For those of us who are constantly looking for ways to take our favorite store-bought snacks in-house with a homemade recipe, the struggle between convenience and saving money can be a tough one. But eliminating those processed snacks can be an extremely rewarding choice, and in the best-case scenario, you come out on top with a recipe that tastes even better than those individually-wrapped and boxed treats you get from the store, with a customized nutrient balance for your needs.
This week, we’re providing you a build-your-own recipe for homemade fruit and nut bars. Buying dried fruits, seeds, and nuts in bulk is a great way to cut costs, and you get to find the best mix-and-match recipe for your tastes! The options are endless. All you have to do is plug in your favorite ingredients, mix them together, put them in a pan, and let them sit until they solidify. In other words, yes, these are no-bake and nearly effortless!
What You’ll Need:
Amount: 2 cups
Mix and match if you’d like! Cashews and almonds make great bars, but you can also get creative and use some less popular but equally nutritious varieties.
- Dried fruits
Amount: 2/3 cup
Dried cranberries are great and hold up well. You can also use dried blueberries, pomegranates, cherries, or figs (or really any dried fruit you’d like!).
Amount: 1-2 handfuls for larger seeds, 1-2 tablespoons for small seeds (flax, chia, hemp, etc.)
Chia seeds pack a fabulous protein punch, but you can also throw in a few handfuls of sunflower or pumpkin seeds.
- Puffed Cereal
Amount: 2/3 cup
This makes a great filler that adds a nice crisp to the bars! We’ve also heard that puffed quinoa is delicious— we highly recommend giving the protein-rich grain a try.
- Naturally Sweet Syrup
Amount: 1/3 cup
Brown rice syrup is perfect for this recipe, but you can experiment with other types of sweeteners, like maple syrup, agave, or molasses! Just make sure it’s a syrup that will harden relatively quickly (you can Google the syrup beforehand to double check!).
Amount: 2 tablespoons
Amount: 1 teaspoon
A little bit of almond or vanilla extract thrown into the syrup increases the flavor of the bars. Play around a bit though— there’s no reason you can’t try an orange or cinnamon extract!
- Amount: Discretionary!
Unsweetened coconut flakes add so much to these bars!
You can also throw in some dried ginger, lemon/orange zest, or cacao bits for extra flair.
- How to Make:
Super simple: Line a baking pan with parchment paper. Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Combine your syrup, honey, and extract together, pour over the dry ingredients and mix, and (VERY QUICKLY, as the liquid sweeteners tend to dry fast) pour the entire mixture into the baking pan and spread flat. Wait for them to solidify, cut into your preferred bar size, and enjoy as a post-workout snack or for breakfast. You can store them in a Tupperware container with a piece of parchment paper in between each!
We love that this recipe has so much leeway, and we hope we’ve made it easy for you find a balance that works for you. These bars are packed with nutrition, especially protein, but are also healthy, delicious, easy to make, and easy to store. The customization of this snack keeps it from getting mundane— you can make a new flavor every week if you want! We would love to hear your favorite combinations after trying this out!