One of the most common things found in a lunchbox is some sort of muesli bar. They are convenient to buy and kids love them. There's a lot more choice in the stores these days but I find the ones that contain the most natural ingredients just don’t taste that good.
So! Here’s my favourite muesli bar recipe. Kids love them because they’re chewy and sweet. I love them because the sweet taste comes from all natural ingredients, Get your kids involved in making these, they’ll love it. They also freeze really well so you can make a double batch!
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup shredded or dessicated coconut
1/4 cup pepitas
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup cranberries (I like to chop them up a bit to make them go further)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, roughly chopped
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tbsp raw honey
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ripe banana, mashed
Preheat oven to 160 degrees. Line a rectangular tray (20 x 30 cm) with baking paper
Mix together all the dry ingredients – oats, coconut, pepitas, chia seeds, cinnamon, cranberries and sunflower seeds in a large bowl.
Over medium heat, combine all the wet ingredients – coconut oil, maple syrup, honey and vanilla. Stir until dissolved and well combined.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir to combine.
Add the mashed banana and mix again.
Press the mixture firmly into your prepared tin. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown. If you’re using a smaller tin, bake for an extra 5-10 minutes.
Leave in the tin to cool, then cut into bars or squares (depending on the age of your children or the style of lunch box).
If the kids are helping you, wet their hands and get them to press down on the mixture firmly. You can always use the back of a spoon to smooth it over after the kids have gone if you prefer a neater look.
The bars will last up to a week in an airtight container. They can also be frozen until needed.