It’s ArtPrize in Grand Rapids. It’s time to get outside and walk around downtown with family and friends. During the art tours, make sure to pack healthy snacks for yourself and your kids. Sous Chef Bryan Nader from Mercy Health Saint Mary’s shares some of his favorite recipes that are great to take outside with you.

Granola Bars


2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal

1 cup sliced almonds

1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed

1/2 cup toasted wheat germ

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2/3 cup honey

1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup chopped pitted dates

1/2 cup chopped dried apricots

1/2 cup dried cranberries


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat an 8 by 12-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and line it with parchment paper.

Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.

Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the dates, apricots, and cranberries and stir well.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares. Serve at room temperature

Chocolate Dipped Granola Bars


6 cups rolled oats (not quick oats)

1/4 cup canola oil

4 tablespoons butter, melted, plus more for greasing

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup apple juice

1/4 cup molasses

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups rice cereal

1 cup wheat germ

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

1/4 cup roughly chopped almonds

8 ounces dark chocolate, melted


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a bowl, toss the oats with the canola oil, melted butter and salt. Spread the mixture out on 2 baking sheets and toast in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, shaking the pan twice and making sure they don't burn. Remove from the oven and set aside. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees F.

In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, honey, apple juice and molasses. Heat the mixture slowly, stirring until all combined. Stir in the vanilla and remove from the heat.

Toss together the toasted oats, rice cereal, wheat germ, pecans and almonds. Pour in the sugar mixture, stirring as you pour. Toss to combine; it will be sticky.

Press into 1 baking sheet (coated with nonstick cooking spray) and bake until golden, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Cut pieces with a sharp knife and remove from the pan. You can cut them while they're still warm if that's easier.

Dip the cooled granola bars straight into the melted chocolate so that the top is plain and the bottom is chocolate-covered. Set on parchment until set.

No Bake Cookies


1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter

3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1/3 cup golden raisins

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

2 tablespoons flaxseeds, wheat germ or chia seeds


Combine the honey, coconut oil, cocoa powder and salt in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the coconut oil is completely melted and the mixture is smooth and warm, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the peanut butter and stir until completely melted, another 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the oats. Cover with a lid for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and stir in the raisins, 1/3 cup of the coconut and the flaxseeds, wheat germ or chia seeds.

Use a round tablespoon to scoop, then level, the mixture. Sprinkle with some of the remaining coconut and press lightly onto the cookie. Use a small offset spatula to gently coax the cookie onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, coconut-side down. The mixture will be a little delicate and sticky at this point. Lightly flatten the cookie with the spatula or your fingers. Repeat this process with the remaining cookie mixture, to make about 20 cookies total.

Refrigerate the cookies on the baking sheet until they are completely chilled, at least 30 minutes. These cookies are best served very chilled.

Trail Mix


1 part peanuts or favorite nut

1 part dried fruit

½ part m&ms


Combine all ingredients and serve

Apple Chips


2 cups water

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 to 3 lemons, juiced

2 small apples, preferably a crisp, flavorful variety like Royal Gala or Winesap, washed and dried


In a small pot, combine the water and sugar and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Set aside to cool.

Place the apples on a flat surface. Using a mandolin or sharp knife, cut each one, placing the core end of the apple in front of the blade, into rounds as thin as you can manage. Remove any seeds as you cut and sprinkle them with lemon juice. Submerge the apple slices in the syrup and allow them to "rest" for a few hours or, even better, overnight.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.

Remove some of the apples from the syrup and lightly dry them on a kitchen towel. Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet with parchment or on a tray fitted with a baking rack. Note: you may want to place something heavy, like a metal spoon, at each end of the paper to prevent the paper from folding over as the chips bake. Bake in the oven until crispy, about 1 hour.