Recently, we’ve made many moms happy by providing the scientific facts backing up their ongoing claim that eating a healthy breakfast is important. We’ve also discussed some of the guidelines that make up this elusive “healthy” breakfast.
But one of the chief obstacles remain: We’re busy people, particularly in the morning. There’s not always the time it takes to make a healthy breakfast when we’re trying to get out the door.
Personally, I’m terrible at breakfast, and have had to collect many make-ahead recipes to ensure that I can start my day off right. Here is one of my favorites: Breakfast bars that are easy to make and store.
Breakfast Bar Recipe
These bars can be prepared any number of ways but the following ingredients form a good basic recipe. Here’s what you’ll need:
1 cup peanut butter, smooth
3/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3 cups oats, old fashioned
1 cup chopped walnut pieces
1/2 cup flaxseed
1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2) Combine the peanut butter and honey in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Stir until the ingredients are thoroughly combined and smooth. You will need to keep an eye on this since it can burn fairly easily.
3) Add the cinnamon and vanilla to the peanut butter/honey mixture and stir.
4) Gradually stir in the walnuts, flaxseed and oatmeal. Be especially careful when adding the oatmeal since it can quickly dry up the mixture. I recommend using a large spoon or spatula to ensure that the wet component binds to all the oats.
5) Pour the mixture into a greased 9″ x9″ baking dish and bake it for about 15 minutes until golden brown.
6) Remove from oven and let cool on rack. Then cut into 9 equal squares.
Each bar counts as a serving and constitutes a substantial breakfast. This particular recipe is on the high-end of the recommend calories of breakfast but is ideally suited for training days when your body will need more fuel:
Nutritional information per serving:
Total Fat: 28.7 g
Saturated Fat: 4.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 14.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 10.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 139.9 mg
Potassium: 561.7 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 68.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 11.2 g
Sugars: 23.6 g
Protein: 14.8 g
Notice that although this particular recipe does have some fat, it is primarily from the healthy poly- and monounsaturated fats which act as great fuel during prolonged endurance training. These fats may also contribute to a healthier cholesterol profile.
Don’t be afraid to use this basic recipe to create your own bars. For example, many people favor almond butter over the traditional peanut butter. Although almond butter is much richer in micronutrients like calcium, magnesium and vitamin E, it can be considerably more expensive than peanut butter.
You can also use almonds instead of walnuts, or another nut that you prefer. I chose walnuts for this recipe because they’re a great source of omega-3s. The flaxseeds are included for similar reasons but can also be replaced by chia seeds.
Honey can be removed and replaced with another sweetener like agave nectar. Likewise, you can use raisins or any other dried fruit you like to add sweetness and flavor to these bars. You may have to adjust the liquid component of the recipe if you load it full of fruits and nuts to make sure that everything gets an even coating to hold it together.
If you’re trying to bulk-up or maintain a high protein diet, you can also toss in some of your favorite protein powder.
Have you tried these bars or do you make something similar? Please share your tips with us in the comments.