Preparing nutritious and exciting school lunches can be quite a challenge for busy parents. If you’re looking for a healthy, tasty, and convenient treat for your kids' lunchboxes, these oaty jam bars are perfect. Not only are they easy to make, but they can also be prepared ahead of time and frozen, ensuring you have something delicious and ready to go even on the busiest mornings.

Why Oaty Jam Bars Are a Great Choice

Oaty jam bars offer a balance of wholesome ingredients and sweet, satisfying flavours that kids love. The combination of rolled oats, quinoa flakes, and buckwheat provides a rich source of dietary fibre and protein, ensuring that the bars are not only filling but also nutritious. Adding vanilla and a hint of salt enhances the flavour, making them irresistible. The use of natural sweeteners like maple syrup instead of refined sugars is a healthier option, contributing to a steady energy release throughout the school day.

Making the Bars in Advance

One of the biggest advantages of these oaty jam bars is their convenience. You can make a large batch over the weekend, slice them, and freeze them in an airtight container. In the morning, simply pop a bar or two into your child’s lunchbox—they will thaw by lunchtime, fresh and ready to eat.

Nutritional Benefits

These bars are not only convenient but also packed with nutrients:

  • Oats are a fantastic source of important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant plant compounds. Slowly digested, they help maintain blood sugar levels.
  • Quinoa flakes boost the protein content, which is essential for children's growth and development.
  • Buckwheat is high in both protein and fibre, supporting digestion and cardiovascular health.

Customisation Ideas

The recipe is quite versatile, allowing you to tweak it based on what your children enjoy or any dietary needs:

  • Swap cranberries and dates in the jam for any other fruits like blueberries or raspberries for a different taste.
  • Use coconut oil instead of butter for a dairy-free version.
  • Introduce nuts or seeds for added texture and extra nutritional benefits.
  • Add an egg for extra protein.

Engaging Kids in the Kitchen

Cooking with your kids can be a fun way to spend quality time together and teach them valuable skills. Let them help with measuring the ingredients, stirring the mix, or mashing the cooked fruits for the jam. This not only makes them more interested in the food they eat but also encourages healthier eating habits.

Oaty jam bars are a fantastic addition to any lunchbox. They're sweet enough to feel like a treat yet packed with nutrients to power your child through their school day. By preparing these bars in advance, you ensure your mornings are a little less hectic. Try making a batch this weekend—your kids (and perhaps you!) will thank you.

Prep: 25 minutes | Makes: 12 mini bars


240 g (3 cups) rolled oats (small leaf)
50 g (¼ cup) quinoa flakes
50 g (¼ cup) buckwheat, raw
1 tsp vanilla powder
100 g butter
60 ml (¼ cup) maple syrup
75 g (½ cup) cranberries
5-6 Medjool dates, large


1. Preheat oven to 180 C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients by hand.

3. Melt butter and maple syrup in a small pan until liquid.
4. Then mix dry and wet ingredients until well combined.
5. Meanwhile boil cranberries and dates in a small amount of water on low heat for 1-2 minutes until soft. Then use a handheld mixer into make jam consistency.
6. Tip and press half the oat mixture into prepared baking tray, then layer jam in the middle and complete with oat layer on top.
7. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until edges are golden. Let cool completely before slicing.
Perfect for batch cooking and freezing.

April 13, 2024 — Michelle Leach