During Women’s Health Month, let’s not forget how important vitamins are for our eyesight. Eating foods packed with antioxidants will help strengthen our immune system while also reducing the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Both diseases develop over time and can result in vision loss. The dietary choices we make – even when snacking – can affect our eye health over the long-term.
When it comes to snacks, dried apricots are a great place to start. Apricots are an excellent source of vitamin A which is essential for eye health. Research shows that getting adequate amounts of vitamin A in your diet can reduce your risk of dry eyes, night blindness and vision loss from cataracts or AMD. And only one cup of dried apricots provides you with enough vitamin A for the day! Apricots also contain vitamin E, another antioxidant that may slow the development of cataracts, reduce the risk of AMD and slow its progression.
Since the apricots in this recipe are dried, you don’t have to wait for apricot season. You can make these yummy, chewy apricot pistachio oat bars year-round. Take care of yourself. Treat yourself and those you love to a snack that promotes eye health.
Ingredients (16 bars):
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 ½ cups old-fashioned oats
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup butter, melted
- ⅓ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup dried apricots, chopped
- 4 tablespoons shelled pistachios, chopped
- 1 tablespoon finely shredded coconut
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 7×11 inch baking dish with tin foil and lightly grease the inside of the foil.
- Combine wheat flour, oats, brown sugar, sea salt and cinnamon. Stir in the wet ingredients – melted butter, applesauce and vanilla extract. Carefully fold in chopped apricots and 3 tablespoons of chopped pistachios (reserve 1 tablespoon for topping).
- Transfer mixture into pan. Batter will be sticky, so use a spatula or knife to press it down so that it is ½-inch thick.
- Mix remaining 1 tablespoon of chopped pistachios with shredded coconut and sprinkle across top.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Cut into 16 rectangular bars. Store in an airtight container.