Rock a Lunchbox |Caramel Banana Protein Cereal Bars

Even though I try to eat with my health in mind, I don’t always say “no” to sweets – but I do try to clean them up a bit. For example, instead of a bowl full of cold, creamy ice cream topped with crumbled cookies, I eat plain Greek yogurt that I’ve sweetened with stevia and topped with a crunch protein-based chocolate cereal (Power Os from Love Grown Foods). I also top that with mini-chocolate chips, it’s my go-to bedtime snack – it’s still sweet, but more balanced with protein to boost my workout recovery and make muscles while I sleep!

Caramel Banana Protein Cereal Bars make a healthier lunch box treat.

I also like to implement my “protein-hacks” in my kid’s lunchbox desserts as well. A study has shown that children ages two to 18 years old get 40 percent of their daily calories from junk foods like sugary sodas and fruit drinks, cookies, donut, candy, fried foods and more – that’s unconscionable. Kids of all ages want sweets, I get it – believe me I GET IT! I would try and trade the raisins my health-nut mom would pack in my lunch for a friend’s Hostess Cupcake – she never would trade, but started bringing me an extra cupcake on the sly.

So, as a parent myself now for more than 18 years, I’ve allowed my kids to eat sweets so that they don’t feel deprived but talked about limits and the effects of eating too much “less than quality food” – but that a small amount also be fine occasionally in the context of an overall healthy lifestyle. I also like to make our cookies and cakes at home, so I know exactly what is going into the recipe and into our bodies – choosing more nutritious alternatives when possible. Like heart healthy fats, sugar swaps, no chemicals or preservatives, organic when possible – you get the drift.

Caramel Banana Mighty Cereal Bars made with Love Grown Mighty Flakes make a healthier lunch box treat.

Caramel Banana Cereal Bar Today I’m sharing a healthier version of classic crispy yet chewy cereal bars. They are perfect for lunch boxes, backpacks, after school snacks, picnics, and pot lucks and bake sales! I used less butter and marshmallows than the traditional “crispie” recipe and supplemented with a reduced-sugar caramel and dried fruit for sweetness. For long-lasting energy, I threw in some nuts and a bean-based cereal for extra protein. Enjoy!
Caramel Banana Cereal Bars using Reduced Fat Caramel from Litehouse Foods makes a healthier lunch box treat.

What was your favorite treat to find inside your lunchbox as a kid . . . or today? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

Caramel Banana Cereal Bar
Caramel Banana Protein Cereal Bars
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
18 servings 15 min
Cook Time
0 min
Servings Prep Time
18 servings 15 min
Cook Time
0 min
Caramel Banana Cereal Bar
Caramel Banana Protein Cereal Bars
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
18 servings 15 min
Cook Time
0 min
Servings Prep Time
18 servings 15 min
Cook Time
0 min
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Add banana chips and walnuts to medium bowl and lightly break up into coarse chunks with mallet or back of spoon.
  2. Add cereals to bowl with banana walnut mixture; toss to combine. Set aside. In large microwave-safe bowl, add marshmallows, caramel dip and butter. Microwave on 50% power for one minute, stir until creamy. Return to microwave and cook at 50% power for additional 1 minute; stir until creamy. If marshmallows aren’t completely incorporated, continue and stir in 20 second blasts.
  3. Add dry cereal mixture to caramel mixture and stir with spatula until everything well coated.
  4. Line 8” x 8” baking pan with wax paper or spray with oil.
  5. Press mixture down firmly into pan. Let cool for 5 minutes and then cut into 9 bars, or size of your preference.
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Chocolate Covered Strawberry Banana Boats | Grilled Recipe #ConquerTheMess

Summer means sticky. There is just no way to avoid the heinous heat and humidity that comes with August in my part of Texas. Sticky, sticky, sticky, it can make a mother grouchy if she lets it! I keep my parental cool when summer temps and the kids’ tempers flare with a toolbox of tactics to chill out.  Yup, let’s stay in our bathing suits all day long, crank up the songs of summer, eat easy clean up desserts and, by all means, stay out of the kitchen (I’d hate to heat up the house)!

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Banana boats are an easy, foil-packet recipe that kids love for taste and moms love for easy clean up (and extra fruit as dessert)!My boys have been clamoring for chocolate chip cookies, but no way I’m turning on the oven!  Despite the heat, they want a summer treat that is warm and gooey – Chocolate Covered Strawberry Banana Boats are the solution.

jennifer fisher - grilled bananas - main photo option1The kids learned a version of this simple foil-packet dessert at Boy Scout camp in years past and we’ve created many versions at home, including this Raspberry Chocolate Banana Boat. So much for a mom to love about these easy desserts – it’s made on the grill, kids can make them on their own with parental supervision,  you’re sneaking in extra fruit to the diet, and there are no dishes to clean up as these treats roast in their own skins.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Banana Boats and Wet Naps  go hand in hand!

The only clean up after diving face first into this ooey-gooey foil-packet dessert are messy mouths and sticky fingers. Yay,  Wet-Nap® Hands, Face, & Body Cleansing Wipes.  These wipes are one of the most multi-purposed, genius products of summer living. I started using Wet-Nap®  when the kids were toddlers, but now they’re teens – and just as messy! Safe on the face, body and hands, these wipes are awesome after stick recipes like the banana boats, but also a great way to refresh after running, working out and sitting in the fan stands watching the kids’ sports in sweltering heat. I keep a container in the car, my gym bag and purse!

Kids, Messy Desserts and Wet Naps

 

Wet-Nap® help tidy messes that life throws at us every day – this includes easy clean up desserts and easy clean up recipes and easy clean up crafts (just imaging the convenience for toddlers who like to finger paint). Also, as a food blogger, using Wet-Nap® products is a great way to keep my camera from getting too gunked up — snapping photos while food styling ALWAY make for messy buttons (don’t use on the lens, though)!Wet Naps are a must for a food blogger's camera!

I never forget to toss a pack of Wet-Nap® wipes into my cart on Walmart shopping trips. Visit Walmart for all your Wet-Nap® needs: 110-Count Hands, Face, & Body Cleansing Wipes, 24-Count Packettes Antibacterial Hand Wipes and 40-Count Canister Antibacterial Hand Wipes.

Shopping for Wet Naps at Walmart

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Banana Boats ingredients

Oh, hello delicious ingredients in Chocolate Covered Strawberry Banana Boats!

Have you ever grilled a dessert?! What has your biggest mess been this summer? Please share in the comments below. XOXO – Jennifer

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Wet-Nap®, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #ConquerTheMess http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

 

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Banana boats are an easy, foil-packet recipe that kids love for taste and moms love for easy clean up (and extra fruit as dessert)!
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Banana Boats
Print Recipe
This grilled dessert is ooey-gooey delicious -- kids love the taste, moms love the easy clean up of this foil packet recipe (plus, sneaking extra fruit in for dessert)!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Banana boats are an easy, foil-packet recipe that kids love for taste and moms love for easy clean up (and extra fruit as dessert)!
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Banana Boats
Print Recipe
This grilled dessert is ooey-gooey delicious -- kids love the taste, moms love the easy clean up of this foil packet recipe (plus, sneaking extra fruit in for dessert)!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Heat gas or charcoal grill to approximately 400°F or use a wire rack over campfire.
  2. Cut 4 (1-foot) sheets of heavy-duty foil, set aside.
  3. Using a sharp knife, make a deep incision lengthwise along the top curve of each banana; take care not to cut through the bottom peel. Gently push both banana ends toward each other to create a pocket. Place banana on the center diagonal of tin foil.
  4. Stuff each banana with approximately 2 tablespoons each of marshmallows, chopped strawberries and chocolate chips.
  5. Pull up corners of tin foil to create a tent over the top of banana, leaving a few inches of headroom so marshmallows won’t melt all over the foil.
  6. Place banana packets on heat source, close lid and cook for approximately 10 minutes or until marshmallows are softened.
  7. Carefully remove banana packets and open foil. Banana skins may have turned brown; however, this does not affect taste. Drizzle each banana with warmed strawberry glaze and sprinkle with almonds. Eat warm.
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