It’s back to school time, so that means packing school lunches again. Which wouldn’t be a bother if it didn’t have to happen so…well, often. It’s easy to resort to packaged products to fill lunch boxes, but we are doing our kids’ health a big favour if we can avoid them as much as possible.
Take packaged muesli bars, for example. We can be lulled into thinking that they are a healthy option, but in reality they are seriously high in sugar and often filled with less than healthy fats. Some even contain more energy in the form of sugar and fat than a Mars Bar (!), according to this study.
I find that, with just a little bit of planning, I can give my lot a healthier alternative, whilst letting them feel like they are still having something a bit special. I’ve made this with some of the cherries that I dried recently, but if you have trouble getting your hands on cherries, you could easily substitute another dried fruit, such as apricots or cranberries.
This slice will keep for about a week in an airtight container, so should help to see you through a few days at least.
100g organic coconut or dairy butter, plus extra for greasing
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup wholemeal flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
100g dried cherries, chopped
100g good quality dark chocolate, chopped
50g shredded coconut
50g sunflower seeds
Preheat oven to 180°C. Prepare a 20cm x 30cm lamington tin by greasing with the extra coconut butter. Line the tin with baking paper, folding the corners to fit neatly.
Place coconut butter and sugar into a bowl and cream together with the wooden spoon until it becomes smooth and slightly pale.
Add the vanilla and stir through. Then mix in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Fold in the flour, oats and baking powder and mix well. Stir through the remaining ingredients.
Spread into the tin, using the back of the spoon to push into the corners.
Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely in the tin before cutting into 16 bars.