A bagged lunch is not complete without a little something other than a sandwich and fruit, maybe a muffin or some chips, but the best option is a granola bar. On Class Afloat the students had field trips every time we were in a new port, the whole class and teachers would go off for the day exploring. It was easier to send them with a bag lunch rather than trying to find somewhere to eat in the middle of the day as they hiked dormant volcanos, painted houses for a service project or traipsed around an ancient city. I would pack a lunch of savory sandwich roll, fruit and some new flavor of granola bar based on whatever dried fruit and nuts I happened to have on board. After everything was made I had to wrap everything, most of the time I used cling wrap, rolled out a large piece the length of the counter top, place down bars and cut the wrap with a pizza roller.

Granola bars come in two styles, super crisp or soft and chewy, both have their places but I do prefer something a little softer. This recipe is a great base, you can add whatever nuts and dried fruit you want making it a flexible recipe. There is one secret step to these granola bars that you don’t see in other recipes, hydrating your dried fruit, this way you don’t end up with hard little fruit pellets. I’ve included two flavor options here, one with dried blueberries that reminds me of my favorite breakfast cereal when I was a kid, blueberry morning and one with a tropical vibe.


Granola Bars



  • 6 tbsp. butter
  • 1/3 c brown sugar
  • ½ c honey
  • 1 ½ tsp. vanilla
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 c rolled oats
  • 1 ½ c rice crispy cereal
  • ¼ c flour

Add ins

    Blueberry morning

    • ½ c almonds, chopped
    • 1/3 c dried blueberries
    • 1/3 c banana chips, crushed

    Tropical Mango

    • ½ c roasted cashews, chopped
    • ¼ c dried mango, chopped
    • ¼ c shredded coconut
    • ¼ c banana chips, crushed
    • ¼ tsp. nutmeg


    1. Preheat the oven to 325F and line a 9×13 pan with a piece of parchment leaving some hanging over the edges.
    2. In a small saucepan melt the butter, brown sugar and honey, bring it to a boil for one minute and remove from the heat. Add in the vanilla and salt.
    3. In a separate bowl mix together the oats, rice cereal, flour and your desired add ins.
    4. Pour over the sugar and stir everything together, taste and adjust to taste.
    5. Dump the granola mixture into the lined pan, spread it our and press it down firmly with wet hands. It’s important to press it firmly to help everything stay together.
    6. Bake at 325F for 30 minutes or until the edges start to pick up color.
    7. Let the bars cool until you can handle them, lift them out of the pan with the edges of the parchment and cut into 12 bars.

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