Need some new ideas for after school snacks? These homemade granola bars will get two thumbs up from the kids for taste, and they’re full of healthy, protein-rich ingredients with just enough chocolate to sweeten the deal. We’re back into the swing of school these days, and it’s been busy! Because we’re moving later this month (more on that later), we decided to start Little Man at his new school from the beginning of the school year. It just didn’t make sense to us for him to move schools and teachers after just a month–too much change for a six-year-old.
So for the past two weeks, I’ve been driving 15 minutes each way, and let me tell you…I’m super excited to live closer to the school! And this week little brother started attending the elementary school’s preschool program twice a week, so I’m spending even more time driving. Yikes.
I told the boys we need to get some audio books to listen to during all the driving we’re doing. Any recommendations out there???
Anywho, along with our back-to-school schedule has also come the back-to-school afternoon munchies. Little Man has always been a big eater, and he is always super
ornery hungry when he gets out of school.
In the name of combating my hangry six-year-old, I’ve been experimenting with some new snack ideas. We have some great tried-and-true favorites (try out these, these, and these), but I always like to add variety.
Enter: Homemade (and healthified) granola bars!!!These granola bars started out as an attempt to create a healthier version of Reese’s peanut butter bars. But in the end it turns out that if you take out the sugary ingredients, it doesn’t really taste like a peanut butter cup…go figure. It DOES, however, taste like a delicious granola bar. Hooray for happy accidents!
These granola bars are a great, no-fuss recipe. They come together in five minutes (plus chilling time), and they are full of good-for-you ingredients. Whole grain oats, omega-3 superfood flax seed, protein-rich peanut butter, and more. To add a touch of sweetness, I lightly drizzled the top with melted chocolate chips. It only takes about 1/4 cup for the whole pan, so each bar isn’t sugar over-loaded.
Homemade Peanut Butter Chocolate Granola Bars
Note: If you don’t have flax seed, you can replace it with adding extra oats. However, you really ought to get some flax seed. It’s a great healthy ingredient that you can find pretty easily in the bulk bin section of the grocery/health food store (I get mine at Sprouts) or pre-packaged by the specialty flours (I’ve used Bob’s Red Mill brand in the past).
I replace 1/4 cup of flour with flax seed in most pancake and waffle recipes…and muffins, come to think of it. You can even mix it with water to make an egg replacement, which saved my bacon a couple of weeks ago when I promised Little Man waffles without checking that I had all the ingredients first.
- 1/3 cup peanut butter
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cups quick oats
- 1/2 cup crispy rice cereal
- 2 Tablespoons ground flax seed
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips (melted)
- In a saucepan over medium low, melt peanut butter, honey, brown sugar, and butter. Stir constantly so the mixture doesn’t burn (I may have learned that the hard way the first time I made these…oops!).
- Bring the mixture to a low boil and cook, still stirring constantly, for a minute or two.
- Remove from the heat and add oats, rice cereal, and flax seed. Mix until wet and dry ingredients are well combined.
- Press mixture into an 8 x 8 pan (lined with parchment paper for easy removal).
- Melt chocolate in the microwave. Start with 20 seconds, stir, and then add additional 15 second intervals until melted (stirring after each 15 seconds). Drizzle chocolate over the bars using a spoon or a piping bag with a small round tip.
- Cover and chill for 30 minutes to an hour, until cool enough that the bars hold their shape. Then cut into bars and enjoy!
- These bars are best stored in an airtight container in the fridge, but you can totally put them in school lunches and eat them at room temperature, too.
Source: Recipe inspired by Reese’s Peanut Butter Granola Bars from Mom on Time Out. I adjusted amounts and altered ingredients to reduce sugar and increase other healthy ingredients.