These vegan coconut oatmeal bars are the perfect for after school snack, on-the-go morning breakfast or snack to keep hunger at bay between lunch and dinner. Ready in 20 minutes from start to finish, these vegan coconut oatmeal bars are gluten free and allergy friendly!
During high school and college I would take Special K breakfast bars or Nature's Valley Granola Bars with me for breakfast since they were easy to pack and I could eat them between classes. I remember always being hungry after eating them. It's probably because it was no where near enough food to keep me going, but I thought I was doing my body good. You know eat less, workout more! Ha I was doing nothing but starving all day and eating all the food at night. I digress.
Now a days, I have a strict rule. Little to no added sugars (and they have to be lower glycemic sugars like maple syrup and coconut sugar) and protein is a must! I love these bars vegan coconut oatmeal bars because they are so much cheaper than anything you will buy in the grocery store, they are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein and sweetened with coconut syrup. Let's quickly go over why I love these ingredients so much and why I think these are a much better choice for your kids lunch box than anything you can buy in the store.
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Protein powder – I used About Time VE Cinnamon Spice protein powder (but you could totally use vanilla). It's a great source of protein and easy to digest. Many kids and women on diets do not get enough protein. If you are constantly hungry, add more protein in your diet, you will be surprised how full you feel ALL THE TIME!
Chia seeds – chia seeds are packed with fiber and are a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3's can help reduce inflammation in the body. The fiber in the chia seeds can help you feel full, and they are very easy on the body to digest. Don't forget they are a great substitute for eggs as well!
Coconut Nectar – instead of maple syrup or honey, I used coconut nectar. You can find it online or at your local health food store. I started using coconut sugar last year when I learned that it was a low glycemic sugar and it was also packed with vitamins and minerals. Coconut nectar is made from the sap of the coconut tree. The sap is very low glycemic (GI of only 35), is an abundant source of minerals, 17 amino acids, vitamin C, broad-spectrum B vitamins and is rich in probiotics. All good eats!
Gluten free rolled oats – oats are a great source of fiber and can help you feel full and satisfied. The oats give these bars their texture and are considered a whole grain. Rolled oats are complex carbohydrates, which means they are digested slower than other carbohydrates.
Banana – my go to natural sweetener! Bananas add natural sweetness and I replace almost all sugar in recipes with banana. Bananas are also a great way to lower the fat content of a recipe, as they can replace oil or butter in a recipe. Removing all the fat can have negative consequences on the texture, so you may not want to replace all the fat with banana. Plus fat is great for digesting nutrients!
Coconut oil – my go-to healthy fat! Why do I love coconut oil so much? Well coconut oil is a special kind of saturated fat called MCT or medium chain triglycerides. Unlike other types of fat, MCT is quickly absorbed by the body and can be used as fuel instead of having to go through the long digestion process that longer chain fatty acids have to go through. This means that MCT's are less likely to be stored in the fat cells!!
Hemp hearts – full of Omega-3 fatty acids, hemp hearts are also a great source of plant based protein. Because of their fat and protein content, hemp hearts help you feel satisfied and are a great source of fuel for the body!
Now that I have sold you on all these ingredients, I know you are just dying to make these! I'm starting a new part of my nutritional coaching and personal fitness chef business. I'm going to start doing local workshops for parents on how to make healthy snacks for busy kids. Many kids are not getting the nutrition they need and are eating much more sugar than parents are even aware of. Recipes like these coconut oatmeal bars will be among the recipes I will share as well as many tips on how to find healthy on-the-go options! If you are local and interested, leave me a note through my contact me page and we can connect!
Vegan Coconut Oatmeal Bars
- Preheat oven to 375F
- In a large bowl, mash banana and add chia seeds, stir well.
- Add protein powder, rolled oats, coconut nectar and stir well.
- Add coconut flakes, sunflower seeds and hemp hearts. Mix until completely combined.
- Place parchment paper in a bread loaf to line the bottom (making these easy to remove).
- Place the batter in the bread pan and flatten out into one even layer.
- Sprinkle with additional coconut flakes and sunflower seeds.
- Bake at 375F for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave using 30 second intervals (takes about 1 minute to 1 minute 30 seconds). Stir until smooth.
- Take the bars out of the bread pan and drizzle with melted chocolate (optional).
- Place in fridge for the chocolate to harden. Cut into 5 slices
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What about you?
- What was your favorite on-the-go breakfast bar?
- Have you ever tried coconut nectar?
- Would you want to learn more about nutrition specifically for children?