Chewy Coconut Cranberry Granola Bars {Kids Cook Monday}

Chewy Coconut Cranberry Oatmeal Bars combine healthy oats, dried cranberries and coconut to create a chewy treat that the kids will love and be able to help you make in the kitchen.

Chewy Coconut Cranberry Oatmeal Bars

Today I am excited to be teaming up with Kids Cook Monday initiative.

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The Kids Cook Monday initiative encourages families to set aside the first night of every week for cooking and eating together as a family. Getting kids involved in the kitchen not only is a great bonding experience for everyone involved but teaches children valuable lessons about teamwork, food, eating, health, math (don’t forget all of that measuring you do), and cooking. Kids don’t have to be older to help you in the kitchen (Will is only 2).  You can find even the smallest things that they can help with and they will be excited.  When Will gets to push a button on a food processor or put a piece of toast into the toaster it is a great day in his book! I make him my “kitchen assistant” and he really enjoys helping me (within limits of course).

Will mixing

Once you cook the meal with your children you can then sit down as a family to enjoy the fruit of your labor! I love the following statistics that Kids Cook Monday includes on their website.  I think it helps show that the evidence links family dinners to healthier life choices:

  • Kids who eat family dinners get better grades in school, develop communication schools and are less likely to try drugs.
  • Women who cook regularly consume a more nutritious diet than those who ate out often.
  • Kids who eat dinner with their family regularly were less likely to be obese.

While today’s recipe for Chewy Coconut Cranberry Oatmeal Bars isn’t for dinner it is a great recipe to get your kids involved in. Will is two years old so he can’t do things like chopping, or measuring but he can help put things into the bowl, mix, and observe me measuring and chopping.  As children get older their roles can change and they can begin to become more involved in the cooking process.

Chewy Coconut Cranberry Oatmeal bars

As a child I always helped my Mom cook—whether it was waffles, pancakes, meatballs, chicken noodle soup, muffins, cookies, I was there to lend a helping hand.  I believe that part of my love for cooking and healthy food came from these experiences with my Mom.

Chewy Coconut Cranberry Oatmeal Bars

Ways your child can help with this recipe (these are just suggestions and depend on your child’s development and capability of helping):

Young children (under 5 years old)

  • Help measure ingredients like dried cranberries
  • Stirring or whisking ingredients
  • Sprinkling coconut on top of granola bars.
  • Help with clean up: using a rag to wash the counter, help rinse utensils.

 Older children (older children can do most of the recipe with adult supervision):

  • Read the recipe and then ask the child to repeat what step comes first to challenge their listening and memory skills
  • Cracking and separating eggs
  • Measure ingredients
  • Using the electric mixer (with adult supervision)

Chewy Coconut Cranberry Granola Bars
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Chewy Coconut Cranberry Granola Bars combine healthy oats, dried cranberries and coconut to create a chewy treat that the kids will love and be able to help you make in the kitchen.
Recipe type: Snack, Dessert
Serves: 16
Ingredients
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 Tablespoons fat-free milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1½ cups whole grain granola
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries (or dried fruit of your choice)
  • ½ cup flaked coconut, unsweetened
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Spray a 13x9 inch baking pan with cooking spray, dust with 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder in a small bowl and stir with a whisk.
  4. In a mixer combine sugar, vegetable oil, milk and eggs and beat on high until smooth.
  5. Add flour mixture to the mixer at a low speed until blended.
  6. Fold in granola and dried fruit and mix until combined.
  7. Spoon batter into the baking pan and spread evenly.
  8. Sprinkle with coconut.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes (until just golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean).
  10. Cool completely and then cut into squares or bars. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 3 months.
Notes
Use whatever dried fruit you want--a mix, raisins, apricots, ect.
If you want to make these a sweeter treat add a cup of chocolate chips.

Recipe slightly adapted from the Cooking Light Kid-Approved Cookbook {See below}

There are affiliate links in this post.  Any money made from my partnership with Amazon goes back into A Cedar Spoon.  Thanks for your support!

Comments

  1. Love all your tips about having kids help out in the kitchen cooking…and these bars look so good!

  2. My kids are coo coo for anything coconut! These are loverly!

  3. Thank you for the nice recipe and have a great day.

  4. This is a great initiative to be a part of! I cannot wait until me and my little one can get cooking in the kitchen! Will looks like he was having so much fun helping! I loved helping my mom as a little kid. Made me feel important. These bars look fantastic! I need to find time to make them because I seriously eat a granola bar every morning before the baby wakes up!
    Stefanie @ Sarcastic Cooking recently posted..Chocolate Peanut Butter Nutella Oreo CookiesMy Profile

    • I know! It is a great initiative. One thing I have learned is two year olds love to help and love to do things “on their own.” Cooking is one of my favorite things to do so it is nice to include Will in it. Plus I know it is building healthy habits for the future to know where your food comes from and what goes into what you eat. I loved cooking with my Mom too–such great memories!

  5. My kids love granola bars, and they need an activity to stop them from climbing the walls without school today. Perfect inspiration!
    Anna @ Garnish with Lemon recently posted..Crock Pot Broccoli Cheese SoupMy Profile

  6. PINNED! These look amazing!!! And your little guy is too, too cute!

  7. I loved helping my momma in the kitchen! I was a great “stirrer” ;-)

    These granola bars look fantastic. I think I might have to make some to pack in my own lunch box here soon!
    Stephie @ EYHO recently posted..Blueberry Pomegranate SmoothieMy Profile

  8. Oh, Julia! This is just wonderful – for so many reasons! Gretchen and I have spoken on the topic of helping kiddos be better (less picky!) eaters and ran a whole series of posts on it – and one of the biggest themes throughout is getting kids involved in meal planning, shopping, cooking … and then as a family at the table. This is an issue that’s very near and dear to our hearts, and just so very important! Huge high-five to you on your excellent suggestions! I love, love this recipe, and all of the kid-friendly tips! Truly a fantastic post, my friend! So excited to share this! :D
    Shelley @ Two Healthy Kitchens recently posted..3-Ingredient Crock-Pot Chicken TacosMy Profile

    • Thanks Shelley! My goal in 2014 is to more posts like this and involve my son more and more. I did my Masters project in grad school on Farm to School Programs in schools and how it helps fight childhood obesity to teach kids where their food comes from and what is healthy for them. It is also very near and dear to my heart. Glad to hear you guys are passionate about it too!

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