Here at HealthBarn, back-to-school is on everyone’s mind, and moms are flocking to us with one question: what is a healthy snack for my kids to bring to school?

HealthBarn USA has an “outside the box” approach to snacking—literally!  For most people the word snack conjures up thoughts of processed foods: chips, crackers, cookies.  Many “healthy snacks” like granola bars, graham crackers, or 100-calorie packs are hiding behind buzz words like all-natural, but if you take a closer look at the ingredient list, you’ll find that they lack real nutritional value.  The good news is that there are plenty of satisfying real foods out there that make for great snacks, and they don’t come in a bag or a box.

The goal is to serve a snack that provides some combination of the following food groups.  Mix and match categories for variety!

  • Protein (hard-boiled eggs or edamame)
  • Healthy fat through calcium-rich protein (yogurt—not from a tube!, or low-fat cheese)
  • Whole grains for fiber (whole grain crackers or breakfast cereal)
  • Fruits and veggies (whole fruit or sliced veggies)

For more ideas, here’s a list of some HealthBarn USA-approved snacks:

Thumbs up for The Barn Bar!

  • hummus with fresh veggies and whole-grain crackers or chips such as pita chips or Beanitos (if gluten-free)
  • fresh fruit with vanilla yogurt and our homemade granola
  • whole-grain graham crackers with peanut butter or SunButter
  • half a peanut butter or SunButter sandwich on whole wheat bread
  • whole or cut-up fruit and a handful of almonds
  • cheese, grapes, and whole-grain crackers
  • our own Barn Bar granola bar! (see recipe below)

What puzzles you about keeping your family healthy?  Tell us what’s on your mind by emailing [email protected].  We’ll answer those questions here weekly.  In the meantime, make sure to buy Appetite for Life:  The Thumbs-Up, No-Yuck’s Guide to Getting Your Kid to be a Great Eater, by Stacey Antine, Founder of HealthBarn USA, HarperOne, on sale nationally September 11, 2012 in hardcover and eBook .  The book is packed to the brim with great healthy ideas for feeding your family.

The Barn Bar

From Appetite for Life

Make sure to get the kids involved – they can measure and mix ingredients and spread mixture into the pan.



2 cups old-fashioned oats

2/3 cup ground flaxseeds

1/3 cup hulled raw sunflower seeds

¼ cup raisins

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 large egg, beaten

½ cup maple syrup

½ cup canola oil



  1. Preheat oven to 325˚F. Line a 13 x 9-inch metal baking pan with foil, extending the ends of the foil 2 inches over the short sides of the pan. Grease foil.
  2. In a large bowl, combine oats, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, raisins, and brown sugar. Stir in egg, maple syrup, and oil until well mixed. Transfer mixture to prepared pan and, with wet hands, press into an even layer.
  3. Bake for 25–30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on a wire rack.
  4. Once cool, use the foil to transfer the bars to a cutting board. With a serrated knife, cut lengthwise into 8 strips, then cut each strip crosswise in half to make 16 bars. Enjoy right away or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days, or freeze for up to 1 month.

Makes 16 servings (1 granola bar per serving)

Nutrition Facts per serving: 190 calories; 11g fat (1g sat fat, 5g mono, 4g poly, 0g trans fat); 10mg cholesterol; 20g carbohydrate (3g fiber, 10g sugar); 4g protein; 10mg sodium; 4% Daily Value (dv) calcium; 6% dv iron

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