Improve Your Kid’s Focus with These Yummy, Easy Brain-Booster Bars
Every kid loves a sweet treat. But too much sugar may take its toll on your child’s memory and cognitive skills (not to mention teeth). Instead of handing your kid empty calories, make these yummy homemade protein-granola bars. Not only do they give your child energy to play — and physical exercise is key to optimal mental health — but they also boast brain-boosting benefits from almost every ingredient!
Oats are a high-fiber whole grain that act as a slow and steady source of fuel to the brain.
Nuts and seeds pack a protein punch that aids concentration, plus omega-3 fatty acids to protect neurons from damage and encourage production of new brain cells. Best brain-booster bets: walnuts and pumpkin seeds
Berries and dark chocolate provide antioxidants to enhance brain function. Best brain-booster bets: chocolate containing 60% or higher cocoa (look for dark, not semisweet, chocolate chips, or buy bars and chop by hand to make your own chips) and dried blueberries
Even better, this recipe’s so simple, it’s an ideal snack for you and your kid to make together. Not only can you let your child customize the ingredients to include their favorites (and/or whatever you have on hand), you can also let them measure and mix. The measurements in this recipe are forgiving, so it’s pretty much impossible to mess up. And bonus: Your kid builds self-confidence and independence from making something so good almost completely on their own!
Makes 32 half-bars
- 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1 cup seeds (sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, poppy, chia or flax seeds, or any combination thereof)
- 2 cups coarsely chopped nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans, hazelnuts,cashews, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts or any combination thereof)
- 1 ½ cups dried fruit (dried blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, cherries, raisins and/or date pieces are great as is; you can also use chopped dried apricots or other dried fruit)
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips
- 2 cups nut butter (peanut butter, coconut and peanut spread and/or roasted almond butter), sunflower seed butter, tahini or any combination thereof
- 1 cup honey (raw and unfiltered, if possible) or maple syrup (the darker, the better)
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon or vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Line a 9×13-inch pan with parchment paper.
- Mix oats, coconut, seeds, nuts, dried fruit and chocolate chips in a large mixing bowl.
- In a large saucepan, mix nut butter with honey, cinnamon and salt over medium heat until smooth.
- Pour the dry ingredients into the nut butter mixture and stir until well combined.
- Press the mixture firmly into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Carefully lift the parchment paper out of the pan and onto a cutting board, then cut into 32 pieces to make half-bars.
- Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Freeze extras for up to 3 months.
While you and your kid whip these up, put on Q’s Pop Playlist — including songs that help build social and emotional skills — available on our free Q Wunder app! Download it now: