The perfect lunchbox slice

Looking for a lunchbox-friendly slice recipe without too much sugar? Try this Date, Apple & Spelt Slice that has no refined sugar and is nut-free, egg-free and can easily be made dairy free.

 Pitted dates, wholemeal spelt flour and rolled spelt.

Pitted dates, wholemeal spelt flour and rolled spelt.

If you live in the Wollongong area, you may be aware that The Source Bulk Foods have just opened up a store in Crown Street Mall. I may have done a little happy dance when I first saw that we were getting a local branch of the zero-waste bulk-buy store that stocks an amazing range of wholefoods.

I visited the store during the week and browsed as long as I could with a toddler and preschooler in tow. It was great to see so many people checking out the store and the staff were super helpful, explaining how it all worked with bringing in your own containers or using their paper bags. I know I'll be heading back in soon with my own containers when my pantry needs a top up.

I walked away with some pitted dates, wholemeal spelt flour, rolled spelt and a little bag of raw cashew nuts (not pictured) that my 4 year old happily munched on for morning tea.

I bought these ingredients specifically to take home and make my Date, Apple & Spelt slice, which has been up on the Rethink Nutrition website for a while now. I've updated the recipe slightly to make sure it tastes as great, so here it is for you to make too. And if you didn't know where to buy the spelt from before, now you do!

So what is spelt? Spelt is a heirloom variety of wheat, considered an 'ancient grain' as the grain itself has remained largely unchanged for thousands of years unlike the wheat in your typical supermarket flour that has been bred over time to suit our modern agricultural processes. It is nutritionally similar to wheat, but with a slightly higher protein and mineral content, and lower FODMAP content (not low but lower FODMAP). It is a gluten containing grain and should not be consumed by anyone on a strictly gluten free diet.

Healthy slice

Date, Apple & Spelt Slice

1 1/2 cups (approx 150g) rolled spelt
1 cup (approx 150g) pitted dates, chopped
1 cup boiling water
1 cup wholemeal spelt flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
50g melted butter (substitute melted coconut oil for dairy free)
2 Tbsp honey
2 Granny Smith apples, unpeeled, grated
1 Tbsp seeds (sunflower, chia, sesame, pepitas)

Preheat oven to 180°c and line a small rectangular baking tray.

Place the rolled spelt and chopped dates into a bowl, and pour the boiling water over the top of them. Into a larger mixing bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon and coconut. Create a well in the middle of the dry ingredients, and into the well add the spelt mixture, melted butter, honey and grated apple. Mix to combine.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tray and smooth the top with a spatula. Sprinkle your choice of seeds over the top and press lightly into the batter. Place tray in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, until light golden brown on top.

Leave to cool before slicing into bars, although you are forgiven if you just have to break a chunk off the end to eat warm! Should keep in an airtight container for 3-4 days.

Lunchbox friendly slice

This slice gets the lunchbox friendly tick as it has no nuts, and as a bonus it is sweetened only by the honey, dates and apple with no extra sugar added in. To make it dairy free just swap the butter for coconut oil, and to go on to make it vegan-friendly also swap the honey for pure maple syrup.

My 4 year old happily put away 2 slices of this, still slightly warm from the oven. I think it's a perfect morning or afternoon bite with a cup of tea.

Give it a try and let me know if it was a hit in the comments below!