You may be a worrier, or maybe not. If you’re a parent, when a toddler decides to suck on a dog toy or shopping cart handle, you may panic, or you may shrug, saying “That should help develop their immune system.” I’ve seen both reactions.
Regardless, when our daycare or school-attending kiddos take “sick days,” we may worry—about their immunity, missing learning activities, feeling terrible, potentially infecting others, and causing us to take unplanned “sick days” too.
Resilient, healthy children are a worthwhile goal for these reasons and countless more.
Dr. William Li, a medical scientist and physician, has a book called Eat to Beat Disease that explains how food can benefit the health of the whole family. After reading Dr. Li’s book and watching his TED talk, I was excited when I had the chance to attend a live lecture!
It motivated me to create recipes filled with powerful ingredients. Here is one, made with kiddos in mind but suitable for all.
Look at the immune-supportive nutrients in these bars!
Purple pigmented flavonoids that strengthen cells against oxidative damage, and help support immune health*
A polysaccharide fiber with antioxidants*
CAROTENOIDS: elderberry, pumpkin
Vitamin A precursors that raise natural killer cells and helper-T cells to strengthen the immune system*
Special flavonoids in cocoa that support the cardiovascular system and have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in the colon*
SELENIUM: chickpeas, oats
A mineral that increases virus-fighting, natural killer cells*
VITAMIN C: chickpeas, elderberry, pumpkin
A vitamin that supports many cellular functions and accumulates in phagocytes, ultimately helping to kill bacteria*
VITAMIN E: chickpeas, pumpkin
A vitamin that enhances the creation of bacteria-fighting antibodies in immune cells*
ZINC: chickpeas, pumpkin seeds
A mineral that increases white blood cell production to strengthen infection-fighting capacity*
*According to several sources, such as the book and lecture by Dr. Li, but not necessarily statements that are approved by or verified by the F.D.A.
- 1 cup chickpeas (rinsed & drained well)
- 3/4 cup canned or pureed pumpkin
- 1/2 cup rolled oats/oatmeal
- 3/4 cup date paste
- 4 scoops Flora Elderberry Crystals
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- Preheat oven to 350° degrees F.
- Line an 8×8 inch pan, leaving some overhang.
- Add chickpeas, pumpkin, oats, date paste, Elderberry Crystals, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt to a large high-powered blender or food processor and process. Scrape the sides of the machine down a few times to ensure even mixing. Run the machine until the mixture is very smooth.
- Add pumpkin seeds and cocoa powder to blender/food processor or mix in by hand until well combined.
- Scape mixture into the lined pan. Bake for 18 minutes.
- Let cool completely before transferring to the refrigerator. Cold bars cut more cleanly than room temperature bars, so refrigerate before cutting. Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container and eat within 3-5 days.
To get really nice-looking bars, fully cool them on a cooling rack before removing from the pan, to ensure they don’t sweat. Cover and place them in the refrigerator to chill. Remove and cut prior to serving.
When baking bars in an 8 x 8-inch pan, we usually cut the batch into 16 bars. They will each be slightly under 2×2 inches. For nice, even bars, make your first cut down the middle, rotate the pan and make a second, perpendicular cut down the middle. From there, each of the four squares can be subdivided into 4 more squares.
Elderberry Pumpkin Butter
A healthy frosting for your bars is a great way to use up the extra pumpkin and makes it possible to easily stick chocolate chips or more pumpkin seeds on top!
Remember to use an allergy-friendly substitute for nut butter if you like these bars in lunches—unless nut butter is safe for wherever lunch will be eaten.
- 4 tbsp nut butter or allergy-friendly sub
- 3 tbsp canned or pureed pumpkin
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 scoop Flora Elderberry Crystals
- Optional: sweetener of choice, to taste
Other ideas: chocolate chips, pumpkin seeds, sprinkle of salt
Dana Green Remedios, RHN, RNCP, NNCP, is a Vancouver-based educator and coach. She is a regular contributor to the FloraHealthy blog and can answer your questions in English, French, and Spanish as a Product Information Specialist at Flora.