Keep that oven off and whip up a healthy snack bar for you family with this recipe of chocolate chip no bake oatmeal date nut bars.
It is been hot and humid in San Diego these past few weeks. And we are just not used to this kind of weather. Since California has been in a dangerous drought, and there are fires all over the state, we are all a bit nervous this time of the year.
For San Diego, the weather turns hot late in the summer and lasts into fall. So as the kids are getting ready to get back to school, the weather is perfect for pool parties and beach days.
Many homes in SoCal do not have air conditioning since we are spoiled with mild temperatures all year long. Luckily, we do have a/c. But it still doesn’t mean I’m ready to sweat it out in the kitchen if I don’t have to. There has been a lot of grilling and outdoor cooking happening over here this summer.
These easy-peasy No Bake Oatmeal Date Nut Bars are perfect for these hot days, or frankly any days you don’t feel like working too hard or turning on the oven. And if you want to get school ready for a quick after-school snack, morning breakfast bar or a sweet and healthy treat for the lunchbox then these are the bars for you!
Are dates good for you?
As a parent, we are hypersensitive when it comes to giving sugar laden foods to our kids. Desserts are an obvious source of sugar that we can easily limit and control. But what about foods that have sugar hiding inside of them? It’s a never-ending battle that requires a lot of due diligence and label reading.
So when I can, I make what I can from scratch. And this means finding other ways to sweeten snacks without using sugar. Sometimes I use honey and today I am using dates. Aren’t dates full of sugar? Yes, dates are high in natural sugars, but they also are full of plenty of other nutrients too.
Dates have been long adored in middle eastern cuisine. It is common to eat a date with a cup of hot tea. Dates are high in fiber, antioxidant rich polyphenols, rich in potassium and also a great source for vitamin B-6 and iron.
For those of you managing your blood sugar levels still need to eat dates in moderation. But dates are still a great way to naturally sweeten baked goods, bars or smoothies and get the added health benefits that dates offer.
How to use dates in this date nut bar
If you have never eaten dates or cared for them straight up, you might be apprehensive in trying them or let alone introduce them to your finicky kids. So to sweeten the date nut bars without chewing chunks of dates, is to purée them.
Places the dates in a food processor with a sharp blend and blend until you have a nice ball formed. Once puréed and in a mushy ball, you can mix up the rest of the ingredients to make these no bake date nut bars, or use it in any other recipe you want sweetened by dates.
The base ingredients for date nut bars
Sweet dates are what makes these bars naturally sweet with just a little bit of honey added. The dates get mashed up in the food processor and then mixed with honey, peanut butter, oatmeal, chocolate chips and other high energy fixin’s.
Mix everything until fully combined as this will make up the base of the oatmeal date bar.
Customize your date nut bars
It’s the additional ingredients you add that you can customize to your personal preference. To keep the sugar low, I chose to use dark chocolate chips instead of semisweet or anything sweeter. I have found that the kids don’t notice the healthy stuff if they see chocolate chips!
You can use any of your family’s favorite mixture of nuts. I chose our two favorites, pistachios and almonds but you can also use walnuts, pecans, peanuts or macadamia nuts. If you don’t want to mix in raisins, substitute with dried cranberries or chopped dried apricots.
Kid approved date nut bars
These bars are a great way to get a jump start on your day or to help you power through those sluggish, even humid, afternoons. We eat them for a quick breakfast bar when we don’t have time to cook up anything more substantial. You can wrap these bars in parchment paper and pack them in the school lunch box.
These date nut bars also make an excellent after school snack or afternoon pick-me-up. You know, that time between 3-5pm when you are running out of steam and still have a long evening ahead of you. Cut them into rectangular bars or small squares for tiny hands, either way they make a healthy and satisfying high energy snack for you and your whole family.
- 8 oz pitted dates
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
- 1 cup old-fashion oatmeal
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup almond slivers
- 1/4 cup chopped pistachios
- In a food processor with with a sharp blade, blend pitted dates until a ball is formed.
- Transfer date ball into a bowl and mix in honey and peanut butter until thoroughly combined.
- Stir in remaining ingredients until fully combined.
- Coat a loaf pan with non-stick spray and line with parchment paper. Press oatmeal mixture evenly into the prepared pan.
- Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
- Cut into even pieces and serve.
Serving Suggestions: You can also use walnuts, cashews, dried apricots and green raisins. Instead of peanut butter you can use cashew or almond butter.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 273 Total Fat: 11g Saturated Fat: 2g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 8g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 72mg Carbohydrates: 45g Fiber: 5g Sugar: 34g Protein: 6g