Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Healthy Chia Oatmeal Bars

Have you heard of chia seeds? You know, like in, "Cha-Cha-Chia!" As a kid, I always thought it would be cool to have a Chia Pet. Who knew that the seeds for the Chia Pet are actually healthy for you? Maybe a lot of people know that, but I've just learned it recently. Apparently, chia seeds are considered a superfood. Just one tablespoon of chia has 3 grams of protein, nearly 3 grams of Omega-3 fatty acids, and 6 grams of fiber. So, when I was at Trader Joe's the other week, I threw a package of chia seeds in my cart. I wasn't exactly sure how I was going to use them, but the package said they were good in yogurt, smoothies, salads, and baked goods.

With the school year on the horizon, I'm already thinking about how I want to tackle back-to-school lunches and afterschool snacks. Usually, I let the girls enjoy a cereal bar after Ella gets home from school. Today I decided to try making a healthier, homemade bar with chia seeds. The result? It's a slightly sweet and dense bar that's perfect with a glass of milk. Ella said that they were "extra, extra good!" It's very different from the cereal bars and granola bars that she's used to, and she still liked it. Ella was actually thrilled that it had some honey instead of sugar. I'm happy to have a new and healthy afterschool snack that she enjoys!

Chia Oatmeal Bars
adapted from The Laptop Lunch User's Guide

3 cups old-fashioned oats
2/3 cup white whole-wheat flour (I use Trader Joe's)
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup coconut oil, in liquid form
1 egg, beaten
3 Tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients -- oats, flour, chia seeds, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In another bowl, combine the wet ingredients -- honey, coconut oil, egg, water and vanilla. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry and mix well. Transfer the mixture to a 9 x 13 inch pan lined with parchment paper and use a spatula to flatten. Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 - 15 minutes until light brown and firm.  Cool and cut into bars.

For other healthier recipes, be sure to check out Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free. For other afterschool snack ideas, check out Ultimate Recipe Swap this Thursday at Life as MOM.

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