Kitchen Notes
Back-to-school is almost here, and that means it’s time to find some wholesome lunchbox ideas that are as easy to make as they are tasty.

Of course, we adults need healthy options too! And the good news is, these protein-rich bars are a hit with kids and adults alike!

Inspired by my affinity for KIND Fruit & Nut Bars, this honey-sweetened, grain-free version is far less expensive to make than purchasing its namesake. And even better, you can customize the recipe to make a wide variety of flavor-combinations based on your own personal taste preferences (and your kids too)!

Fruit & Nut Grain-Free Bars

Servings: 8 bars
Active time: 15 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup pure honey (I prefer sage due to its mild flavor)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1 tablespoon *all-natural almond butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/3 cups chopped whole *nuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried fruit
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (not finely shredded coconut)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Trim parchment paper to line a 8×8-inch baking dish, leaving parchment paper to hang over two sides of the dish.
  2. In a large bowl, add the honey, coconut flour, all-natural nut butter and salt. Use a spoon to stir until well combined.
  3. On a large cutting board, coarse-chop a couple of large handfuls of assorted whole nuts (see note below). Measure out 1 1/3 cup of the chopped nuts and add them to the honey mixture.
  4. Rough Chopped Nuts for recipeNext, chop the dried fruit and measure out 1/2 cup and add to the honey mixture.
  5. Finally, measure 1 cup of coconut flakes (not shredded coconut). Place coconut flakes on the cutting board and coarse-chop. Add chopped coconut flakes to honey mixture.
  6. Using a spoon, mix ingredients together making sure they are thoroughly combined.
  7. Place the bar mixture into the parchment-lined baking dish. Fold overlapping flaps down and evenly press the top of the bar mixture firmly to pack-in the ingredients so they hold together better after baking. Then, peel back the parchments flaps from top of bars. (Do not trim, as the flaps make it easier to remove the bars after baking.)
  8. Bake for 20 minutes. Then remove from oven and allow to cool on stovetop for approximately one hour (or until bottom of baking dish should is room temp).
  9. Place in freezer to continue cooling. Once nearly frozen (about 45 minutes to an hour), remove dish from freezer. Then, run a knife along the two edges without parchment. Using the parchment paper ends, lift the bars from the baking dish and place on a cutting board.
  10. Cut into 8 bars and individually wrap and store in freezer. Then you can easily take out what you need and place directly into your child’s lunchbox (or yours) – no need to thaw. However, for best results, bars should be kept cool so they do not become over-sticky. Simply include an ice pack, if placing them in a lunchbox, or taking them on the go.

Recipe Notes:
You can use any combination of nuts, such almonds, cashews, pistachios, peanuts, etc. Just be sure to rough-chop the nuts first and then measure out 1 1/3 cups. The same goes for dried fruit – rough-chop any combination of dried fruit you choose and then measure out 1/2 cup. And finally, you can use any all-natural nut butter you choose, just be sure it’s simply ground nuts without additives for best results and nutrition. (P.S. Notice in the photo how I use my empty Honey Pacifica jars – they make great food storage containers!)

Recipe courtesy of Kelly at The Nourishing Home. For more real food recipes and easy meal planning check out Kelly’s website or follow her on Facebook.

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