Our little family was on vacation last week! I was nervous about a long car ride, airplane travel, and being away from home for a little over a week as Baby Girl is 6 months old. Thankfully, things went really well! Phew.
Outside of having an infant along, a common stressor while traveling is finding healthy food--especially plant-based food. Hands up if you struggle with healthy eating when traveling.
I find that food choices are getting easier as consumers are demanding healthier foods with high quality ingredients. However, it can still be a struggle.
Luckily for this trip, our final destination was a beautiful condo in Arizona (Thanks, to my aunt who spoils us!). This makes healthy eating on the trip easier as we are able to make our own food for as many meals as we'd like. Even on vacation, we spend time meal planning for most of our meals--but tend to eat out for a dinner or brunch to treat ourselves.
Prior to our trip, I made some of my favorite bars so we could grab a snack whenever we needed it while traveling. Finding a plant-based snack or breakfast bar isn't impossible by any means, but when you do find them, they are typically pricey or full of added ingredients. These bars are perfect as a cheaper, healthier alternative while still lending a yummy flavor great for vacation.
Why I love these bars:
- Easy to make and no-bake!
- Sweet, with a healthy dose of peanut butter.
- Contains oats, dried fruit, and walnuts for fiber.
- Omega-3 fatty acids, which contain anti-inflammatory properties, from flaxseed and walnuts.
- Easy to throw in a purse, diaper bag, or even luggage for a trip.
While I made this batch for the trip, I doubled the dry ingredients and stored them in a airtight container. This makes the next batch even easier!
Breakfast Oat Squares
Makes: 16 bars
Add 2 cups of the oats and the ground flaxseed to a food processor. Pulse until the oats are ground.
In a large bowl, add the ground oats and flax. Add the remaining 2 cups of oats, walnuts, and dried cherries. Give it a stir until well combined.
Using the double boiler method, add the brown rice syrup, peanut butter, cocoa powder, vanilla, and chocolate chips. Stir often until melted. The mixture will not be very liquid-y when it is all melted, but rather thick; almost like a thick brownie batter. When the mixture is melted, add to the dry ingredients. Mix well with a wooden spoon (or your hands if needed).
In a 13 x 9 pan, sprinkle half of the coconut on the bottom of the pan. Enough to give it some good coverage.
Add the bar mixture and press into the pan until evenly spread.
Sprinkle more coconut on top of the bars and pat down.
Slice into 16 bars and store in individual plastic bags. Refrigerate for longer keep. Enjoy!
4 cups of oats, divided
3 tablespoons ground flax
¾ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
5 ounces dried cherries, coarsely chopped
1 cup brown rice syrup
1 cup peanut butter
4 teaspoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup chocolate chips
~ ¾ cup unsweetened coconut flakes