Meghan has completely fallen in love with Larabars. 95% of the time when I tell her it is time for snack, she replies with, “Larabar, please, Mommy.” She’s got the manners down, and I’m actually pleased with her snack choice. They are great whole food snack bars made with basically just nuts and fruit–no preservatives or additives. The problem? Larabars cost $1.29 each. That is when I have time to go to Trader Joe’s. If I don’t have time to make the 20 minute drive and would rather just go to the grocery store that I could walk to (if I really wanted to), they cost $1.79 each.
One day I decided to do my wallet a favor and give making homemade Larabars a whirl. Meghan’s favorite flavor is their peanut butter cookie bar. (There are admittedly a lot of flavors we haven’t tried yet) The ingredient list on the peanut butter cookie bar? Dates, peanuts, salt. How hard can it be, right? Well, it wasn’t hard at all and the bars turned out beautifully. I actually like the homemade version even better and Meghan enjoys the homemade ones just as much as the store bought. These do taste amazingly like peanut butter cookies. But without all the bad stuff! Here’s what I came up with in my first attempt at homemade Larabars:Print
Unless, of course, you love gooey, melty-type bars, in which case you should go ahead and dig in. I individually wrap mine with plastic wrap so they are easy to grab for on-the-go snacks and store them in the fridge.
The Magic Bullet works for smaller batches like this, but if you double the recipe I would suggest either a larger blender or the food processor. This is seriously the easiest homemade snack bar you could ever make. I can’t imagine a much easier recipe. I am going to be experimenting with new flavors, so be on the lookout for those.
A Word About Peanuts
I have heard from my mom friends who have kids in school already that peanuts are banned in many schools. Not only can kids not bring them as a snack to share because so many kids are allergic, but some schools even ban students from bringing peanut-based products in their own lunch! This makes me want to cry. I love peanuts, peanut butter, and just about anything that includes their amazing flavor. As a mom who cooks a lot of vegetarian and vegan meals, I rely on nuts for protein and fat in my meals. I remember when I took Meghan to her 12 month well visit, I asked her doctor about when I could introduce peanuts. She told me not until she is two. Two?! I had to wait another whole year?! I respect Meghan’s doctor, but also know that many doctors are limited in their nutritional knowledge. (My friend’s daughter’s doctor told her to feed her milk shakes every night to help her gain weight. Hello?!!) So I decided to look into this issue deeper. Through my research I decided that it was safe to give Meghan peanut butter starting at age 1. Neither Tim or I have any food allergies or sensitivities and Meghan hadn’t had any sensitivities to any of the foods introduced to her thus far. I was so happy when she had no problem with the peanut butter (and loved it-no surprise there) and I have slowly introduced other nuts to her throughout her 2nd year. She’s now had peanuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts, and pine nuts with no problems. I’m grateful we’re able to include nuts in her diet and feel sorry for mamas who have to avoid such nutrient-dense, tasty foods for their little ones!
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nor do I have any formal medical training. Please take my experiences with a grain of salt and not as advice for when you should introduce nuts to your little one. 🙂