Easy, Healthy Granola Bar Recipe for Kids
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Make Granola Bars for a Healthy Snack
Making granola bars at home is ridiculously easy - so easy, in fact, that a four year old can do it! This healthy granola bar recipe uses prunes and apricots, but any dried fruit can be substituted to create many different flavors. By making granola bars at home, you can avoid high fructose corn syrup, artificial preservatives, artificial colors, and artificial flavors. These granola bars are packed with fiber!
Cooking with kids is important: my son was unwilling to try prunes out of the container, but once he helped to cut the prunes into pieces and mix the ingredients together, he was a convert!
Ingredients for Sunshine Granola BarsClick thumbnail to view full-size
- 2 cups whole oats
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2/3 cup honey
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup prunes, cut into pieces (about 14 small prunes)
- 1/2 cup dried apricots, cut into pieces
Suggested Substitutions: Try using dried blueberries, dried cherries, raisins, dried cranberries, or dried mango in your granola bars. Toasted coconut may be added to the dry oats before mixing, along with finely chopped nuts (almonds, pecans, and sunflower seeds are great additions)!
Roast the Oatmeal
Step 1: Roasting the Oats
- An adult should preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Have the child measure out 2 cups of whole oats and pour them into an oven-proof baking dish.
- Bake the oats in the oven for approximately 10 minutes, or until the oats are a light golden brown (only adults near the oven, please)!
- Once the oats are done, remove them from the oven and allow the oats to cool. Pour the roasted oats into a mixing bowl.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 300 °F.
Cut the Dried Fruit.Click thumbnail to view full-size
Cut the Dried Fruit (Apricots and Prunes)
Children can cut the dried fruit with a butter knife or with safety scissors. My four year old son used safety scissors to cut the apricots into small pieces. This is a wonderful way to develop fine motor skills along while cooking!
His hands became tired after a while, so he used a butter knife to cut the rest of the prunes. He is too young to cut the pieces into small enough pieces, so I had him cut the dried fruit in half, and I finished the process by cutting the halves into small pieces.
Note: use only children's safety scissors for this step. Safety scissors are often marked for the appropriate age - the scissors my son is using in these photos are plastic safety scissors rate for children ages 3-5 years. They do not have a metal cutting blade.
Make the Honey SauceClick thumbnail to view full-size
Step 2: Making the Honey Sauce
- Help the child cut 3 tablespoons of butter with a butter knife. Have the child place the butter into a small saucepan. The child can do most of the measuring for the rest of the steps in this recipe.
- Measure out 2/3 cup honey and pour into the saucepan.
- Measure 1/4 cup brown sugar and pour into the saucepan.
- Measure 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract and pour into the saucepan.
- Measure 1/4 teaspoon salt and pour into the saucepan.
An adult should then cook the mixture on a stove top until the butter melts and the mixture is brought to a boil. Stir the honey mixture constantly while cooking.
To keep my little boy entertained while I did the cooking portion of this recipe, I had him "stir" the oats and dried fruit in the mixing bowl. He greatly enjoyed stirring the fruity mixture, and stole a few bites of apricots from the bowl! Cooking with kids is a sure-fire way to get them to try new, healthy food items!
Mix the Granola Mixture and BakeClick thumbnail to view full-size
Mixing the Granola Bars
- Once the sauce has been brought to a boil, the adult should pour the hot liquid into the bowl of roasted oats/prunes/apricots. Allow the mixture to cool until it is safe to touch.
- Have the child stir the mixture until it is well combined.
- Grease an oven-proof baking dish (a 9x9" pan or 9x13" baking pan is perfect for the job). My four year old son loved spraying the olive oil spray into the baking dish!
- Pour the mixture into the baking pan and have the child pat the mixture into a uniform, flat "cake" that is about 1/2" thick.*
- Bake the granola bars for 25-30 minutes at 300°F.
- Allow the granola bars to cool for 2-3 hours.
- Have the child use a butter knife to cut the granola into bars or squares. Enjoy!
*If using a 9x13" pan, the mixture will not spread from edge to edge. Simply pat the mixture into a rectangular shape approximately 1/2"-1" thick and bake (see pictures for example).