So, I started making my own bento-like lunches. I don't have all of the cute egg shapers, sandwich cutters, and garnishes that typical bentos use. I don't even have a real bento box, I just use Rubbermaid Snap & Store containers. Once Max starts school in a few years, I'm sure I'll get all of the cutesy stuff to make his lunches with but until then, I'm ok with my plain food stuck in containers.
It has been a tremendous help in keeping my lunches within points limits, healthy, and fun. I forces me to think about what I'm going to have to eat and how much I'm going to eat. I have to prepare my lunches the night before, so it also helps me pre-plan my points for the following day.
I found that I was having trouble finding a good dessert/sweet snack for my lunch that was fairly low in points buy still filling. So, I did what I usually do and went searching on my favorite blogs. I found an awesome granola recipe that can be made in mini muffin cups to make them bite-size! The points are pretty low and could be even lower if you wanted to use liquid Splenda instead of honey and/or omit the chocolate chips. I think they are good the way they are.
Granola BitesFrom Another Lunch
2 1/2 Cups Quick Oats
1/2 Cup Crispy Rice Cereal
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Canola Oil
1/4 Cup Honey
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 Cup Mini Chocolate Chips
Optional (not in points calculation):
3 Tablespoons Ground Flax Seed
3 Tablespoons Wheat Germ
- Liberally grease mini muffin cups with cooking spray.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except for the chocolate chips.
- Take your time mixing so the dry ingredients can really soak up the wet ingredients. If it seems too dry, add in a teaspoon more oil.
- Continue to mix until the ingredients begin to form small clumps or balls.
- Add in the chocolate chips.
- Fill each muffin cup with granola and pack down firmly.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.
- Remove from oven to cooling rack.
- IMPORTANT: Do not remove the bites from the pan until they are completely cooled! This will take several hours. Removal prior to cooling will result in crumbly granola.
- Once completely cool, remove from the pan and store in an airtight container.
Yields: 30 bites