ones love. They are easy to digest and will provide them with sustained energy from the moment they eat them. They are also gentle on their digestive system and can help move things along or slow things down if they are experiencing an upset tummy.
Oats are also a source of magnesium and iron as well as high in protein making them a wonderful nutrition source for toddlers as they grow and move.
Chia seeds, like oats, are a high-fibre food but their gentle nature makes them easy for your little one to digest. They are a great source of healthy o fats to support mental development and calcium to support their growing bones.
Treat your little ones to a homemade muesli bar and have them full of energy, well-nourished and satisfied as soon as they finish it off.
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Choc chip & banana crumble bars
Makes 8-10 slices
- 3 cups rolled oats (gluten-free if needed)
- ¼ cup chia seeds
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ½ cup virgin coconut oil
- 3 tbs local honey
- 3 tbs brown rice syrup
- 1 heaped tbs smooth organic peanut butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 small bananas
- 1 tbs smooth organic peanut butter
- ¼ cup carob buttons or roughly chopped carob
How to make
- Heat your oven to 180 degrees and line a loaf tin with baking paper. Use enough baking paper to allow it to go right up the sides so you can easily pull out the slice when it’s done
- Place the oats, chia seeds and salt into a food processor or blender and blitz it into a coarse powder
- Gently melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan on the stove. Once fully melted, remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the honey, brown rice syrup, peanut butter and vanilla. Add this mixture to food processor or blender and blitz everything together for around 10-15 seconds until it comes together as a dough. The dough will be quite oily and everything should be wet. If there are dry patches, pulse the mixture a couple more times until they have been mixed in
- Set 1 cup of the mixture aside (this will make the crumble topping) and then press the remaining mixture into the prepared loaf tin, pressing it down firmly from the centre out to the edges to form the base of the slice. Prick the base with a fork to allow the steam to escape during cooking and then place it in the oven to bake for 10 minutes
- While the base is cooking, mash together the bananas and peanut butter to form a banana jam. After 10 minutes, remove the base from the oven, allow it to cool slightly for 2 to 3 minutes then spread the banana jam on top in a thin, even layer. Sprinkle on the carob buttons and roughly crumble the remaining dough mixture on top, pressing it into the banana jam. Once fully assembled, return the slice to the oven to bake for 25 minutes or until the crumble topping is hard and slightly golden
- Once baked, remove the loaf tin from the oven and leave it to cool on the bench top for 1 hour or so or until completely cool. Finish it off by placing it in the freezer for another 30 minutes before removing it from it’s tin and cutting it into 8 to 10 pieces. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 week or in the freezer for up to 1 month
Roberta of Naturo Medico is a Naturopathic Practitioner who specialises in preventative care and women’s health. From her Melbourne-based clinic, Roberta sees women of all ages wanting to meet their own health goals and assists them on their path with personalised treatments specific to their needs.
Alongside practice, Roberta shares healthful and nutrient-rich recipes with her readers who inspire her to continue educating on what health and wellbeing means and how it can be achieved.
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