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Recipes May 20, 2015

No-Bake Breakfast Bars

Commercial breakfast and snack bars are awash in dubious nutrition claims. This recipe is simple to make and handy to have on hand for breakfasts or snacks on the go.

Line a 7x11 or 9x9-inch baking dish with aluminum foil, leaving a 1-inch overhang along each long side.

Mix 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, 1 cup unsweetened puffed rice cereal (preferably brown rice), 1 cup dried cranberries, 1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, 1/2 cup unsalted shelled sunflower seeds and 1/4 cup chia seeds in large bowl.

Combine 3/4 cup unsalted peanut butter and 1/2 cup mild honey in small saucepan; stir over low heat until blended and smooth.

Stir in 1 tsp vanilla extract. Add to oat mixture; mix well.

Scrape into prepared baking dish; press firmly into an even layer.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

Use foil overhang to transfer bars to a cutting board.

Cut into 18 bars.

Bars will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Yield: 18 (2 1/4x2-inch) bars.
Per serving: Calories: 190. Total fat: 10 grams. Saturated fat: 1.5 grams. Cholesterol: 0 milligrams. Sodium: 0 milligrams. Carbohydrates: 22 grams. Fiber: 3 grams. Sugars: 12 grams. Protein: 5 grams.


  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup unsweetened puffed rice cereal
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup unsalted shelled sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 3/4 cup unsalted peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup mild honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Makes 18 2 1/4x2-inch bars

Comments (5)

I don't understand why this recipe contains rice cereal (especially the recommended brown rice). It's been shown to contain arsenic, with brown rice having even higher levels. I think an alternative grain would be preferable, such as cooked barley.

Also, although I know that the previous concern regarding aluminum exposure and dementia has been discounted, aluminum has no known normal function in the human body and it seems to me that it just makes sense to avoid it. Why not use parchment paper instead of aluminum foil as a dish liner?

Posted by: Unknown | July 20, 2015 9:54 AM    Report this comment

The nutritional content tells us that one serving is 190 Calories, however it does not tell us how many of the 18 bars constitutes a serving. Enlighten us please?

Posted by: Thelma Gault | October 5, 2015 10:55 PM    Report this comment

One serving is 1 bar (1/18th)
Re the arsenic in rice--please see our recent Q&A on this.

Posted by: Admin Tufts | October 6, 2015 3:03 PM    Report this comment

"Re the arsenic in rice--please see our recent Q&A on this."

And, from that "Recent Q&A": "In a 2013 report, he notes, the FDA concluded, 'While levels varied significantly depending on the product tested, agency scientists determined that the amount of detectable arsenic is too low in the rice and rice product samples to cause any immediate or short-term adverse health effects.'"

Note that the FDA was very specific--"too cause any IMMEDIATE or SHORT-TERM adverse health effects."

And there's the rub. The health concerns regarding arsenic (primarily cancer), unless it is ingested in a large dose in a very short period of time, relate to medium-term and long-term health effects, not short-term. It is disingenuous, therefore, to justify its use in recipes because of the (usual) lack of concern regarding short-term effects. There are much better whole grains out there than brown rice.

Posted by: Unknown | February 29, 2016 9:31 AM    Report this comment

I wonder if Cheerios or wheat Chex would be a good substitute for the rice cereal? I think I will try it.

Posted by: Lee G. Renfroe | March 1, 2016 11:06 AM    Report this comment

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