Apricots are a tasty, healthy fruit, and apricot breakfast bars are a great way to get some good nutrition into your kids. Store-bought bars are very convenient, but homemade ones can be as well, because you can make them in big batches in a small amount of time. Homemade bars also freeze well if you double or triple the recipe.
Whether they're store-bought or homemade, choose apricot breakfast bars that use real fruit, not simply apricot flavoring. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, fruit and vegetables should make up around half of your child's healthy daily diet, and breakfast bars with real fruit can help reach that goal. Some bars may have actual pieces of dried apricot in them, while others may rely on fruit preserves that are mushy rather than chunky. Either is a good option, as long as the fruit is real and your child likes the taste.
USDA recommendations include making a quarter of your child's daily diet include whole grains. Oats count, as do wheat berries, flax seeds, barley, rice and a host of other grains. Most of these grains are available in breakfast and granola bars. When a grain is whole, it hasn't had any part of it removed. It's OK if whole grains are ground into flour to bake your breakfast bars, since the nutrition remains intact.
Apricots naturally contain sugar, which is fine in the context of breakfast bars. However, some store-bought breakfast bars and breakfast bar recipes alike may contain added sugars. The USDA classifies these as "empty calories," and advises that your kids only eat very limited amounts of these per day, depending on their ages. Children 2 to 3 years old should limit empty calorie intake to 135 calories per day, while children 4 to 8 should limit it to 120 calories per day. See the USDA's "How Many Empty Calories Can I Have?" for a full breakdown by age.
Whether or not your apricot breakfast bars include nuts is up to you and your child. However, if it's possible to include nuts, they're a great source of protein and energy for your child. If an apricot breakfast bar is the only thing your child is eating for breakfast in the morning, the addition of nuts can help round it out into a complete and balanced meal. Apricot breakfast bars with nuts can be found in stores, or as recipes you can make at home.
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