Updated: Dec 6, 2020
Nothing feels cozier than oatmeal on a cold winter morning, but for those looking to save time and make ahead, oatmeal bars are a great solution.
Oats and berries, the two main ingredients of these oatmeal bars, are a great source of fiber, making them heart healthy and an important diet component for people with pre-diabetes or Type 2 Diabetes.(1) In fact, the American Heart Association promotes berries as high in flavanols and lower the risk of heart attacks in women. Similarly, they say that oats' fiber can help prevent heart attack, stroke and diabetes in both men and women.(2)
Oats and berries also contain zinc to help with immunity, wound healing, and metabolism.(3) This is important, because once you become deficient in zinc, it can be very difficult to re-adapt the body to store in sufficient quantities. According to the National Institutes of Health, "A daily intake of zinc is required to maintain a steady state because the body has no specialized zinc storage system." (3) If you get too much or too little zinc, re-establishing zinc homeostasis may require medical intervention.
Zinc deficiency is characterized by growth retardation, loss of appetite, impaired immune function, and in more severe cases, hair loss, diarrhea, delayed sexual maturation, impotence, hypogonadism in males, and eye and skin lesions. Adult males should aim to get 11mg of zinc per day, and women 8mg per day from food sources.(3) Most zinc supplements provide over 300% of the daily value and can cause zinc toxicity. One GF Berry Oat Bar contains 10% DV of zinc.
Using gluten-free oats and optional walnuts, these bars are vegetarian and free of the following allergens: wheat, soy, peanut, fish, and shellfish. You can adapt the recipe to remove the nuts, replace the eggs using a vegan substitute, and use a non-dairy milk of your choice.
Check out the recipe below.
Gluten-Free Oatmeal Berry Bars
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Yield: 16 bars
3 cups gluten-free steel cut oats
1 cup almond flour or gluten-free flour bland
½ cup brown sugar
1½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
2½ cups milk
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup frozen California strawberries, sliced
1 cup frozen blueberries
1½ cup walnuts
Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease an 8x8 baking dish.
In a large bowl, whisk oats, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
In another bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, and vanilla extract until combined.
Combine wet and dry ingredients, mixing well with the whisk.
Pour half the batter into the pan. Add the blueberries and half the walnuts on top.
Pour the remaining batter on top of that layer and add strawberries and walnuts.
Bake for 40 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
Allow to cool for 20 minutes. Slice into 16 bars.
Nutrition Analysis using USDA Standard References (per bar):
Calories: 286 kcals, Total Carbohydrates: 36g, Total Fiber: 5g, Added Sugar: 7g, Protein: 8g, Total Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 23mg, Sodium: 125mg, Zinc: 1mg.(4)
(1) Mayo Clinic. (2017). Zinc. MayoClinic.org. Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-zinc/art-20366112
(2) American Heart Association. (2019). Get smart about superfoods. Heart.org. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/get-smart-about-superfoods-infographic
(3) National Institutes of Health. (July 10, 2019). Zinc: Fact sheet for health professionals. Office of Dietary Supplements. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/#en10
(4) Food Processor v. 11.7. (2019). Ingredient: oats, steel cut, dry, whole grain, gluten-free. ESHA: Genesis R&D.