Save money and eat more healthfully. Have you checked your food labels lately? As a specialist in treating food sensitivities and a mother of two young energetic boys, I look often. A fruit and/or nut bar should have very few ingredients-fruit and nuts. Artificial preservatives, artificial colors and artificial flavors are not only unnecessary, but they can cause reactions in some people, including headache, gastrointestinal disturbances and attention/behavioral problems. I have begun to suspect that one of my boys reacts to artificial food additives and have been looking for ways to provide portable snacks for lunches, sports games and other outings with minimal ingredients. My nutrition clients will also benefit from these ideas. I found some other recipes out there, but thought I would experiment in my kitchen to see what I can come up with.
The first bar I tried is a date, sunflower seed and cashew bar. I purchased the dates, cashews and sunflower seeds at Trader Joe’s. Dates need to be pitted, but don’t worry, it is quick and easy.
1 lb. dates, pitted
2 c. raw or roasted unsalted cashews
1 c. raw unsalted sunflower seeds
2 T cocoa powder (optional)
That’s it. No added ingredients, no preservatives.
To prepare, you can chop the dates or just mash them. I used a potato masher to mash all the ingredients together. You can leave the cashews whole, or pre-chop them depending on your taste. Mix ingredients well. Place parchment paper on the bottom of a shallow pan, press firmly with another sheet of parchment, or with a spatula. Or more simply, you can use your fingers.
Once pressed, remove parchment and bars, cut into bars and you are done.
Wrap each bar in parchment. Enjoy.