A number of years ago, in what I call a previous life, I was a primary school teacher in New South Wales. I taught children from around the ages of five to twelve for about 15 years. During this time I saw many changes in what was allowed and what wasn’t allowed in school lunch boxes and school canteens. Many (if not all) schools are now nut free zones. Because of the increase in life-threatening allergies schools have had to take the serious measure of banning nuts at schools. Some schools have guidelines encouraging parents not to pack nuts in school lunch boxes and some have taken the complete action of banning them.
I must say that, luckily, neither of my children have any allergies and so I didn’t have to be careful at home with the foods that were around.
But I know some friends who are not as fortunate and who have to be extremely careful not only with the foods they prepare for their children but also for the foods that they buy pre-packaged for their children.
It is always safer to prepare food at home when there are people with allergies because you can control exactly what ingredients go into the food.
I have been asked by Bec and Lou from Affordable Organics to come up with a recipe that ticks a few boxes for busy families.
And here it is. A nut free muesli bar.
Is it nut free? Yes.
Is it easy to make? Yes, one bowl, less than 15 minutes to get it into the oven and 15 minutes cook time.
Does it last? Yes, wrap the cooled bar in foil and store in the freezer. Take it out, pop it into the lunch box and it will be ready to eat when your child is.
Is it healthy? Yes, oats, spelt flour, cranberries, coconut.
Will kids love it? I’ve tested it with a number of kids (big and small) and they do, so I’m going to say yes to that one.
One thing I really love with this recipe is it can be changed so easily. Don’t like cranberries, use sultanas instead. Want a topping, drizzle some chocolate on top.
I’ve played around with this recipe to get the sweetness just right, but everyone’s taste buds are different. I like it without the sugar, but I had a few friends who loved it with ⅔ cup sugar. Start with the basic recipe and adjust it to suit your tastes.
If you want a softer muesli bar, 12 mins in the oven should be enough. If you want a crunchier muesli bar, leave it in the oven for up to 20 mins. The muesli bars are soft when they are removed from the oven and get crunchier as they cool.