Recently in a challenge group we were asked to use the Fooducate app to see how some of our favorite foods rated. This app is awesome to help you determine a healthy a food rates by scanning the barcode.
Since I had just returned from vacation I used it on those wonderful crunchy granola bars that I took along for snacks. I thought for sure it would get an outstanding rating. But alas my heart was broken, it did not! Reading the ingredients I realized that although the bar I thought was healthy did contain some healthy ingredients but it also contained some not so healthy ones like sugar, canola oil, and corn syrup…..
I really like granola bars! They are great for breakfast on the run or a quick snack. Great for traveling too! Crunchy, nutty and slightly sweet. I decided I would have to make my own. That was all there was to it. I was determined to make one that was full of clean healthy super foods and tasted great!
I read recipe after recipe and all the reviews that cam with them. I looked in my pantry, had no desire to run to the store and grabbed some ingredients and created my own! I only used 7 ingredients (the picture below is missing the cinnamon as it was an after thought…). The recipe does not include flour or refined sugar.
All 7 ingredients are considered to be super foods. They include organic oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, peanut butter, honey, cinnamon and chia seeds.
Oats: Oats have a low glycemic index, helping to regulate blood glucose levels. They are high in fiber which is good for heart and digestive health. Oats contain lots of B vitamins for maintaining healthy metabolism!
Almonds: These popular nuts contain “good” fat which lowers cholesterol. They are good for heart health. Almonds are rich in Vitamin E which is an important antioxidant that may help prevent cancer or heart disease.
Raw Pumpkin Seeds: These seeds are a superfood power house! 1 ounce contains 9 grams of protein! tryptophan – improve mood, reduce anxiety and stress and improve sleep patterns; low in carbohydrates; low on glycemic index. They are high in fiber. Pumpkin seeds contain a variety of B vitamins, so they have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties. They contain vitamin K wich helps maintain bone density, reduce risk of heart disease, kidney stones, osteoporosis…; And are high in minerals such as magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, iron, copper and zinc!
Peanut Butter: Boosts weight loss and helps build muscles. It is high in protein and rich in potassium and magnesium. It also contains vitamins E and B6 that promote heart health and brain function. Peanut butter is also rich in antioxidants. Regular consumption of peanuts and peanut butter fights off certain types of cancer especially colon cancer.
Honey: Honey has long been used to treat countless health conditions such as sore throats, slowing aging, healing wounds, providing energy and much more!! It possesses antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiseptic, and antioxidant properties. It can even help arthritic joints.
Cinnamon: This spice has long been used in medicine. It has been found to help muscle spasms, common cold, loss of appetite! It may help lower blood pressure. It is loaded with powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties!
Chia seeds: One ounce of these tiny seeds contains 11 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, 18% of the RDA of calcium; magnesium, manganese and phosphorus. One ounce also contains only 1 gram of digestible carbohydrates! Best of all they are loaded with antioxidants! (1 ounce equals about 2 tablespoons).
The recipe is simple. Combine all the ingredients in s bowl and knead the heck out of it until everything sticks together! The dough will be sticky! Rubbing coconut oil on your hands before kneading will help keep the dough from sticking to your hands. Reapply as needed until the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Firmly pat the dough into a 8 1/2 x 11 parchment lined pan and bake! After they have slightly cooled, before they get too hard cut them into bars.
You can easily add to this recipe or change it up: almond butter in place of peanut butter; different nut and seed combinations, almond extract, and even some dark chocolate chips or dried fruit such as cranberries. Have fun and let us know what combinations you come up with!
Healthy Granola Bars!
These crunchy granola bars are full of superfood nutrition! They are easy to make and versatile!
Line a 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper (bottom and sides)
In a small bowl mix together the peanut butter and honey. until creamy. If it is too thick heat it in the microwave for a few seconds so it mixes easily. If it is a little runny that is ok.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, chia seeds, almonds, pumpkin seeds and cinnamon.
Pour the peanut butter mixture over the oat mixture and knead the heck out of it until it is mixed well. It should be sticky! You may want to coat your hands with coconut oil to keep the dough from sticking to them.
Firmly press the dough evenly into the greased pan.
Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool the pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.
Holding on to the parchment paper lift the granola bar out of the pan to a flat surface.
As soon as it cools cut it into 16 bars.
If you cut it into bars before it cools the bars will crumble. However no loss, it is great to add to yogurt for a little extra crunch!
By Donna Englestad
Coastal Girl Food n' Fitness http://coastalgirlfoodnfitness.com/
Hi! This is Donna. I am a grandmother, mom, wife, and a teacher. I also love cookbooks, love to bake and really enjoy food! At age 56 I have developed a love of fitness after losing 46 pounds on the 21 Day Fix! I have always struggled with my weight! When menopause struck and things got totally out of control… My weight only went up not down. My muffin top turned into a bakery shelf. I desperately wanted to lose weight and improve my health. I wanted to be able to play and keep up with my beautiful grandchildren. Nothing I tried worked until I found the 21 Day Fix. Now instead of a tight size 16 I wear a comfortable 8 and even some 6’s! At age 56 I am in the best shape of my life. My current goals are to improve my strength and to continue toning my body. I along with my daughter, Danielle, am here to help you reach your own fitness goals! You are never too young or old to become fitter, healthier, and stronger!