Brain Food: Homemade Lara Bars

If you want your child to get the most out of an active day at summer camp, then you need to feed that learning energy. It is important to pack their lunch bags with energizing snacks, instead of fruit gummies, cookies, or pudding cups. Here’s a sweet snack that will satisfy a sweet tooth, but still provide your child with the energy to push through the day.

Energy bars are expensive and often filled with sugar or artificial sweeteners…but it doesn’t have to be that way! It’s actually easy to make your own at-home Larabar with natural sweeteners and, while the ingredients aren’t cheap, the outcome is certainly cheaper than buying a case at the store. By keeping the nut to date ratio, and switching the other ingredients, there are endless flavor options. Try a lemon blueberry, apple pie, or a dark chocolate cherry bar. Or, a trail mix bar with macadamia nuts, white chocolate, and dried cranberries. Or, try out our other kid-friendly energy snacks. Keep your kids going through their busy day at with this Dark Chocolate & Hazelnut “Larabar” recipe, which has a toasty, nutty flavor.


  • 3/4 cup toasted almonds
  • 3/4 cup toasted and skinned hazelnuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2½ cup Medjool dates, pitted and packed
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate, chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread hazelnuts and almonds in a single layer over the pan. Toast the nuts for 10-12 minutes, or until fragrant.
  2. Place hazelnuts on a kitchen towel. Wrap and roll the hazelnuts between the towel, removing the hazelnut skins. It’s okay if the entire skin does not come off, but do your best to remove them!
  3. Combine toasted almonds, hazelnuts, and cinnamon in a food processor, chopping them into fine pieces.
  4. While the nuts are being processed, pit your dates. Add the pitted dates and dark chocolate chunks to the food processor, a few at a time, until your mixture has combined into a well-blended clump.
  5. Line an 8×8 baking dish with wax paper. Leave extra hanging out–enough to cover the pan.
  6. With a wooden spoon, spread your larabar mixture into the pan. Cover it entirely with the wax paper, and press or roll it out until it has an even, smooth surface.
  7. Leave the larabar mixture tightly covered in the paper-lined pan, and let the larabars chill for 30 minutes to an hour.
  8. Cut and serve, pack, or eat from the pan! Cutting the them into about 12 even bars will be enough for a great snack-size bar. Wrapping them individually and keeping them stored in the refrigerator is best for a quick grab-and-go snack!

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