By Trina Gallop Bank

I admit it. I’m a snack-a-holic.

I cannot make it to dinner without an afternoon snack, and these bars were developed to steer those snack-attacks in a healthier direction. I had just started seeing a nutritionist who advised me to not only pre-plan my main meals but also snacks. Great idea!

I love these bars because they include some of my favourite things – healthy nuts and a good dose of protein from the quinoa – and they’re crunchy! They make a perfect travel snack, and they’re filling, too.

You can also tailor this recipe quite easily. Depending on what you have in your pantry (such as almonds, pecans, walnuts, dark chocolate chunks or dried fruit, such as apricots or blueberries) you can alter it to address any craving and snack-attack.

Quinoa Oatmeal Bars, Courtesy of Trina Gallop Bank, willcookforshoes.com, Winnipeg

These nutty and seedy squares make terrific after-school snacks.

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Prep time: 25 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes
Yield: 9 generous squares

Ingredients
1 cup (250 mL) quinoa (uncooked)
1 cup (250 mL) old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup (175 mL) almonds (chopped or slivered)
1/2 cup (125 mL) natural peanut butter
1/2 cup (125 mL) honey
1 tbsp (15 mL) canola oil
Pinch of cinnamon
1/2 cup (125 mL) hemp hearts

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line 12×8 pan with parchment paper.
2. Add quinoa, oatmeal and almonds to baking dish; stir to combine. Toast in oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until mixture is just starting to turn brown, being careful not to overcook. Let cool.
3. In large bowl, briefly microwave peanut butter and honey, until liquid enough to combine easily. Stir in canola oil and cinnamon. Add quinoa mixture and hemp hearts to peanut butter mixture; stir until combined.
4. Scrape batter into parchment paper–lined baking pan, spreading evenly. It won’t be very thick but that’s OK.
5. Bake at 350ºF (180ºC) for 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool; cut into squares.

If you have a gluten allergy or intolerance, make sure you use rolled oats that are certified gluten free.

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Will Cook for Shoes
I am a shoe lover, cake baker, sewing enthusiast, knitting wannabe, pet photographer, basset hound wrangler, half-marathon runner…and yes, I will cook for shoes!