So, I haven’t posted much since I’ve become a Mommy. I’m on summer break right now, so I can’t really complain about being too busy, but I am enjoying a lot of snuggles and smiles with my sweet little guy before I have to go back to work in four short weeks. I have cooked some very delicious things, and really want to share them with you, so I’ll get around to them some time…hopefully soon.
I absolutely love being a Mommy. It seems like I can hardly remember what life was like before we had Wes. He has just brought so much joy to our lives! Anyway, I could go on and on about how awesome he is, so I’ll get on to the food portion of this blog. First off, you’ve probably assumed I’m nursing since this is a post for lactation granola bars. When Wes was about four or five weeks old, he developed a milk protein allergy in addition to acid reflux, so we’ve been through a lot getting that settled down. He’s doing phenomenal now – yay! – but this means I have had to remove all dairy from my diet. I’m not going to say it has been easy; it’s definitely an adjustment, but I am absolutely willing to do whatever it takes to keep my little guy healthy. I feel the fact that I cook so much has tremendously helped make this transition. When you prepare your own food, you can easily control what goes into it. Eating out with a food allergy is extremely difficult. Even if you are diligent, sometimes the servers or people who prepare the food aren’t so much so. So you’ll be seeing the food I post in the next several months will be dairy free, and that’s why.
If you’re nursing, you’ve probably seen numerous recipes for lactation cookies out there. These goodies are packed with ingredients designed to boost your supply. They look very yummy, but a.) most of them have dairy (even chocolate chips have dairy!), and b.) most of them are not particularly healthy. I really wanted to try something like this, but I don’t eat cookies regularly because I try to eat pretty healthily, so I wasn’t going to start now. So I started searching for a recipe for lactation granola bars. I’ve made several different types of granola bars in the past, and when I thought about the ingredients that boost lactation – oats, flax seed, brewer’s yeast – I figured I could pretty much incorporate them into any granola bar recipe somehow. But I did come across a lactation granola bar recipe and I thought I’d give it a try since the proportions were already written and I wouldn’t have to mess around with failed attempts. With whole wheat flour, wheat germ, flax seed, and honey, they are really pretty healthy.
I have made several batches of these now, and I love them! I keep them around for snacking, which I do a lot of now that I’m nursing. I mostly snack on fruit, but it’s nice to have these around too, for an energy and supply boost. With Wes’ dairy allergy, prepackaged granola bars are pretty much out of the question. (Have you ever looked on packaging to see what contains milk? In addition to the obvious, it’s in so many things – bread, cereal, crackers…!) It’s also nice to have a little sweet bite sometimes after a meal without feeling guilty.
I’ve mixed these up with different add ins. I’m currently on dried cranberries, sliced bananas, coconut, and 70% dark chocolate (70% cacao is the line where there stops being milk in chocolate, which is good to know because chocolate makes me happy). I’ve also tried mashed bananas, which give a different, more cakey texture to the bars, with dried cranberries, dried cherries, and coconut, and then the same combination without the banana. Without the banana, the texture is a little less cakey and a bit more dense and firm. I’d love to try these with some nuts and or peanut or almond butter, but it seems that when I eat nuts, it upsets Wes’ stomach, so I’ve been avoiding those as well. Someday I’ll rejoin the peanut butter, pizza, ice cream eating world. But until then, I’ll just enjoy my 70% cacao, coconut milk, goat cheese, and sunbutter. Not together. Ew.
I usually store these on the counter for a couple of days and then pop them in the fridge to keep them fresh longer. That way I can make a whole 9 x 13 pan and eat on them for more than a week! I have halved the recipe and made them in an 8 x 8 square pan, so if you want to make less, you could do that too. And other members of your household can eat these, and it will not make them lactate.
Lactation Granola Bars
- 2 cups whole grain old fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup wheat germ
- 1/4 cup flax seed
- 2 tablespoons brewers yeast
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 sliced or mashed banana
- 3/4 cup chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup dried fruit (cranberries, cherries, blueberries, apricots)
- 1/2 cup dried, shredded coconut (try it toasted!)
- 1/2 cup nuts – walnuts, almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, etc.
- whatever your imagination dreams up!
Bake for 30 minutes, turning once halfway for even baking. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes and then cut into bars of your desired shape and size.