What’s a simple on-the-go snack that you often found in your lunch bag? Mine were granola bars! Dipps, s’more, caramel, or classic chocolate chip all wrapped up in shinny packaging toting to be good for you. Fact is, some of these commercial granola bars have as much sugar as a chocolate bar AND offer a measly 1 gram of fibre.
When I was eating these daily as a “healthy” snack in between University classes, I wasn’t paying attention to the ingredients or the particular nutrients in the bar…I looked at the calories. A common bar I used to choose only had 110 calories but it was small and didn’t do much for keeping my stomach full. Also it was full of sugar, shortening, and white refined grains that can spike blood sugars and cause inflammation in the body.
Generally I think of these commercial granola bars as treats. Some are better then others, so if you’re needing to buy them, compare your labels and try and look for ones lower in sugar and higher in fiber! Or better yet, granola bars are super easy to make and you can pretty much throw anything in them to make them your own! Flax, chia, hemp seeds, oats, and nuts can really amp up the fibre and provide a source of protein, antioxidants (ex. Vitamin E), and healthy fats all which helps us feeling and looking good from the inside out.
* Bonus – when making bars I like to clean out my pantry and use up random things I had bought for other recipes!
Here is one of many granola bar recipes that I like to make…sometimes I don’t even measure so feel free to have fun with them!
On-the-Go Glow Bars
1/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped and roasted*
1/4 cup almonds, finely chopped and roasted*
1 1/2 cups gluten free rolled oats
1 1/2 cups gluten free brown rice crisp cereal
1/4 cup pepita seeds
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1 Tbsp hemp or ground flax seeds
1/4 cup dried cranberries (or dried blueberries)*
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup raw honey (or maple or agave syrup)
1/4 natural organic peanut butter (can try almond butter as well)
1 tsp vanilla extract
*to roast nuts – spread on baking sheet and place in preheated oven at 300°F for about 8-10 minutes. Watch them closely so they don’t burn. Set aside to cool.
*try to get dried unsweetened cranberries if you can!
1. Prepare a square cake pan (9×9″) with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, add oats, cereal, pepitas, chia seeds, hemp seeds, cranberries, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the roasted walnuts and almonds.
3. In a small saucepan, mix together honey and peanut butter. Cook over medium heat until mixture bubbles slightly. Remove pan from heat and stir in the vanilla.
4. Pour the honey mixture over the dry ingredients and stir well until all of the oats and nuts are coated.
5. Spread the mixture onto the prepared cake pan into an even layer. Press, compact and even out the mixture as much as you can with your hands.
6. Place pan into freezer for 10 minutes. Remove and cut into bars using a serrated knife. Store in air tight container in fridge or freezer.