We snack, and it’s all my fault.

Snacking gets a bad rap sometimes. Most Europeans scorn snacks, and plenty of people claim the road to overeating is paved with snacks. But I have always been much pleasanter to be around if fed at regular, frequent intervals. College friends learned to fetch me a banana if I started to wane, and you should see the cooler I packed when I was working full-time through my first pregnancy. One of the happiest years of my life was a year in Oxford, England, where I enjoyed breakfast, elevenses, lunch, tea, and supper every day. Heaven.

I’m not the mom who tells my kids to put on a sweater when I’m cold, but if I’m snacking, then chances are the kids are snacking, too. So far it hasn’t affected our ability to eat decent meals, either.

Maybe because most of the time, we try not to snack on junk. Emphasis on the “try.” It’s not always homemade muffins and fresh fruit around here at all, but lately we’ve been enjoying a new take on our old standard, Wonderballs, a bar that helps us all get from lunch to dinner without falling apart.

Nutty Bars

1/2 cup salted dry-roasted peanuts
1/2 cup roasted sunflower seed kernels, or use more peanuts or other nuts
1/2 cup dried cherries (or raisins or dried cranberries)
2 cups uncooked oatmeal, old-fashioned or instant
2 cups toasted rice cereal
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ

1/2 cup peanut butter, crunchy or creamy
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Set aside. Combine peanut butter and rice syrup in a glass measuring cup and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Add vanilla and stir until blended. Pour over the the dry ingredients and stir until everything is well coated. This is kind of a messy, stiff mixture, but stick with it as best you can, and then spread the mixture in a 9-inch square pan coated with non-stick spray. Spread a sheet of plastic wrap over the mixture and use that to press the mixture down firmly into the pan. Refrigerate for an hour or so, and then cut into bars.

Note: if you or your people are allergic to peanuts or other nuts, it’s easy — and still tasty — to make this with sunflower seed butter and pumpkin and sunflower seeds.