Lunch Box Bars

From my Healthy Living column in Moncton’s Times & Transcript.

As the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year approaches, it is time to be proactive and to start thinking about packing school lunches again. Packing a lunch can be a pain, but it offers benefits too. If you prepare your own lunch, you can choose what to include in it.

However, regardless of what you like to eat, it’s important to keep good nutrition in mind. The Dietitians of Canada’s Healthy Lunches To Go website (http://www.dietitians.ca/HLTG/HLTG_web/content/english/health_lunches.aspx) suggests including foods from each of the four food groups (vegetables and fruit, grain products, milk and alternatives, and meat and alternatives). Dark green or orange vegetables, whole grains, milk or low fat milk alternatives, and lower fat meat or meat alternatives (e.g. beans) should be priviledged. Beverages and foods other than those that are included in the four food groups and extravagant portions should be avoided.

Of course, be viligant about the conditions your food is kept in before lunch. Be safe by keeping foods warm in a thermos and cold with ice packs and insulated lunch bags.

 

Below is a recipe for versatile lunch box bars, one of my favorite quick-fix lunch foods.

Lunch Box Bars

1 cup (250 mL) dried apricots

1 cup (250 mL) whole wheat pastry flour(a.k.a. white whole wheat flour)

1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking soda

1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt

3/4 tsp (4 mL) cinnamon

1/2 cup (125 mL) add-ins (fruit, granola, etc.)

1/4 cup (60 mL) canola oil

Preheat your oven to 375°F or 190°C.

In a small pot, cover apricots with water. Bring to a boil and then let it simmer until most of the water is absorbed. Puree until smooth using a handheld blender or food processor. Set aside.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt, and add-ins. Incorporate apricot puree and oil and press into an oiled 8″ x 8″ pan. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool, slice, and serve.

Makes 8 servings.

 

Originally published in the Times & Transcript on August 28th, 2010.

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