Try these yummy oat bars for a quick and easy kid-friendly snack on the go! The recipe is sweetened with dates, containing no added sugar or salt. I used all-natural ingredients, including carrots, tangerine, almond butter for flavouring and hemp and flax to up the nutritional value. I put this recipe together recently after I saw my daughter go to town on store-bought granola bars. Typically I’m not too fond of store-bought food, but once and awhile, I’ll turn into some packaged foods to make life easier. My daughter was going through an incredibly picky phase and refused pretty much all snacks. When she tasted the store-bought bar, she devoured it. She even asked for a second one, which never happens. I decided I would try to make them myself, and I was lucky it worked on my first attempt. I am posting the recipe here because it’s an excellent discovery that any parent can make. You’ll need a food processor, a silicone baking sheet and about 10 minutes to prep and 40 minutes to bake. If you don’t have a silicone baking sheet, parchment paper also works, but I encourage you to pick up a silicone sheet because it’s a fantastic zero waste kitchen tool. I’m working on testing a nut-free version that is safe for school kids. As soon as I perfect that it, I’ll post it here too.
Texture-wise these bars are identical to the store-bought kind that were recommended for children 12 months and older. I personally would’ve felt comfortable giving to them to my daughter at a younger age, probably around eight months. But you know your child best so make sure that when you offer it to them, it feels safe to you! If they aren’t accustomed to large bars, you can always chop them up smaller.
Tangerine Carrot Oat Bars for Toddlers and Kids (Vegan/Gluten-Free)
- 2 2/3 cup old-fashioned organic oats
- 1/2 cup hemp seeds
- 1 cup carrots chopped
- 2 tangerines peeled, seeds removed
- 9 Medjool dates pits removed
- 1 1/4 tsp ground hemp
- 3 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tbsp almond butter
- 2 tsp vanilla extract Optional: alcohol-free extract for kids
- Carrots should be slightly steamed or blanched to soften them. Steam basket: Add 1 inch of water to a large pot and bring to a boil; place a steam basket inside and pour carrots into the basket. Steam for two minutes, or until fork and easily puncture the carrots. Remove from the basket, let cool. Microwave hack: In a glass bowl or large glass measuring cup, add 2 inches of water and chopped carrots. Heat in the microwave over the medium setting for about four to five minutes, depending on the microwave.
Make oat bars
- Line a cookie sheet with a clean silicone liner. Preheat the oven to 200°F, which is usually the lowest setting.
- Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until well incorporated. The texture should be sticky and grainy but not chunky or wet.
- Evenly spread the mixture over the silicone baking sheet until it stands at about a quarter of an inch thick. It will form a long rectangle. Use a spatula to even out the spread as much as possible. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven and lift off the silicone liner. Let it cool for a minute or two. Use one hand to support the oat bar mixture and the other hand to peel off the silicone liner. Think of it as a fruit roll-up. The oat bar mixture should be able to peel off so that you can flip it over. If it's still sticking a lot, bake it a little longer. If you really can't flip it, cut it into sections and flip those one by one. The goal is really just to flip the mixture to bake it on the other side. Once flipped, return the silicone liner back on the baking sheet and return it to the oven to bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove the oat bars from the oven and cut them into small even rectangles. They will be easier to cut while hot. The recipe will make around 30 baby-sized bars (18g) or 15 adult-sized (36g).
- Store in a cool dry place for up to three days or in the refrigerator for a week or freeze them for up to six months.