After school snacks are a big deal in our house. With little downtime before rushing off to soccer or baseball practice, it's essential that my kids have something that's healthy and nutritious to eat, fueling them with plenty of energy for practice and filling enough to tide them over until dinner. Yes, it's not ideal, but we often don't get to eat dinner until between 7:30-8:00pm in the evening. Whatever works, works!

So today I'm sharing some of our favorite after school snacks, including a new recipe for homemade granola bars.

How To Make Homemade Granola Bars

I love developing easy recipes to make store-bought staples from scratch, and these healthy homemade granola bars totally fit the bill. Whole grains provide plenty of fiber, while dried fruits offer lots of flavor, as well as energy.

And the best part is that, like our favorite No Bake Peanut Butter Bars, you can totally customize this recipe to your tastes by choosing your favorite dried fruit and nuts. I made this round with dried mango and pecans, but these are some of our other favorites:

dried fruits -- cherries, raisins, cranberries, apricots, blueberries, etc., coarsely chopped for larger pieces.

nuts/seeds -- peanuts, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, etc.

As I've mentioned many times before, my favorite source for budget-friendly dried fruits and nuts is the Great Value brand at Walmart. The price and quality just can't be beat!

Healthy Homemade Granola Bars

I also love that the cleanup is SO easy... Lining the baking pan with parchment paper means there's virtually no mess. You can lift the entire sheet out of the pan with the paper, and transfer it to your cutting board. Cut it right on the paper, then just fold up the crumbs inside when you're done cutting and toss. Easy-peasy!

Crunchy Homemade Granola Bars

Paired with a glass of milk, these homemade granola bars are my youngest's favorite snack. And how much are those two missing front teeth killing me right now? Stop growing right now!

Oh, and I noticed that my ultra-picky 8-year-old daughter packed one in her lunch this morning, so apparently she loves them too... Yay for small victories!

Crunchy Homemade Granola Bars

Yield: 15 bars

Crunchy Homemade Granola Bars

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried fruit (see suggestions)
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (see suggestions)
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 13x9 baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the oats, coconut, dried fruit, nuts, flour, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Gently warm the butter and coconut oil in a medium saucepan over low heat to melt. Stir in honey and vanilla extract.
  4. Pour the honey mixture over the oats mixture, and stir to combine thoroughly.
  5. Press the mixture firmly into the lined baking pan using a small piece of parchment paper.
  6. Bake at 325 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown.
  7. Cool completely, then cut into bars. Leftovers will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container.

http://unsophisticook.com/homemade-granola-bars/




Along with these delicious crunchy homemade granola bars, here are four more after school snacks that we rotate through -- all mom-tested and kid-approved!

No Bake Peanut Butter Bars

These yummy no bake peanut butter bars can be endlessly customized, so you can have a different variety every time you no bake them!

Easy Smoothie Recipe

This simple and easy strawberry smoothie recipe is not only a fantastic way to start your day, it's perfect as an afternoon snack to tide kids over till dinner!

Banana Bread

This delicious banana bread gets an additional boost of fiber from oatmeal and pecans!

Banana Smoothie Recipe

Frozen bananas make this banana smoothie recipe extra creamy and crunchy almond butter packs in some added protein!

What type of after school snacks do your kids gravitate toward?

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