Replace Additive Laden LCMs with These Chewy Caramel Rice Bars

LCM bars are popular in lunchboxes but they also have, on average, almost 2 teaspoons of sugar per bar. Hardly the sort of food to help with concentration in class. This refined sugar-free version includes a dose of protein and good fats and has been kid-approved at Lithgow’s Halloween 15 Festival (and by my own 2 of course!). I modeled this version off I Quit Sugar and Wholefood Simply – both are great sites for healthy refined sugar-free recipes.

Caramel Rice Bars

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Chilling Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes



  • Heat a frying pan over medium heat.
  • Toast puff rice in the dry frying pan – one cup at a time. Shake the pan to move them around and be careful – they can burn quickly. You just want them to get a little crunchy. Set aside in a large bowl.
  • Melt the butter.
  • Add the tahini, rice malt syrup, vanilla extract and salt. Stir over heat until it creates a thick caramel sauce.
  • Allow sauce to cool slightly.
  • Pour sauce over the toasted puff rice, and stir through until it’s all coated.
  • Line a lamington or similar tin with baking paper.
  • Turn the coated puffed rice into the tin and press into the tin quite firmly. You can use the back of a spoon to do this.
  • Put in fridge for about 2 hours for it to firm up.
  • Remove from the tin and cut into suitably sized bars for your lunchbox. I tend to make these more squares than bars.


Store in an airtight container in the fridge. They will be quite hard straight from the fridge but become chewy the longer they are out of the fridge. They can also be frozen and still maintain the same chewy texture in the lunchbox when they defrost.


  • Add some cacao to the butter mixture to create a chocolate version.
  • Add some mini chocolate chips or cacao crunch to the mix to create a choc chip version.
  • Add some peanut butter to the tahini mixture for a peanut butter version (not for at school).
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Course Appetizer, Breakfast, Dessert, Freezer Friendly, School Lunches, Snack, Special Occasion - Kids Party
Cuisine American
Keyword Caramel, rice puffs
Allergy FODMAP Friendly, Gluten Free, Legume Free, Nightshade Free, Nut Free, Peanut Free, Refined Sugar Free, Soy Free, Wheat Free
Value Halal, Kosher, Vegan, Vegetarian

Caramel Rice Bar Variations

Add some cacao to the butter mixture to create a chocolate version.

Add some mini chocolate chips or cacao crunch to the mix to create a choc chip version.

Add some peanut butter to the tahini mixture for a peanut butter version (not for at school).

Find more healthy, wholefood, kid-friendly recipes on Bel’s website, The Root Cause.

Share your healthy lunchbox creations with us on Instagram with #myTWC

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About the Author: Bel Smith

Belinda Smith is a Mum, a Health & Wellness Coach, and the creator of The Mad Food Science™ Program and The 5 Minute Healthy Lunchbox System™. Belinda has spent the past 2 years travelling Australia in their Big Green Bus “Kaley”, empowering kids to make better food choices, and making it easier for parents to get their kids eating healthier. Bel has visited 90 schools Australia wide and empowered over 20,000 children and parents to make better food choices. She is a Jamie Oliver Food Revolution Ambassador, and was dubbed “The Lunchbox Vigilante” by Channel 7 Sunrise. Bel appears regularly in national and regional TV, radio and press. Her vision is for kids to choose real food every day as their normal food.

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  1. Dilushani January 22, 2019 at 9:08 am

    I can’t have dairy. Can I replace it with something else?

    • Laini Oldfield January 22, 2019 at 9:38 am

      Hi Dilushani, yep I’m sure you could use either ghee (if you don’t have intolerance to that), or coconut oil! Let us know how it goes if you try it. Laini x

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