Breakfast bars are a billion pound industry. There are whole sections of supermarkets dedicated to them. On top of that there are cafés, delis and snack bars offering fast ‘grab and run’ solutions to breakfast. The message is clear – we don’t have time to make breakfast anymore.
The food industry has cottoned onto this as a fast way to make a quick buck. It’s fattening their pockets but what’s it doing to our health and waistlines? An interesting study by consumers group Which? Found all but one of the 30 bars they analysed were high in sugar and more than half contained more than 30% sugar. They were also high in saturated fat with a Tracker roasted nut bar being almost a third fat.
Apart from the lack of nutrients from breakfast bars, the main problem is the impact on blood sugar levels. This isn’t a good way to start the day. Worse still is skipping breakfast altogether. You may save five minutes and be on time for work but how productive will you actually be for the rest of the day?
We’ve already written about the problem with most cereals and offered quick, healthy breakfast ideas to have at home with things like porridge, pancakes or eggs. These are the sorts of breakfasts we need to eat to ensure we’re sustained until lunch, especially for kids who can’t snack when they feel like it at school.
But we all have days where time is an issue and who doesn’t opt to press the snooze button a few extra times at the expense of a hearty breakfast?
I’ve been making these breakfast bars which work well when you know you’ve got an early start and can’t face eating before you leave the house. These protein-packed bars take no time to make, freeze well and provide a balanced start to your day.
I specifically chose the ingredients to add certain nutrients. Apricots for their iron content, seeds for the zinc and essential fats, oats which are rich in fibre and help regulate blood sugar levels and coconut oil because I love all things to do with coconuts. I even made my own quinoa flour to boost the protein and antioxidant status. It was really easy, I simply ground quinoa flakes in a food processor but you can use any wholegrain flour. This recipe is very forgiving so feel free to play around with different fruits and seeds.
These aren’t just great for breakfast, they also supply all your body’s needs after a workout and are really sustaining as an after school snack.
|25 bars||15 minutes|
In this recipe we use quinoa flour for added protein. It's so easy to make, simply place quinoa flakes in a food processor and whizz for 15 seconds to make flour. But, any wholegrain flour also works in this recipe.
- 2 cups oats
- 1 cup quinoa flour or wholegrain flour
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 4 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp almond butter
- 1 egg
- 3 tbsp honey
- 1/2 cup dried fruit
- 2 apples grated
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup pumpkinseeds optional
- Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients and stir well. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well. We find it is faster to use your hands to fully combine.
- Lay the mixture onto a lined baking tray and spread it out evenly, pressing down firmly to ensure it all sticks together. Don't worry if there is not enough to fully cover the tray, the mixture doesn't move when baking and retains it's shape.
- Bake in the oven at 150 degress celsius for 35 minutes. This lower temperature is to protect the nutrients from being damaged by the heat.
- Remove from the oven and and whilst still warm, run a sharp knife through the bars to cut to desired shapes. Allow to cool in the tray.
We hope you enjoy these breakfast bars. Let us know how you get on in the comments below or on our facebook page and don’t forget to sign up to our newsletter to receive more recipes, nutrition tips and expert advice.