In my last post, I told you about the value of including superfoods such as berries in your diet. These superfoods contain fiber and are ideal in helping you manage your weight and fight against chronic diseases. Today, I was fortunate to come across this recipe from Dietitian Mom for blueberry pumpkin energy bars. I tried it and it’s absolutely delicious.
These nutritious plant-powered snack bars are vegan, egg-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free and gluten-free (if certified gluten-free oats are used). You can use them whenever you have a snack craving or keep them on hand as an after-school snack for the kids, when you are on the road or when you need a bite of something that’s filling but healthy. These healthy treats can also be frozen to be used at a later time.
Here are some of the nutrients your body gets when you eat these delicious bars:
Raisins – are dried grapes which contain fiber, vitamins and minerals. They are also high in sugar and calories, therefore should be eaten in moderation. Raisins can aid digestion, keep your bones strong and boost your iron levels.
Blueberries – low in calories, but rich in Vitamins and antioxidants that protect your body from free radicals that damage your cells and lead to aging and cancer. They may also help lower blood pressure and prevent heart disease.
Flaxseeds – rich in Omega 3 fats, high-quality protein, fiber, and lignans which may help to fight cancer. They may also help lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
Rolled oats – rich in fiber, important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, oats help lower blood sugar, cholesterol, and can aid in weight management.
Prep time – 10 mins Cook time – 15 mins
Quick Blueberry Pumpkin Energy Snack Bars
- 1 cup raisins [115 grams dry weight]
- 100 ml unsweetened apple sauce [100 grams]
- 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
- 1 ½ cups quick cooking oats [175 grams] (or rolled old fashioned oats)
- 1/3 cup frozen blueberries [42 grams] (I used fresh)
- ¼ cup roasted pumpkin seeds [33 grams] (see alternative add-ins in Recipe Notes)
- Preheat oven to 400 F or 200 C. Line an 9 inch x 13 inch glass bakeware with a large piece of parchment paper (enough to have a two inch over hang on each of two opposite sides).
- Soak the raisins in hot water for 5 minutes or until the raisins are plump and soft (make sure the hot water covers the top of the raisins). Then drain the raisins of excess water before placing them in the food processor bowl. You may also use a blender.
- Using the food processor, blend together the raisins, unsweetened applesauce and maple syrup until a smooth texture is obtained.
- Next, add in the oats and ground flaxseed and pulse again a few times until well combined within the food processor bowl. The oats should be blended down to a finer texture, but the whole mixture does not need to be completely smooth.
- Add in the frozen (or fresh blueberries) and pulse very briefly 1-2 times to chop up the blueberries into large chunks.
- Within the food processor bowl (taking out the blades first), add in the measured amount of pumpkin seeds and then use a spoon to combine the pumpkin seeds into the batter mixture. The batter may look slightly wet at this point, but that is fine. Alternatively, transfer the batter mixture into a separate bowl first, before mixing in the roasted pumpkin seeds.
- Transfer this final mixture into the prepared glass bakeware dish and use a rubber spatula to press and smooth the surface to create a layer of approximately 1/2 inch even thickness. Alternatively, you can place a second piece of parchment paper on top and use your hand to firmly press down on the surface of the batter mix to flatten it. (The batter will likely not spread to cover the entire bottom of the bakeware dish. That is fine.)
- Bake the dish uncovered in the oven on the middle rack for 15 – 20 minutes (if you are using fresh blueberries, check the dish at the 15 minute mark, as the bars may be done already) until the surface of the snack bar layer has turned slightly golden and the bar layer looks baked through.
- Remove the dish from the oven, then take out the flat snack bar layer from the glassware (using the overhang sides of the parchment paper) to lay the snack bar and parchment paper onto a cookie cooling rack. Let the dish cool uncovered for 5-10 minutes before cutting (the snack bar layer will harden as it cools).
Since much of what I post is for the benefit of type 2 diabetics, I substituted honey for the maple syrup because of its high sugar content. Also, if you don’t like pumpkin seeds you may substitute with sunflower seeds. If you love nuts, you can add 1/4 chopped walnuts or pecans. Enjoy!