Lactation Granola Bars

DSC_0341So, 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.

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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.

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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.

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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. :)

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Lactation Granola Bars

Adapted from Letting My Breast Hang Out

Ingredients:

  • 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
Optional add ins:
  • 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!
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350.
Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.  I used my misto with olive oil.
DSC_0130In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.  Make a well in the center and add all of the wet ingredients.  Mix together well.  I find the best tool for this is my hands.  Just make sure you have all of your add ins ready to go or you will find yourselves with gooey hands needing to open the bag of chocolate chips.  Gently mix in your add ins and press the mixture into your prepared pan.

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.

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Enjoy!

65 thoughts on “Lactation Granola Bars

  1. Glad to here Wes is doing better! These look delicious so I might make them for me so I can have a healthy snack. I admire your willpower-no dairy or nuts-EEK!!

  2. Hi! I’m so glad I found this recipe! I made two different batches. One with dried apricots, dates and pumpkin seeds. The other with almonds and chocolate chips. Both came out delicious. These granola bars are better than some of the lactation cookie recipes I’ve tried. Thank you so much!

    1. I agree! I have made lactation cookies a few different ways and while they are good, these granola bars are better. The granola bars are healthier too, without needing a stick of butter like the cookies. I made the bars with dark chocolate chips, walnuts, and craisins.

  3. These sound delicious! Two quick questions – 1. When you say to turn half way through baking, do you just mean to rotate the pan or actually flip the bars?
    2. For the mix-ins, do you use those same measurements if you are using multiple mix-ins?
    Thanks so much! I can’t wait to make these!

    1. Just rotate the pan, not flip them over. This just helps ensure even baking. I generally use 3-4 mix ins, and I do use those same measurements (roughly…I don’t actually measure them. I just put in what looks like how much I want.) :)

  4. I have made these quite a few times and LOVE Them. Even my husband eats them!! I’m just curious, do you have any idea on the calories?

      1. In case anyone else asks, you can add recipes in My Fitness Pal (either the app or the website) and it will total up the calories per serving for you.

    1. Hi! I see people asking about apple sauce but I’m not seeing this under the ingredients. Is the apple sauce in replacement of the coconut oil? Also with the coconut oil is it in form of oil or gel like? I’ve never used coconut oil but I tried the refined (thick) form and wasn’t sure if it was equally distributing.

      1. You can use half applesauce and half coconut oil. It makes a softer, chewier bar. The coconut oil is solid at room temperature. You will need to heat it so it becomes liquid and you can mix it in. Hope that helps!

    1. I’ve never tried GF flour in these, but I’m sure you could use any flour as you would normally substitute. I have used oat flour and barley flour and they both worked fine, though the textures were a bit different (not in a bad way). :)

      1. Tried with the GF flour, not too bad! The only thing I CONSTANTLY have an issue with is the overbearing bitterness of the brewer’s yeast. Do I just have a really cheap brand or does everyone encounter that? I really like the granola bars themselves. I just wish I could get past the bitter aftertaste. :-(

        1. Hi there! The brand of brewer’s yeast I use is Solgar and it’s unflavored. Smells weird but I haven’t had any issues with an aftertaste. Hope this helps!

        2. I’m sorry, I am not able to tell you what brand of Brewer’s Yeast to try because what I get is in a bulk bin. It doesn’t taste bitter really, but it does have a distinct taste. Maybe the Solgar brand as Cecille suggested would help. You can also leave the Brewer’s Yeast out entirely, and you still have the benefits from the oats and flax. Good luck!

  5. These are Real Yummy! .. Much tastier and healthier than other lactation cookies I have made. My add ins were diced granny s. apples, tossed lightly in sugar and cinn., then baked for 10 min at 350 (prepared ahead of time. I keep these in freezer to have on hand), one mashed nanner, and crushed walnuts. I also like to add about a 1/4 c. of Chia seeds soaked in about a 1/2 c. of water for extra omega’s. I do this as I mix in the wet ingredients. They have a fruity taste in my opinion, so it goes extra well if your add ins are of fruit sort. Lactate away!

  6. If I add peanut butter do I add it as an extra or replace something else? I’m not a great cook so rely heavily on recipes! Thanks

    1. Hi Megan,

      Adding peanut butter will change the consistency of the bars, as it is a wet ingredient. You could try reducing the oil by 1/4 cup and adding 1/4 to 1/2 cup of peanut butter and then adjusting from there. Sorry I can’t give you a more definitive answer.

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  8. I just noticed your blog after I tried to make granola for the first time. I made some lactation cookies about 5 days ago. I had six cookies left and didn’t want to eat them anymore. They were dry and crumbly. I woke up with a taste for granola. I chopped the cookies, add 3/4 cup rolled oats, 1/4 flaxseed, 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar, 1/8 cup craisins, 1/8 cup raisins, 1/8 cup almonds, 1/8 cup peanuts, 1/8 cup peanut butter chips, and some pecans. I also added 1/2 cup honey. I mixed together in a bowl and baked at 350 for about 15-18 minutes. I took it out and allowed it to cool but cut it before it was completely cold. It was sooooo delicious. Because I recycled my lactation cookies (with Brewer’s yeast, rolled oats, oatmeal flour, and flaxseed), I believe I go a power punch for lactation!

  9. Oh lordy, these granola bars are amazing! I stumbled on the recipe about a week and a half ago, and I’ve already made three batches (and I’m not ashamed to say none of these have made it into the freezer!). The recipe is super easy to follow (although the quantity of ingredients on the counter seemed a bit overwhelming the first time). I followed the recipe directly (although I used Motts natural applesauce, instead of unsweetened), and I’ve been adding white chocolate chips and/or slivered almonds and coconut as my add-ins. The bars stay soft for days (which is how I prefer my granola bars), and they provide a delightful bit of sweetness!
    I’m really happy I found this recipe, since most of the lactation cookies have half a cup of butter and make me feel like I’ll never see my pre-pregnancy clothes again. I feel good about snacking on these granola bars throughout the day! I’m not sure about the bars’ impact on my supply, since I’m also taking the herbal tincture, fenugreek capsules, Mother’s Milk tea, and oatmeal for breakfast.
    Two tips: use a sheet of wax paper when you’re pressing the granola into the pan, since the mixture is really sticky. Also, cut and remove the granola bars when they’re still a bit warm…once my batch cooled, it was really difficult to chisel it out of the pan.

  10. I’ve been looking for an alternative to lac cookies since I’m ‘trying to be healthier and these are a great find. Can I substitute the wheat germ for anything else? Or just omit without changing the taste/texture too much? Can’t wait to try!! Thanks.

    1. Hi! You could replace the wheat germ with 1/4 cup more flax and 1/4!cup more flour. As long as you still have the overall same amount of wet and dry ingredients it should be fine. :)

    1. I’m sure they would freeze well, though I’ve never had to do it! I make a pan, cut into 16 portions, and just eat one every day until they are gone. They stay perfectly fine on the counter, but if you use applesauce or banana, I’d recommend refrigerating. Hope that helps!

  11. Is there any way to replace the sugar? Maybe extra honey? Also could you use more oatmeal instead of flour? Alot of my family is wheat and sugar free, so I try to when I can. Plus I want to eat these as my breakfast.

    1. You could try extra honey, though it tends to be sweeter than actual sugar, so I’d reduce the amount by about half and start there. It may also alter the liquid to dry ingredient ratio, so if you find they turn out too “wet,” adjust by adding more dry next time. As for the flour, what I would do is grind up some oats in the food processor to make oat flour and use that instead of the whole wheat flour. You could also try almond meal or another flour alternative. Hope that helps! :)

  12. I’m not sure what I did wrong here but these turned out super crumbly and dry for me. I added chocolate chips, dried cranberries and walnuts (amazing combo). They taste so good but alas, i have to eat it in a bowl with a spoon! Wondering what I did wrong.
    Also, question: Should I have used B – yeast flakes or powder?
    Def going to make again!

    1. I’m glad you liked them…even though they didn’t turn out exactly as planned. :) Was your coconut oil melted/liquid? I use yeast powder, but I would imagine either would be fine.

  13. why did someone ask about replacing applesauce? I don’t see applesauce in the ingredients list. Before I give these a shot I want to make sure I’m not missing anything! Thanks

    1. Because you can do half applesauce/half oil. That way they turn out softer. All oil will make them more crispy.

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  15. Thank you so much for this recipe – I love it! So much healthier than lactation cookies! I have been making these for about 7 months now. I have altered it slightly and converted it to for my thermomix (which is on my blog if you want to check it out).

        1. No harm done! The whole seeds would add some texture. The main reason I use ground is because I’ve read that our bodies don’t digest them whole. So I figure I get more benefit out of them ground. 😊

    1. If you remove it, I’d replace it with the same amount of another dry ingredient, like flax, oats, or flour.

  16. These weren’t as awesome as I wish they were but, nonetheless, I do think I would make them again. I like what’s in them, so it’s worth it. I don’t think these are *much* healthier than some of the cookie recipes that I have come across. I continue my search for the ideal lactation boost snack.

  17. Hi there, so happy I found your recipe. I am allergic to egg. Could I just skip the egg or do you think they wont stick together? Any ideas on a substitute that’s also healthy? Thanks again xx

    1. I have never tried this, but the first thing that comes to mind is a flax egg – mix together 1 Tablespoon of ground flax with 3 Tablespoons of water and let set for 15 minutes. If you find something that works, please share!

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