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EATING well

Enjoy real strawberries in these healthy breakfast bars

Strawberry Breakfast Bars feature fresh strawberries, something store-bought breakfast bars often cannot claim.

Betty Wedman-St Louis

Strawberry Breakfast Bars feature fresh strawberries, something store-bought breakfast bars often cannot claim.

A recent trip to the supermarket revealed how often "fake" strawberries are used in breakfast and snack bars. Cereals have even added "strawberries" to many favorite choices. These are not products made from dried strawberries. The ingredient label reads: "strawberry flavored fruit pieces (sugar, cranberries, citric acid, natural and other flavors)." The fruit pieces are sweetened cranberry skins, a product that used to be sold as animal feed and offers no nutritional benefit except calories.

This fruit fraud is not unique to strawberries. Blueberries in a national brand bar are described as "blueberry flavored fruit pieces (sugar, cranberries, blueberry juice from concentrate, grape juice for color).'' The same brand cereal lists blueberry-flavored bits (sugar, corn syrup, corn cereal, modified wheat starch, modified corn starch ... cellulose gum, red #40, blue #2, green #3, blue #1). No blueberries are listed as an ingredient!

Snack and breakfast bars are convenient and can be made with healthy ingredients like spelt, hemp and coconut flours. A quick visit to the health section of the supermarket or local health food store can yield the ingredients for this quick and easy bar recipe. You can also double the recipe and store leftovers in the refrigerator for a week.

Calorie for calorie, strawberries have twice the potassium as a 7-inch banana and twice the iron as a serving of raisins. Though frozen strawberries are a good choice when you can't get fresh, you get twice the vitamin C and folate in fresh berries. So when they are abundant during strawberry season, enjoy them raw or in this bar recipe.

Betty Wedman-St Louis is a licensed nutritionist and environmental health specialist in Pinellas County who has written numerous books on health and nutrition. Visit her website at betty-wedman-stlouis.com.

Strawberry Breakfast Bars

3 tablespoons butter or coconut oil, melted

1 ½ cups chopped fresh strawberries

2 tablespoons honey

3 tablespoons water, divided

1 tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot

½ cup spelt or whole wheat flour

½ cup hemp hearts or powdered hemp

¼ cup coconut flour

1 tablespoon date sugar or sugar substitute

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 to 4 tablespoons orange or apple juice

Melt butter or oil in 9-inch square baking pan while preheating oven to 375 degrees. Combine strawberries, honey and 2 tablespoons water in saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until strawberries are soft and can be mashed with fork. Dissolve cornstarch in 1 tablespoon water. Add to strawberries and stir until thickened. Cool. Make crust by combining remaining ingredients, including the butter. Stir to form dough. Press two-thirds of the dough into oiled baking pan. Spoon strawberry filling over top. Crumble remaining dough over filling, pressing gently into filling. Bake 20 minutes. Cool. Cut into 12 bars.

Nutrition information per serving: 122 calories; 3g protein; 18g carbohydrates; 5g fat.

Source: Betty Wedman-St Louis

Enjoy real strawberries in these healthy breakfast bars 02/20/14 [Last modified: Thursday, February 20, 2014 6:56pm]
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