I remember when school snacks like mass produced muesli bars and rice bubble bars came out preaching healthy eating, energy bars etc etc, we all (well quite a few) fell for it. How good to be able to pick something up off the supermarket shelf and pop it in your kids lunch box, safe in the knowledge that they were eating healthy food. Or so we thought. It wasn’t until a few years later, when the obesity & diabetes epidemic hit did we really know that what we were feeding our kids was utter rubbish. I will admit and take responsibility for the fact that I too fell for the marketing ploy that saw a large proportion of people naively feeding their kids these bars that have quite high proportions of refined sugar with a few grains of puffed rice thrown in. It has been quite a few years since I stopped buying such foods but we are then faced with a new dilemma. What the hell do we put in their lunch box now? No doubt, kids are known to have a love of sweet treats and they do need a certain amount of (good) sugar for energy. The great thing is, these sugars that they do need can be found in beautiful, fresh and healthy produce. Unrefined and natural, perfect for a long day at school. This gorgeous, moist and healthy loaf is just the ticket.
I am aware that ‘superfood’ (blah blah) ingredients can border on the expensive. You could replace the spelt flour with wholemeal plain flour, maple syrup for honey (good farmer’s market quality and not mass produced), coconut sugar for brown sugar if need be and remove the chia seeds. For me, as much as I balk at the prices, I find it difficult not to indulge as I know that a whole lot of greatness is going into their bellies and you really can’t put a price on your child’s healthy eating habits. To reduce the cost you can find these items online, quite a bit cheaper than the large supermarket chains.
Prep time: 20 Minutes Cooking time: 1 Hour – 1 Hour 10 mins $$ Medium Budget
11/2 cups of spelt flour
2/3 of a cup of coconut sugar
1 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of bicarbonate soda
2 tsp of ground cinnamon
2 large carrots, peeled and grated
1/2 cup of dried cranberries
1/4 cup of chia seeds
1/4 cup of grapeseed oil (you could substitute for vegetable oil or rice bran)
1/2 cup of natural yoghurt
1/3 cup of maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 160°C.
Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarb soda, cinnamon and chia seeds in a large bowl and mix to combine. Add the carrot, cranberries, egg, oil, yoghurt and maple syrup to the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until well combined.
Lightly grease a 21cm x 10cm loaf pan and line with baking paper. Pour the cake mix into the pan and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the centre.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool before turning out onto a wire rack.
You could also make these as muffins. Divide the mixture between a 12 cup muffin tray and bake for approximately 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the deepest part of the muffin.