Fruit Free Quinoa Muesli Slice (fructose friendly, low FODMAP, gluten free)

Hey YOU!
If you made this recipe prior to 2018, you may notice it’s a little different now. I’ve been doing some pretty extensive research over the last few years (thanks to findings and publications by a bunch of mega brainy gut experts), and I’ve recently decided to join the glutard (AKA gluten free) crusade. As such, this recipe is now gluten free. It’s still FODMAP friendly, low in fructose and tastes the same as before, but calls for gut-friendlier alternatives to the gluten. Your belly will thank you for it, and I hope your tastebuds still do, too! Ax

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It’s probably not news to you that most muesli bars on supermarket shelves –and even some in the “health food” aisle, are not that great for you.

In fact, many of them belong in the confectionary aisle. If you’re a label reader, you’re probably used to avoiding ingredient lists with nasty additive numbers and unpronounceable chemical names. And sure, you might do a quick scan of the sugar content. But how much notice do you pay to where all that sugar is coming from? The majority of muesli/snack bars out there are LOADED with added sugar, whether it’s refined (white/brown sugar, golden syrup), unrefined like in the ‘healthier’ varieties (honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, coconut sugar/nectar, rice malt syrup etc.), or sneakily disguised as being the most ‘natural’ sugar sources of all – dried/raw fruit and fruit juice concentrates.

As I write this, I’m analysing the labels of 2 different muesli bar boxes I found in my pantry. They’re by a popular ‘real food’ supermarket brand, marketed and believed to be truly healthy. Yes, most of the ingredients are whole, and one thing I’ll give them is how transparent they are about the ingredients they use, but they’re still out of touch with the anti-added sugar movement. Either that, or they know most people will read “honey” or “apple juice concentrate” and think to themselves, “oh cool, it’s all natural therefore it’s healthy!”
One of the aforementioned “healthy” and “all natural” muesli bars contains SIX DIFFERENT SOURCES OF SUGAR: cranberries, sugar, glucose, honey, rice syrup and apple. The other contains FIVE different sources: glucose, honey, sugar, cranberries and sultanas.

Of course, if you don’t have fructose malabsorption, then finding a healthy packaged snack is less of an ordeal because there’s a whole heap of health bars on the shelves of health food stores and even supermarkets now. The problem for someone like me is that all those ‘refined sugar free’ and ‘raw’ bars and bliss balls usually scream one thing: FRUCTOSE. They’re pumped with agave (which is 70-90% fructose), dates, and dried fruit. And dried fruit is practically just concentrated fructose. So, without being too controversial, I’d argue that 90% of those raw food bars and bliss balls aren’t that great for you anyway, whether you can digest them or not. Most of them are glorified lollies with a little extra fibre and protein, disguised in rustic packaging with words like ‘raw vegan’ and ‘no added sugar’ sprawled across them. No added sugar? OF COURSE THEY DON’T CONTAIN ADDED SUGAR! They don’t need to add sugar on top of all the syrup and fruit, because if they did, those bars would be distastefully sweet.
Like I always say, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
And regardless of how ‘natural’ the sugar source is, if it’s as sweet as a lolly, it probably isn’t that good for you.

I’m pretty sure that you get my point by now: most muesli bars are unhealthy, and even the semi-healthy ones are often packed with fructose and are thus out-of-bounds for those who cannot digest excess fructose. I should quickly note that fructose friendly snack bars do exist, but I’m yet to come across one that ticks all four boxes: it’s gotta be honestly healthy, fructose friendly, filling, and YUMMY! All the ones I’ve tried lack in an area or two.

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These Honestly Healthy Fruit-Free Muesli Bars are super easy to whip up and the recipe is very forgiving. If you don’t have a particular ingredient, don’t stress, just use something else that’s similar in density (except maybe for the oats and eggs, you’ll need those!), being mindful of wet to dry ratios. This is a great base recipe, so feel free to mix things up! Try adding things like goji berries (dark choc-coated gojis would be delicious for a more decadent treat), cacao nibs, or a little unsweetened dried fruit, like cranberries or raisins. While this recipe is relatively high in protein, you could even incorporate your favourite CLEAN protein powder into the mix, to make it a great post-workout snack.
When divided into 24 pieces, each serving contains just 3g of sugar, which is equivalent to 2 large strawberries. These bars are super filling so you can be sure they’ll tie you over to your next meal. They’re also high in fibre, healthy fats, protein and antioxidants, and relatively low carb, making them a perfect snack any time of day.
Keep them in an airtight container away from direct sunlight for up to a week. I also like to keep a little container of them in my car’s glove box  (in cooler weather), and one wrapped up in my handbag to ensure that I’m prepared for a snack attack no matter where I am.

Fruit Free Quinoa Muesli Bar Slice (fructose friendly, low FODMAP, gluten free, dairy free)

Makes 24 snack squares, or 12 bars

FODMAP friendly serving size: one snack sized square

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (160g) quinoa flakes
  • ½ cup (30g) unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ¼ cup (30g) brown rice flour
  • 1½ cups (180g) mixed seeds (I use pepitas & sunflower kernels)
  • ½ cup (60g) nuts of choice, such as walnuts and pecans (activated if possible), roughly chopped
  • 1 tbs (10g) chia seeds
  • 1-2 tsp (3-6g) ground cinnamon (depending on your taste preferences)
  • ½ tsp (2g) ground cardamom (reduce this to ¼ tsp if you don’t want the cardamom to be pronounced)
  • ¼ tsp (1g) ground dried ginger
  • ¼ tsp (1g) Himalayan sea salt
  • 3 large free range eggs (approx 65g each & organic if possible), lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup (80g) pure maple syrup
  • ¼ cup (60g) natural nut butter of choice (I use peanut)
  • 2 tbs (26g) melted coconut oil
  • 2 tbs (30mL) warm filtered water (can be boiled and then cooled slightly)
  • 1 tsp (4.5g) pure vanilla extract

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180*C and line a slice tray or square cake tin with baking paper.
  2. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl with a wooden spoon
  3. In another bowl, add the beaten eggs and whisk in the remaining ingredients. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and combine well.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and use your fingers to press it in firmly. Sprinkle the top with some pepitas and linseeds, if desired. Bake for 30 minutes or until firm and golden brown.
  5. Remove from oven allow to stand for 10 minutes, before removing and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack.
  6. Use a sharp knife to remove the edges of the slice (this is purely aesthetic and largely unnecessary). Cut the slice into 24 squares or 12 bars, and store in an airtight container away from direct sunlight for up to one week.

Notes:

  • Some individuals with FM might be more sensitive to nuts and needs than others. If this applies to you, reduce the amounts. However, the amounts I have used should be pretty safe, especially when the recipe is divided into 24 servings.

Ax

29 thoughts on “Fruit Free Quinoa Muesli Slice (fructose friendly, low FODMAP, gluten free)

  1. Hey Gina! Hmmmm I’m always hesitant to use quinoa in sweet baked recipes because they can give off a strange flavour. You’re more than welcome to try it – might be worth a shot if it turns out well! Please let me know how you go 🙂
    And thank you! Yup you’ve nailed it – each individual gut is sooo different when it comes to intolerances/malabsorption (purely because the reason they’ve developed it in the first place are different and reflective of different issues), so that’s why I can never guarrantee that what works for me will work for others. Mint? Really?! Golly that’s a shame. I’m going to look into that for you, but I’m going to say that it’s not the mint in itself that you’re reacting to, its purely the sensitivity and unhappiness of your gut that’s reacting to the MINT, if you get me? X

  2. Hi Ashlyn, I find I am intolerant to Oats could you substitute these with anything else? Quinoa maybe? I saw a recipe for Anzac biscuits recently ( IQS- Sarah Wilson) that said for a paeleo version you could swap the oats for Quinoa. Do you think it would work in this recipe?

    Absolutely love your site by the way. I think the biggest “takeout” for me is that everyone’s tolerances are different and you have to listen to your body. I am still struggling to workout what I can and can’t tolerate even though I have been diagnosed with IBS. I do know that unfortunately I can’t tolerate bananas or mint! ( hopefully one day I’ll be able to introduce them back in to my diet and try some of your delicious looking recipes that call for these). And I didn’t realise nuts such as almonds and hazelnuts could also cause load issues! I look forward to reading more. Thanks for taking the time to share your personal knowledge and experience. 👍🏻😀

  3. hi Ashlyn,
    my sister has to go sugar free completely because of some health problems and was trying to find more recipes for her and i saw your site… i might even try some of the recipes that look really good

  4. Hi Mary, yes you could definitely try this, I used to use apple sauce all the time. Just bear in mind that it won’t be as sweet, and obviously won’t have aas much flavour is you also leave out the stevia but it depends on your preferences – the less sweet you can have it, the better!

  5. Hello! Hmmm you could try doing this however you might need more of the wet ingredients (i.e coconut oil) as ground nuts and seeds will absorb a lot more liquid than the chunkier ones will and the slice might turn out a bit dry. Let me know how you go if you try it 🙂

  6. Hi Ashlyn,
    I was just wondering if I could substitute half of the syrup for unsweetened applesauce? Also I don’t use stevia would it be ok to omit or would it not be sweet enough?
    Thanks!

  7. Catherine and Ashlyn, I have very successfully frozen this recipe. And then I just let them thaw in the fridge over night. But, you’ve probable tried this yourself by now 😉

  8. Thanks for the great recipe. I made these this morning, (accidentally) forgetting to add the coconut oil and adding protein powder as I’m always running low on protein. I loved the spices, the cardamom and ginger make such a difference to my possibly overused cinnamon! The bars were so tasty I ate two… and my tummy got rather peeved (nothing terrible, just noisily doing what I call “dancing the rumba”). So I am cutting them in half and I’m going to try and make sure I manage the portion control carefully! I’m trying to prepare a stash of foods as I’m about to go on yet another long flight/work trip to China and the plane never has anything edible for me. Any other suggestions for portable snacks?

  9. My daughter doesn’t like the texture of nuts and seeds. Could I grind up the pepitas, sunflower kernels and nuts or would the different texture stuff up the rest of the recipe…? Thanks 🙂

  10. Pingback: Honestly Healthy Muesli Bars (fruit free, fructose friendly & dairy free) | 50% Punk, 50% Rock

  11. Hi Catherine, I’m pretty sure I already replied to this comment but can’t see it there so just in case…
    I’m always reluctant to encourage freezing baked goods, only because I worry that they might lose texture and get that ‘frozen’ flavour once thawed, but you could definitely give it a try! X

  12. Hi Ashlyn this recipe looks amazing I’m going to make them for my toddler who is on a low FODMAP diet. It is so handy having a recipe i don’t need to adjust for once! Just wondering do you know if the muesli bars can be frozen once cooked?

  13. Hi Sarina,
    To be honest, I do not provide the macro/micro nutrient counts on my recipes yet, purely for the fact that I am very time poor at the moment. I’ll be doing a site makeover in the near future, and I will be providing all nutritional information on my recipes when I do. KJ count on its own isn’t as important as the INGREDIENTS from which those KJs are coming from, but if you wanted to make these bars lower energy, lower the quantities of nuts and seeds. This will reduce the KJs significantly. Also, if it’s for a snack, I eat these bars as ‘squares’ (half a bar). This offers a filling, low-cal, nutritious and well-portioned snack between large meals. Hope this helps! X

  14. Hi Ashlyn, do you have the nutritional information for this recipe (specifically the kilojoule count) as I am watching my kJ intake at the moment and would love to try these bars. Thanks!

  15. Perhaps try cacao butter. I had no peanut butter so I used an organic peanut & cacao made by Mayvers. My local health food store stocks it, so does Coles.

  16. Hey Kat! Hmmm does that policy include seeds? If not, you could use a pumpkin seed butter or tahini (sesame butter). If you’re not allowed to use seeds either, let me know and I’ll think of something else! X

  17. Looking forward to trying this recipe. I have to make it for school, could you recommend a substitute for the nut butter? the school has a no nut policy due to allergies! cheers

  18. Hey Zoe!

    Thanks for the gorgeous feedback, I’m glad you found my site! At the start of my FM (nearly 2 years ago), eating low FODMAP/fructose friendly foods was the difference between what felt like life and death haha! Within a few weeks of going low FODMAP, every single one of my symptoms calmed down. I’ve slowly introduced some FODMAPs back in, but I won’t be satisfied until I can eat whatever I want again (what is life without onion and garlic?!). I believe there’s certain reasons (very individual ones) as to why people develop digestive issues such as FM. I hope one day I can figure it out and reverse it for people. Although going low FODMAP will ease your symptoms, it’s still not fixing what’s wrong with you – it’s just keeping it at bay. We “developed” this, so we can get rid of it. It’s going to be a tricky road figuring out how though! One day 🙂

    Thanks again Zoe! Xxxxxx

  19. Hi Ashlyn,
    Love the recipes! I have recently been diagnosed with FM and have fallen in love with your blog! Cant wait to test this recipe tonight.
    Just wanted to know how much of a difference eating low fodmap/fructose friendly foods has had for you? Do you still experience some of the symptoms you used to before being diagnosed?
    Would love to hear your experiences.
    Many thanks for the recipes – you are amazing!!

  20. I should also note that since spelt is related to wheat and they therefore contain a very similar gluten, people with an actual allergy to wheat or an intolerance to gluten specifically, will not be able to eat spelt.

  21. Hi Sam, spelt is a species of wheat, but doesn’t have the same molecular composition of modern wheat. It’s more like wheat’s cousin, if you like, which can get confusing. So where I state “wheat free”, I’m referring to modern wheat, the wheat which many people have problems digesting. People with fructose malabsorption or IBS can generally tolerate spelt quite well, whereas they cannot digest large amounts of common/modern wheat. Hope that helps… X

  22. Great recipe – I love making my own muesli bars too, it’s a joke what they market as “healthy” these days!! Can’t wait to try this one 🙂

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