DIY healthy lunchbox treats: homemade fruit bars

Published on August 18 2010 - 3:48 PM

When it comes to lunch, not much has changed since I was a kid—even at age 34, I’m still envious when a co-worker pulls out a treat that I wish I had in my lunch bag! Whether you’re packing a lunch for the kids or brown-bagging it at work, it’s always nice to include a little treat.

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Healthy Lunch Recipes for Kids
Quick Light Lunches to Bring to Work

I like to make these easy, healthy homemade fruit bars on Sunday afternoons. This recipe makes a nice-size batch and holds well for up to 5 days, so I can put them in my lunchbox all week as a special treat. And whether you’re a baker or not, this is one of the easiest dessert recipes the EatingWell Test Kitchen has ever created.

First off, the crust comes together in a snap in my food processor and doubles as the topping with some more chopped nuts stirred in. Is your child’s school a nut-free zone? These fruit bars area equally good when made with oats.

Related Link: Peanut Free Food for Kids

Plus I don’t have to get out my rolling pin: I just press the crust into the pan. The versatile fruit filling works with fresh, frozen or even dried fruit. Since local orchards are starting to have apples, I’m making the bars with an apple-cinnamon filling, but these bars are equally great filled with summer-ripe peaches or dried fruit in the winter. See recipes for all 5 fruit bar fillings.

Related Link: Healthy Lunch Box Cookies

Apple-Cinnamon Fruit Bars
These easy apple-cinnamon fruit bars make a big batch—perfect for fall potlucks and parties.

A graduate of New England Culinary Institute and University of Wisconsin with a degree in journalism, Carolyn pairs her long-standing love for food with writing as EatingWell's senior food editor. Carolyn’s culinary interest is rooted in her childhood; she grew up making thousands of Christmas cookies every year with her mom and picking leaves off bunches of parsley to make tabbouleh with her dad. Away from the kitchen, Carolyn enjoys seeking out rare craft beers and exploring the outdoors with her husband, 2-year-old daughter and dog.