After packing approximately 1000 school lunch boxes (it hurts to write that, it really does), it’s fair to say I’ve got lunch box packing down to a fine art. My formula is fruit, a dairy or other protein something, a sambo/ wrap / quichey / sushi something and a healthy bit of fun.
Here’s the recipe for one of our favourite healthy bits of fun! These bars are just caramelly enough for the kids to forget all about the oh-so-good grainy bits.
Chia seed muesli bars
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup desicated coconut
1/2 cup white chia seeds
1/2 cup sunflower kernels
1/2 cup pepitas
1 1/2 cups puffed brown rice
1 cup sultanas
1/3 cup golden syrup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence
Grease and line a baking tray (16cm x 28cm) with baking paper, leaving extra paper over at each end of the tray.
In a heavy frying pan, toast the oats, coconut, chia seeds, sunflower kernels and pepitas, stir continuously until the coconut turns golden. Transfer to large bowl and set aside to cool.
Once cooled, add the sultanas and puffed brown rice.
Cook butter, golden syrup, vanilla essence and brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring continuously until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer, without stirring, for around 6 minutes. Drop a little of the mixture into a glass of really cold water and if it forms a soft little ball, it’s ready. Remove immediately from the heat and add to the dry ingredients. Stir and stir until all of the dry ingredients are thoroughly coated.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking tray. Use a large metal spoon to press the mixture down firmly. Cover the ingredients with the flaps of baking paper and press down further with the metal spoon. You want to make sure it’s packed right in there!
Add the second baking tray to the top and press down firmly. Keep the trays together (the top tray is like the lid!) and pop into the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Take out of the fridge, remove top tray, pull out the muesli slice from the bottom tray using the baking paper and put onto a cutting board. Unwrap, cut into small slices (you’ll know what size you need depending on your children, I go for fairly small and give them two! The illusion of ‘getting more’ is pure Mum magic).
The muesli bars will keep in a baking paper-lined, airtight container for a week. Or wrap each slice in al foil, pop into a plastic ziplock bag and into the freezer for around 3 months. Take out individual bars as you need them. That’s what I do!
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- You can substitute good old rice bubbles if you can’t find puffed brown rice at the health food store.
- I bought my white chia seeds at my local supermarket. Chia seeds are a fabulous source of Omega-3, vitamin B12, potassium, zinc and iron, but you can substitute sesame seeds if you can’t find any white or black chia seeds.
What’s a favourite lunchbox treat at your place?