Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. After hours of sleeping, and the last evening meal often occurring hours prior, your breakfast launches your day and restores key nutrients that have been depleted throughout the night. And pregnant women, specifically, require a significant calorie and nutrient load at the beginning of their day to provide energy and fuel for vital bodily functions to occur throughout the day.
However, not every woman or family will admit to having a full, healthy breakfast each morning. Many women go to sleep exhausted and wake up almost equally as tired from insufficient sleep. Despite hunger, women reach for whatever is easy and those choices are not often the healthiest. I decided to develop a recipe that could help satisfy hunger, provide essential nutrients, and that would be meet the needs of a pregnant woman or her family.
And this recipe is easy! It has enough protein, is gluten-free and can satisfy vegetarians. The different ingredients provide texture and flavor and is quick to prepare. In fact, no baking is involved–how much easier can it get? Instead of reaching for fast food or that same boring bowl of cereal or piece of toast, try these breakfast bars as a healthy, delicious alternative to breakfast. Take an extra one as a midmorning snack, lunchtime dessert, or late afternoon snack with a glass of green tea or flavored water.
Blueberry Bliss Breakfast Bars
- 1 ½ cups rolled oats (not instant!)
- ¾ cup whole, unsalted almonds
- ½ cup pistachios, shelled and chopped
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/3 cup flax seeds
- ¼ cup chia seeds
- ¾ cup dried blueberries
- ¼ cup pepitas (toasted pumpkin) seeds
- 1/3 cup honey or pure maple syrup (I continue to suggest pure natural honey like the kind I use from the Tanis Apiary in Pompton Plains, New Jersey)
- ¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce
- ½ teaspoon fresh grated lemon zest
- 1 cup almond or sunflower butter
- Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper, leaving enough paper to overhang the edges.
- Add the oats, almonds, pistachios, sunflower seeds, walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, dried blueberries, and pepitas in a large bowl. Stir to combine.
- Add the honey or maple syrup, applesauce, and lemon zest. Stir to combine.
- Add almond or sunflower butter and stir to combine.
- Place in the prepared pan. Press the mix down firmly with your hand, and offset spatula or the back of a ½ cup-sized measuring cup to distribute mix evenly in the pan.
- Place the pan with the mixture into the freezer for 1 to 2 hours until firmly set.
- Remove from freezer. Lift the mixture out of the pan using the overhanging edges of the parchment paper. Peel the paper away gently.
- Slice diagonally into 8 long bars, then cut each bar in half.
- Serve at room temperature or wrap each piece individually.
Featured photo by Perfect Snacks