Set your kids up for the day with these packed lunch snacks

lunch box barsWe've lifted this recipe from Mumsnet's Top Bananas! cookbook (p. 67) to help with back to school preparations. The bars can be prepared in advance and frozen, making them a brilliant school morning hack.

Lunchbox dos and don'ts | School morning hacks

Are children's chocolate bars getting smaller these days? Maybe we are just getting bigger. Perhaps the two things are even related... But if you want to give your child something more sustaining in their packed lunch, these are a godsend. Easy to make and even the fussiest child will like them.

The ingredients list is flexible and can be adapted to your child's taste; for example you can substitute dessicated coconut or nuts for some or all of the weight of the seeds. Do, however, check first if your child's school bans nuts in case of other students' allergies. Don't serve these to babies less than one year old because of the honey.


Lunch box bars 


100g unsalted butter, plus more for the tin

200g porridge oats

200g mixed seeds

3 tbsp honey

100g light brown sugar

100g dried fruit, chopped into bits if large (anything you've got: raisins, glacé cherries, sultanas, apricots...)

1 tsp ground cinnamon (optional) 



You will need: 18 x 25cm tray-bake tin.

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/fan 140°C/gas mark 3. Butter an 18 x 25cm shallow tray-bake tin and line the base with greaseproof paper.
  2. Toast the oats and seeds, separately, in a baking tray in the oven until lightly brown; this will take five to 10 minutes. Watch them carefully, as they burn quickly.
  3. Warm the 100g of butter, the honey and sugar gently in a saucepan. Don't let it boil, or it will become like glue.
  4. Add the toasted oats and seeds and the dried fruit, plus the cinnamon, if you like it, to the saucepan. Mix until everything is nicely coated.
  5. Tip into the tin, press down lightly and bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Allow the bake to cool in the tin before you slice it into 10 bars, otherwise they will crumble.


The health bit:

Sweet though these may be, they are healthier than plain flapjacks because of the seeds and dried fruits. Nonetheless, you might want to keep slices relatively small.



Cool the bars completely after cooking. Open freeze in a single layer, then transfer to a freezer bag for storage. 


Want more foolproof family recipes?

Top Bananas!Top Bananas!: The best ever family recipes from Mumsnet is not your average cookbook. To begin with all the recipes are from Mumsnetters, who've been there and bought the ketchup stained t-shirt. Every one was tested by more Mumsnetters before the book was published - so you know that the recipes work. 

You'll find tips for getting children to eat, feeding young children, health tips about salt, fat, sugar and food allergies, and, of course, a whole heap of amazing recipes - 120 of them in total.

Buy it here.



Last updated: 21 days ago