I snack a lot – in the office, in the car on the way home – basically, all the time. One of my principles is that a snack should be 4 grams of fat or less. Of course you can snack on lots of non-fat food like fruit. Grapes that have been cleaned and separated, for example, are good to eat when driving home. I’m not much on carrots and celery unless I have dip, although slices of red or orange pepper are tasty. I’ve gotten in the habit of carrying snack food with me at all times, lest I get ravenously hungry and stop for a bite to eat of some high fat goody. I often carry what I refer to as “food bars”, the chewy bars you buy in the grocery, since they pack in a purse or pocket well. There are some bars that meet the 4 gram requirement, but a lot of the tastiest bars are 8 grams or more, and since they’re not that filling, it seems like a waste of fat grams (and money) to eat them often.
So I have been making my own food bars. These snack bars, which were called “breakfast bars” when the recipe appeared in American Profile, are rather moister than store bought bars. I packed them each separately in a zip top snack-size bag, and they kept and traveled well. I also froze about half of them.
Oatmeal Coconut Snack Bars
1 cup quick oats
1 ½ cups apple juice
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ cup toasted wheat germ
¾ cup shredded sweetened coconut, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
2 cups finely grated carrots
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Combine oatmeal and apple juice in a microwave safe bowl. Cover and heat on high for 2 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes.
Lightly spoon flour into measuring cups and level with a knife. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, wheat germ, 1/2 cup of the coconut, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together brown sugar, applesauce, carrots and eggs. Fold into flour mixture. Add oatmeal mixture and stir until just blended.
Spoon into baking dish and sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup of coconut. Bake 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. This makes 18 large bars at 2 grams of fat/bar.
Note: These were good, but I wasn’t that crazy about the coconut, which I usually like. Somehow it didn’t go with the other flavors that well. I’m going to experiment with other nuts, and maybe raisins or dried cranberries. I’ll let you know how the experiments come out.