Healthy Homemade Granola Bars

Cinamon Raison Cranberry Granola Bars

Cinamon Raison Cranberry Granola Bars

 

Jackson is 5 weeks old now and I’m almost used to being sleep deprived!  Thank god for my husband, I’m going to miss him so much when he goes underway…which is coming up pretty soon.  Although I have yet to venture into a store with my two munchkins alone (Fred Meyer doesn’t count because they have one hour day care lol) there are certain things that I’m getting really good at, like multi tasking!

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Bath time AND bed time? I got this!!

I’m not really sure what I would do without baby wearing at this point.  I’m actually typing this up while my LO is sound asleep on my chest in my Beco Gemini LOL.  One thing that is really hard though, is dealing with my ravenous hunger.  I feel like a bottomless pit.  (Breastfeeding will do that to a woman.)   At night, when my little guy wakes up at 4 am and won’t go  back to bed, I have a choice…either go downstairs and make myself food (and risk stimulating Jackson to the point of no return and NEVER GETTING BACK TO SLEEP AGAIN) or stocking my bedside table with easy snacks.   I chose the latter.

So today I decided to cook up some really healthy and filling granola bars.  You’ll never buy store bought again when you see how easy it is to make these guys, and you can totally customize them, adding any nuts and dried fruits you want.  Plus, they are totally kid friendly.  Not to mention, homemade are much healthier then store bought, which are loaded with sugars and preservatives.

Oh! And to any other breastfeeding mama’s out there, oats and almonds are great for milk production.  Not that you needed another reason to make these easy treats!

So the first recipe is my Dark Chocolate Cherry Granola, and then just for fun I whipped up Cinnamon Raisin Cranberry Granola bars.  Because you can never have too many  healthy snacks.  They are egg free, dairy free, and can be gluten free if you use gluten free oats.

Chocolate Cherry Granola bar

Chocolate Cherry Granola Bar

I sweetened these with farmer’s market honey and organic molasses.   The molasses add magnesium and potassium while giving it a nice rich dark flavor that lends itself nicely to the dark chocolate.  Plus its filled with flax seeds, pepitas, and slivered almonds giving you healthy proteins, and omega 3’s for lasting energy.  Coconut oil is packed with lauric acid, which protects the immune system and is great for nursing infants.   If you’ve followed along with my older blog posts, you know that I’m not big on using a lot of oils in my cooking, even healthy coconut oil, but when nursing, a mother needs all the healthy fats she can get.  Coconut oil is one of the best oils there is for you, plus in these bars it gives an incredible coconuty flavor.    If you would like to skip it though, you can substitute applesauce.

Dark Chocolate Cherry Granola Bars

  • 2 Cups gluten free rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup organic honey
  • 1/4 cup organic molasses
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup  almond flour
  • 2 tbs flax seeds
  • 1/3 cup pepitas
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup raw slivered almonds
  • 1/3 cup almond butter
  • pinch of salt

Pre heat an oven to 350 degrees, and oil a baking pan.  8×8 is a good size.  Mix all the ingredients in a bowl (I did this by hand) and then lay it all into the oiled pan, pressing it in flat making sure its even all around.  Cook for 20 minutes and then let it cool for at least 2 hours.

Cinamon Raisin Cranberry Granola bar

These next bars have way fewer ingredients, but I was on a role with the first batch and I already had the oven hot, so I figured I’d make another flavor.  Why not, right?  They freeze well and they keep for a long time (at least 2 weeks) so it never hurts to make extra.  I skipped the oil this time and went straight for the applesauce, mostly for the flavor.

Cinnamon Raisin Cranberry Granola Bars

  • 3 Cups rolled oats (I didn’t used gluten free for this recipe, but feel free to do so, it won’t change the flavor or the measurements)
  • 1/3 cup almond flour
  • 4 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs flax seed
  • 1/2 cup organic raisins
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup organic honey
  • pinch of salt

 

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Nutrition Through the Ages Part 1: Infants to 2 years

During our lifetime, our nutritional needs change.   Of course one things stays constant, there is no need for processed foods, which contain GMO’s, white flours, and sugars, additives and artificial sweetners.  One thing that we need to keep in mind is that baby formula’s and baby cereal contain GMO’s, and currently there is a bill in the works to prevent this, but as of right now, it is not in effect.  Baby cereals as well are what I classify as processed food.  There is no reason, nutritonally speaking, to give your child cereal over a whole food.  Infant vitamins are a wonderful way to supplement any nutritional deficit.

This is going to be a 6 part post, starting with Birth, and ending with older adults.  I will cover menopause and breastfeeding as well.

10 days after my son was born

10 days after my son was born with his Tita

Birth to Three Months:

Breast-feed if at all possible: Breast milk is the ideal food for babies and contains maternal antibodies that help the baby to develop a resistance to infections during the early months of life.
Supplements are important but if the mother has a nutritious diet and supplement regime, the baby will require nothing extra during this time.  You can also use boiled, cool water and diluted, fresh apple juice (not tinned) if
the child can tolerate it.  If colic is a problem, try drinking dill water, fennel water, and chamomile tea.  These are all excellent remedies for colic and the active constituents will pass  through to the baby in the milk. To make use of dill or fennel seed tea, use 1-T to 1-cup of water, let the seeds steep for 10-20 minutes, and then strain carefully.
If the mother cannot breast-feed, use a balanced formula. Do not use cow’s milk, which can cause gastrointestinal bleeding in infants, increase chances of a  milk protein allergy, cause kidney issues and affect fluid balance, and does not provide necessary nutrients, such as iron, vitamin C and E, and essential fatty acids. Goat’s milk is preferable to cow’s milk, as babies are less likely to develop an allergy to goat’s milk and it is easier to digest.  However, it still has nutritional deficiencies and needs to be supplemented with vitamins A, D, C, iron, and folic acid. (Speak to your pediatrician, as supplements must be used cautiously with infants.)

baby josh1

Five to Six Months:

At this age, the child needs extra vitamin C, A, D, iron, and B12 (particularly if the mother is vegetarian). Introduce organic cereal, then mashed vegetables one at a time. Ripe mashed avocado is excellent. If cooking, do so lightly so as not to destroy nutrients. Concentrate on whole, unprocessed fresh, organic foods. Avoid feeding the child tinned or processed baby foods, or foods that are sweet and sugary. Even organic jarred baby foods have chemicals used to seal the lids. If you can manage it, prepare your own baby food from organic fruits, vegetables, and cereals. It is often preferable to introduce a range of vegetables before moving to sweet fruits, as biologically we all prefer sweets so you may find baby prefers applesauce to beans. An excellent book for all parents is Super Baby Foods by Ruth Yaron.
Vitamin supplements may be sprinkled or mashed into foods, particularly if the mother is no longer breastfeeding.  Daily B12 requirements are small, but vital. Use supplements designed for infants to ensure accurate dosage.
0-6 months 0.4*
7-12 months 0.5*
1-3 years 0.9
4-8 years 1.2
Note: This table presents either Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) or
Adequate Intakes (AIs) followed by an asterisk (*)47.

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Eight Months:

By this stage, the child can move on to mashed root vegetables, ground seeds, millet, and fruit. Try ground sunflower, pumpkin, sesame seeds, and almonds.  These can be ground or prepared as nut or seed milk drinks. Soak the seeds in water overnight and liquefy the following morning. You may need to strain the liquid for a young baby, but older babies can drink it as is. Add banana, cinnamon, or dates for added flavor and nourishment. Note that raw honey should not be used as some raw honey can be contaminated with botulism.  Suitable grains include brown rice, millet, oatmeal, barley, or buckwheat, steamed or prepared in a casserole, then pureed or mashed thoroughly.  Vegetables such as carrots, pumpkins, yams, celery, potatoes, and all green vegetables can be steamed and mashed.

baby4

Twelve to Fifteen Months:

At this stage, heavier starches and more protein foods can be added, try freerange eggs, seeds, tofu, sprouts, nuts, and grains. Avoid wheat and cow’s milk if the child develops mucus and coughs.

baby6

Two Years and Up:

By two years old, a child can eat a full range of whole foods with the rest of the family (except choking hazards). Introduce supplements if you have not already done so, such as kelp granules, brewer’s yeast, and lecithin granules. Avoid processed food, sweets, ice cream, and candy as much as possible.

**All of these facts were taken directly out of my school e-book from ACHS, however, as you can see from my pictures, I have first hand experience in raising a child and I would not do anything differently then what my school has taught me.  I breastfed my son until he was 6 months old.  Looking back, I wish I had breastfed longer.  My next child will be fed using the information I have gained during my schooling.   Nutrition during these developing years is so important, and if I had to pick a time in life to eat organic whole foods, this is the stage I deem it to be most important.