As a Naturopath and Nutritionist I don't think eating excessive amounts of sugar is good for our bodies, but I am also not totally against all sugar. Some people can not tolerate a lot of sugar in their diet, and some are so used to excessive amounts their body "appears" to cope but it manifests in other ways. Low immunity, poor sleep, skin break outs, autoimmune and metabolic disorders and so on.
In my opinion, the key to sugar is listening to how our body feels, does it have highs and lows after eating it or do you feel good? No one can tell you this except you.
And when it comes to children it is best to limit sugars in all forms, but I don't think you need to remove it completely. There are times when a sweet treat can be so satisfying and you can see the look of pleasure and delight on your childs face. I take joy in seeing that look, just as I enjoyed sweet things as a child, I like to show my daughter that they can be enjoyed sometimes.
What is more important for me is doing my best to avoid artificial colours, artificial sweeteners, high-fructose corn syrup and other highly processed sweeteners, preservatives and additives. If there is a bit of unrefined sugar in their I don't mind, I personally couldn't imagine life without some yummy luxuries sometimes!
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup rapadura or coconut sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup pure maple or honey
Zest of 2 oranges
2 & 1/4 cups oats
1/3 cup dried fruit - I used cherries and apricots
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1 & 3/4 cups mixed nuts seeds and coconut
Line a 20cm square baking tin and preheat oven to 160˚C. On a low heat melt the butter, sugar, peanut butter, maple/honey and orange zest in a deep saucepan over a very low heat. Leave until melted, stirring from time to time.
In a food processor or blender, pulse the dry ingredients to break up and the nuts and seeds and combine evenly. Stir the dry ingredients into the melted butter mixture until thoroughly combined. Spread the mixture out evenly in the baking tin, smoothing the top as you go.
Bake for 25-30 minutes. When the edges are golden it is ready to take out. Make sure you leave it in the tin until it is completely cool. This will ensure it sets completely before removing and cutting. Muesli bars will last up to 7 days in an air tight container.
This recipe is based off the booster bar recipe by Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall of River Cottage.
I have reduced the sugar content a little bit and added more nuts and seeds although you can change the ratio if you like.