For several years now, I've been on a mission to create nutritious, allergy-friendly snacks that my son will enjoy and that also support his gut health. While I've certainly had some missteps along the way, over a decade of experimenting has led me to compile a list of personal favorites.
One such favourite is the classic-style muesli bar. If you're dealing with food allergies, you know that finding safe and tasty options can be quite the challenge. And when you do manage to find them, they often come with a hefty price tag - one that makes you wish you didn't have to consider food allergies in the first place.
This recipe uses wheat free oats and they are safe for my son who is anaphylactic to gluten, you can read more about oats and gluten here.
Oats are a great source of prebiotic fibre, however not everyone digests them easily and this can be for a number of reasons, see note *
The most common reasons are either the fibre in oats and/or the phytic-acids.
If your diet is low in fibre, having oats which are high in fibre, can lead to bloating, gas and constipation, increasing fibre slowly and making sure you are having enough water will be helpful.
Phytic acids are a type of anti-nutrient commonly found in plant-based foods like grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and tuber vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, and beets. These acids can bind to other nutrients, making them less available for absorption by the body.
This means that consuming a lot of food with high levels of phytic acid can potentially lead to nutrient deficiencies. However, there are ways to reduce the impact of phytic acid on nutrient absorption. Soaking and cooking these foods can significantly reduce the levels of anti-nutrients present and make the nutrients more bioavailable.
So that is why I toast the oats and seeds in this recipe, you can use raw oats if you want, they may not cause you any discomfort, but to gain the most out of the nutrients present I would advise toasting them, plus I think it adds to the flavour!
2x cups rolled oats, wheat free
1x cup choice of seeds and/or nuts
1x cup pitted dates
1/2 cup seed or nut butter (if you want to try make your own, recipe here)
1/2 cup honey
Preheat oven 180C
Spread oats and seeds/nuts on baking tray and bake for 15-20mins, stirring halfway, until lightly coloured.
Add dates to food processor and blitz until a dough like paste forms, place in large bowl.
Add the seed butter and honey in small pot, over low heat, and stir until melted and mixed, pour this in bowl with date paste and mix.
Remove oats and seeds from oven and tip into bowl with date and honey mixture, and mix with a large spoon. It will take some mixing as the dough is stiff, mix until well incorporated and then press into a small brownie tin or rectangle dish, lined with baking paper and press mixture firmly in, around 1.5cm thick. Place in fridge for min. 2hrs, then remove and slice into bars. Keep the in the fridge for a week or freezer for 3 months
Note: *If you are having ongoing issues with digesting oats and/or other prebiotic foods speak to your health practitioner, you may need extra support.
Disclaimer: I am a degree qualified clinical nutritionist, but I am not your nutritionist, this blog is written as observations only and is not intended to be personalised health advice, I am just sharing my thoughts, based on experience and scientific evidence. If you are requiring 1;1 consultation, please reach out ( firstname.lastname@example.org or DM on instagram ) and if you want to connect with other food allergy parents who are focusing on optimising their child’s health, I am putting something together that you may want to be part of, jump on the waitlist and I will share more soon.