Granola Fruit Squares from the American Institute for Cancer Research

In its ongoing effort to promote healthy, cancer-preventive lifestyle choices, the American Institute for Cancer Research puts together dishes from their test kitchen that are nutritious and delicious and excellent for our health. This week's entry from the AICR is Granola Fruit Squares, ideal for back to school season.

Kids going back to school in the fall makes for challenging mornings for their parents who want to send them to school with a healthy snack—or if they themselves want to bring a healthy snack to work.

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Enter granola fruit sqaures. As the AICR writes from their test kitchen:

Oats pack a powerful nutritional punch. As a wonderful source of energy they can help keep you going during your busy day and oats are high in cancer-preventing fiber and contain essential minerals and vitamins.

Add some nuts to intensify not only the nutritional value, but the flavor as well. The underused flax seeds, which have been cultivated for centuries, provide alpha-linolenic acid, an essential omega-3 fatty acid and fiber. People have long recognized the benefits of using flaxseeds. Indeed, King Charlemagne believed so strongly in the health benefits of flaxseeds that in the 8th century he passed laws requiring his subjects to consume them.

The combination of fresh blueberries and dried fruit creates both texture and taste. The eggs help bind the ingredients of the squares together. The touches of honey, brown sugar and vanilla add just the right amount of sweetness. Be sure to pack some of these granola fruit squares as part of a healthy brown bag lunch or a great snack at school or the office.

Keep in mind that all AICR recipes are vetted by a registered dietitian.

Granola Fruit Squares

  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats or quick oats, uncooked (not instant)
  • ¼ cup almonds
  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • 1 Tbsp. flax seeds
  • ½ cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ¼ cup honey, softened by placing the jar in a pan of water over low heat
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup fresh blueberries
  • ½ cup combination raisins, dried cranberries and dried cherries
  • Cooking spray

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line 9-inch square baking dish with aluminum foil and leave 2-inches of foil hanging over edges.

In large nonstick skillet over medium heat stir oats, nuts and seeds and toast for 6-8 minutes. Set aside to cool. When cool, in food processor, pulse mixture until coarse. Avoid making the mixture too fine.

In mixing bowl combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Whisk until blended. Set aside.

In another mixing bowl combine oil, honey, sugar, vanilla and eggs and mix well. Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Gently add oat mixture, fresh blueberries and dried fruit.

Lightly coat baking dish with cooking spray. Pour granola batter into dish and spread evenly. Bake until mixture is set, about 25 to 28 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to completely cool. Use overhanging foil to lift granola slab from baking dish to cutting board. Cut into desired size bars.

Makes approximately 16 squares.

Per serving: 198 calories, 10 g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 25 g carbohydrate, 5 g protein, 3 g dietary fiber, 77 mg sodium.

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