Fall always feels like a fresh start to me. I feel the need to reorganize my kitchen pantry, get back to meal planning. and get a little creative. Now with a new school year in full swing, I have been a busy bee in the kitchen coming up with all kinds of nut free, healthy, kid approved lunches and snacks. School lunches can be a daunting task for most parents. This whole lunch thing is not easy. To be honest, I find coming up with healthy snacks that my girls will eat more challenging than lunch. If your kids are anything like my girls, they love to snack. Today, I am sharing these kid approved delicious and easy to make vegan strawberry oat squares. These healthy, protein packed vegan strawberry oat squares make a perfect school snack.
Why are snacks important?
Snacks play an important role in our kids health. Kids appetites can fluctuate for many reasons during the day and snacks are a great way to fill in any nutrition gaps that they may have missed. Another, reason snacks play an important role is their tummies are smaller than adults and they need snacks to keep their energy and moods up. We want our kids to be well nourished so that they can get the most out of their school years.
Finding a healthy snack that your child will eat can be stressful. As a dietitian and a mom, I want to know what I am feeding my kids and most store bought kid friendly snacks are not dietitian friendly.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are always at the top of my list when it comes to healthy snacks. However, I realize that eating vegetables and fruit all the time is not appealing. I like to provide a variety of snacks so my girls don’t get bored. As a healthier snack I usually opt for something homemade. Miss E loves these granola bars but with her front teeth missing she finds them a bit hard to chew. I have been working on different versions of this oat bar using different fruits and combination of ingredients. However, they always fell apart easily. I found this recipe on oh she glows. I altered the ingredients and made my own version that had less sugar and was nut free. These vegan strawberry oat squares are high in protein and fiber and contain little added sugar. Both protein and fiber play a role in helping satiety, helping your little ones focus in school.
Chia seeds are a main staple in our house. These seeds are small but they are full of health benefits such as glucose and blood pressure control. Chia seeds are a great source of plant based omega three fatty acids as well as high in protein, fibre, calcium, and magnesium. Chia seeds can also be used to replace eggs, simply use 2 tbsp of chia seeds and mix with 1/2 cup of water. The chia egg aids in keeping the bar together. Who ever knew a little seed could deliver such a major nutrition punch.
- 2 cups of strawberries, frozen
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups of large flake oats
- 1 cup of whole wheat flour
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp of baking soda
- 1 chia egg
- ½ cup of coconut oil, melted
- ⅓ cup of maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a 9 x9 baking dish with parchment paper with the sides over the edges of the dish.
- In a pot, simmer frozen strawberries over medium heat,once the berries have boiled down mash berries with a fork or potato masher.
- Add the vanilla and chia seeds to the strawberries and turn heat down to low for about 10 minutes.
- Place the oats, flours and cinnamon in a food processor and pulse until you have a course texture.Place in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl mix chia seeds and water, allow to thicken.
- Add melted coconut oil and maple syrup to oat mixture and combine.
- Add chia egg to mixture and mix well.
- Add oat mixture to baking dish , except for approximately ¾ cup. (use later for topping)
- Pour oat mixture into a baking dish and press hard with either your hands or the bottom of a glass.
- Add strawberry mixture and smooth out
- Add reserved oat mixture on the top.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Let bars cool completely before cutting.
These vegan strawberry oat bars are healthy, delicious, and kid approved. Apart from being healthy, I love that these bars are easy to make and Miss E loves that they don’t fall apart in her lunch box.
This vegan strawberry oat bars are not just for school lunches. I pack them in my handbag so that I always have something when hunger sets in.
I hope you enjoy these vegan strawberry oat bars as much as our family does.