Date Nut And Seed Squares

How many of you pay attention to what you snack on?

I, who was  so careful  to make meals from scratch had never given much thought about our snacks. I was happy that we were eating fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds and my daughter was having healthy stuff like yogurt, bars, fruit cups and crackers with cheese. It wasn’t until I went gluten-free, I realized I was bringing  junk food in my home. There were not many gluten free choices available few years ago as there are today. I had to read each label before buying any of my packaged food for the forbidden allergy. I gradually  developed habit of reading labels for all our grocery shopping. It wasn’t easy though, as I have to scrutinize every ingredient to which I was slowly getting familiar.

 

 

I was mindlessly buying snacks, those  were laden with high amounts of salt, sugar, saturated fats and artificial sweeteners. One  good example of my daughter’s favorite snack was the wiggly, jiggly jello which was mostly made of  sugar and  artificial color and treated with hard chemicals while manufacturing.  Imagine my surprise when I found that a popular fruit filled multi granola bar, that boast of high fiber on its label actually provides no nutrition. Most of the calories were coming from high fructose corn syrup and  fruit concentrate.  The ingredients list on the back was so long and the letters so small that it nearly needed a magnifying glass to read. There were many other  processed foods that did not contribute towards general health and nutrition but could lead to health problems in later years.

I then decided, to reduce the consumption of processed foods and stop buying snacks with too many ingredients or that have words like hydrogenated oils, low, reduced or zero fat, natural (unless clearly specified), corn syrup, cane sugar, MSG, enriched flour etc etc. It was easier to decide than done because once kids are mature enough to make their own independent food decisions it becomes a challenge. I first educated myself, then my daughter and started purchasing snacks wisely. I now keep my pantry, fridge and snack boxes stocked with nutritious choices  so that my daughter herself  reaches for a healthier snack when she needs one.

 

 

I don’t buy granola bars anymore, they are not difficult to make. The recipe I am sharing is actually super easy  and are a good to go snack for the whole family. The one step that makes them  super easy is food processor and no baking. You can mix and match fruits, nuts, seeds and cereal as per your preference. I recommend using medjool dates over any other fruit in these bars because they are the main sweetening and binding ingredient. Not only that, they are sodium free and high in potassium and manganese. They have good shelf life so you don’t need to refrigerate the bars. Everything is raw and tastes really good providing you with a healthy dose of fat, fiber and protein.

Another bar that I often make with oats is from Willow Creek company which is just as delicious and nutritious as my recipe of date, nut and seed bar. You can click here to get the recipe.

 

 

DATE  NUT AND SEED SQUARES

makes about 25

Ingredients:

  • 30 medjool dates, cut into half
  •  3 cups Mesa Sunrise flakes
  • 2 cups almonds,roughly chopped( toasted)
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat honey

You need a 12 -14 cup food processor or you can do it in two batches and knead the mixture with hands after processing.

Method:

  1. Line a 10 x 16″ baking tray with aluminum foil. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl of food processor, pulse chopped almonds until they are further chopped to small bits. Some  of it will ground up almost like almond meal. That’s ok. Remove nuts in a bowl.
  3. Add the dates to the food processor and process until it turns into a gooey dough ball. Remove date ball on one side of the nuts.
  4. Next, process flakes and seeds to a coarse texture. Add the nuts and half of the dates paste, pulse 3-4 times, scraping the sides of the processor and pushing the mixture towards the blades. Add the remaining paste, Process in short pulses, add coconut oil and buckwheat honey, until  everything is mixed nicely.
  5. Dump the mixture on a prepared sheet. Press the mixture into even thickness of about 1/2″ . Cover the mixture with aluminum foil.  Level with a rolling pin to  make it more even.
  6. Refrigerate the mixture to firm up for 60 minutes.
  7. After an hour take it out and cut them with a sharp knife to whatever size you like and wrap in a sandwich paper to store in an airtight container.

 

Some of my favorite snacks that I purchase from store:

Multiseed, roasted garlic rice crackers

Sweet potato tortilla chips

Coconut almond bars

Rice with adzuki beans snack chips

Gluten Free Fudge Brownies

 

 

Linked to Allergy Free Wednesdays, Gluten Free Fridays.

 

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23 Comments

  • comment-avatar
    Blackswan February 3, 2013 (1:08 am)

    Gosh, I feel so guilty after reading your post! I’m certainly one of those mindless ones who don’t look at the labels before the pack. Lol! Home-made is definitely the best, dear! I’ve also just made some yummy healthy snacks 🙂

  • comment-avatar
    cooking varieties February 3, 2013 (5:22 am)

    hi balvinder . this is so innovative, authentic and original= from the look and the ingredients, i can tell it’s a very delicious snack./ very healthy too. simply love the flax seeds , they are good for flat belly. bookmarked with thanks. have a nice day.

  • comment-avatar
    Choc Chip Uru February 3, 2013 (11:24 am)

    We buy these in large packs from India all the time but your homemade version looks so much better 🙂
    A delicious healthy treat!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    • comment-avatar
      Balvinder February 3, 2013 (12:41 pm)

      Are you mistaking these bars for something else?

  • comment-avatar
    Liz February 3, 2013 (2:53 pm)

    These sound delish!!!! Such a healthy treat to satisfy my sweet tooth 🙂

  • comment-avatar
    Nava Krishnan February 3, 2013 (9:03 pm)

    Very very nice. I am not over the top healthy but I love anything home made and prepared. I can eat dates just like that but when combined into the rest, it worth the try.

  • comment-avatar
    Marina@Picnic at Marina February 4, 2013 (8:13 am)

    Balvinder, I do watch what I snack on. This is such a cool recipe, I need to make some. 🙂

  • comment-avatar
    Asmita February 4, 2013 (9:14 am)

    What a great snack. Healthy and delicious!

  • comment-avatar
    Soni February 5, 2013 (4:28 am)

    I love these no baked bars! I also make something similar but roll them as balls and I can imagine how delicious yours must taste!

    • comment-avatar
      Balvinder February 7, 2013 (8:33 am)

      Yes, I remember you made something with medjool dates.

  • comment-avatar
    Kitchen Belleicious February 5, 2013 (5:15 am)

    now these are super cool! They look delicious and so crispy and crunchy- i love that in a cracker:)

  • comment-avatar
    Angie@Angie's Recipes February 5, 2013 (8:25 am)

    They are terrific and so much healthier than the store bought one.

  • comment-avatar
    yummychunklet February 5, 2013 (10:30 am)

    Tasty looking snacks and great plating presentation!

  • comment-avatar
    Jennifer Eloff February 5, 2013 (3:07 pm)

    Sounds like a tasty snack indeed. I just wasn’t sure what those flakes are.

    • comment-avatar
      Balvinder February 7, 2013 (7:43 am)

      Mesa flakes are cereal made from quinoa, flax amaranth and other things. If you click on the link it will show the bag.

  • comment-avatar
    Juliana February 5, 2013 (9:32 pm)

    These bars sound and look delicious, great for anytime of the day…like the date in it…they sure add lots of flavor and sweetness.
    Have a great week Balvinder!

  • comment-avatar
    Liz February 6, 2013 (6:57 pm)

    For the filled strawberries, they will taste best on the day they are made (but we still eat the leftovers!). I’d make the mascarpone cream ahead of time and have it in a ziploc bag in the fridge. Then the day you want to eat the berries, all you have to do is cut and fill. Hope you enjoy…they are really tasty!!!

    • comment-avatar
      Balvinder February 7, 2013 (7:28 am)

      I love mascarpone and that was just a delicious treat to fill it in strawberries. Thanks Liz.

  • comment-avatar
    anne February 7, 2013 (5:12 am)

    Don’t make me feel guilty , Bal ! 😀 I love Quaker and Nature Valley granola bars but they’re too sweet yet I can’t stop eating them 😛 These no-bake bars look tasty and healthy as well ! I love that there’s no sugar added .

    • comment-avatar
      Balvinder February 7, 2013 (7:42 am)

      Anne, I don’t want you to feel guilty. When I go to someone’s house I eat many things that I do not want to, its just about making some good choices.
      Nature Valley’s granola bars are good, I don’t buy them but I use other products like the mesa sunrise flakes used in these bars is from Nature Valley. There is sugar in these bars but it is coming with other essential nutrients, and you are not eating only calories.

  • comment-avatar
    Tina (PinayInTexas) February 7, 2013 (8:37 am)

    Oh Balvinder, with all the healthy food you prepare, your family is even luckier to have you!
    I’ll definitely make this tasty and healthy snack for my kids!

  • comment-avatar
    Cindy (Vegetarian Mamma) February 27, 2013 (7:14 pm)

    These look so yummy! We have some awesome recipes this week!! Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! 🙂

    Thanks for linking back to the Gluten Free Fridays post!

    Cindy from vegetarianmamma.com

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