KATE DEVINE’S: NO BAKE RASPBERRY & CHOCOLATE ENERGY BARS
It’s back to school time!! Hallelujah!! Of course I love my kids unconditionally but WOW, I’ll definitely be that parent skipping and smiling out of the school gates at drop off on their first day back!
I’m sure many of you have been juggling work, summer holidays, life in general and now uniform shopping, queuing in school shoe shops and spending too many hours searching for just the right pens, pencils and protractors for your cherubs new, squeaky clean pencil case! I do have to laugh though, I mean, it’s as if my kids were last at school a year ago and absolutely nothing will fit them and I must absolutely buy them everything new or else…..what?! They’ll just wear the uniform they wore 8 weeks ago which pretty much still fits them! The sheer panic when trawling the shops is funny really.
Anyway, onto food talk….more specifically, packed lunches. Trying to find healthy foods that our kids will eat when left to their own devices in the dinner hall is near impossible. They’ll always pick the tastiest options or just not eat what we put in their lunchboxes and go hungry. Neither is ideal. So, I find building their lunchboxes with them the most effective way to get them to eat well. Okay, so let’s be realistic here as well….you’ve been working late or done a million after school clubs and just about manage to feed your kid(s) dinner and get them in bed at a decent hour, then you realise you’ve got to do their lunchboxes! You’re not going to wake them and get them to join you in the slightly tedious process of creating a nutritious yet tasty lunch for the following day. BUT, you can perhaps spend some time over the weekend/evenings chatting and swapping ideas of what they might like to have for the coming weeks lunches. And if you are organised one night, before bed, ask them if they want to help you make their lunch for the next day and that you want to make sure they’re going to enjoy and want everything you put in there. Also, don’t forget they can take leftover dinners such as pasta or rice dishes, which they can eat cold or pittas, wraps or bagels. It doesn’t have to just be soggy sandwiches, crisps and chocolate bars!
One of the main things I would recommend to incorporate into their lunches is variety. Try to add different texture foods – sweet, salty, crunchy and soft, like pretzels, raisins, grapes, tortilla chips, chocolate rice crackers and nuts (be aware of allergies of course, or anyone in their class or who they sit with that may have nut allergies!). I also find putting their food into individual containers, not only keeps it fresher for longer but you can get really cute little jars and pots for their snacks that they will love as it’s something to show their friends and makes their food more interesting. I get mine from Amazon, they’ve got a huge variety that your kids can get involved in choosing with you.
I also find that when I pick mine up from school, they are STARVING – and must eat right now or else they’re going to collapse from the hunger! So dramatic. So I’ve been experimenting with healthy energy bars to take at pick up so they can survive the journey home and not collapse along the way! The most popular ones are the Raspberry and Chocolate ones, they are no cook and quick to make with minimal fuss. You can also cut into smaller portions and use in their lunchboxes to help avoid that afternoon sugar dip and keep them alert and brainy! Here’s the recipe for you to try…
No Bake Raspberry & Chocolate Energy Bars
You will need:
- Rectangular baking tin – like a bread tin (9inch x 5inch approx)
- Parchment paper
- Food processor
- 1 cup almonds
- 1 cup cashew nuts
- 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
- 2 tbsp Maca powder
- 2 tbsp cacao powder
- 1 cup dates
- 2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
- 1-3 tbsp almond milk
- 2 cups frozen raspberries
- 2 tbsp acai powder
- 1-2 tbsp rice malt syrup/maple syrup
- 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
- 3/4 cup desiccated coconut
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 1 tbsp smooth peanut butter
- 1/2 cup cashew nuts
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Optional – 1 cup dark/milk chocolate for the top – melt in a saucepan and use a folk to drizzle over the top before freezing
- Line the baking tray with parchment paper
- Place all base ingredients – accept almond milk – in the food processor and blend until fine and crumbly – if mixture is too dry and doesn’t bind when pushed down, add a small amount of almond milk until sticky
- Using the spatula push the base down firmly and place in the freezer while you prepare the top layer
- Place all topping ingredients into the food processor and blend until smooth – the mixture will still be fairly thick due to the frozen berries
- Remove the base from the freezer and place the mixture on top of the base and push down with the spatula until firm
- Add the chocolate drizzle at this point if using
- Place in the freezer for half an hour and once set, cut into bars or squares if using for lunch box snacks
- For storage – keep in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 1 month and remove a piece at a time prior to eating to allow it to thaw.
written BY KATE DEVINE
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