March is National Nutrition Month, when the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reminds everyone to return to the basics of healthy eating. It is also the time of year when the Academy celebrates expertise of registered dietitian nutritionists as the food and nutrition experts.
If you're looking for a nutritious, kid-pleasing snack for after school or the lunch box, this is the recipe for you. Thanks to the pumpkin (which, by the way, blends right in), each serving has almost half a day's worth of immune-boosting vitamin A. As for the nuts, they add heart-healthy fat and protein to each delicious bite.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup pecans, very finely chopped
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, beaten
1 15-ounce can 100-percent pure pumpkin
½ cup canola oil
¼ cup low-fat milk
½ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil or coat a 15 x 10 x 1-inch rimmed baking or jelly roll pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- Whisk together the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, pecans, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a large bowl until combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, pumpkin, oil and milk until blended. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
- Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes before slicing into 30 2 x 2 ½-inch bars.
For maximum freshness, store leftovers in a plastic container or zip-top bag in the refrigerator.
Serving size: 1 bar