After spending a long time inspecting the ingredients on all the snack bar choices in the local food store, none of them -or at least their ingredients-justified a purchase to satisfy my craving. They had too much sugar, lacked good protein and contained many ingredients that had no nutritional value. However, I will be the first on to share that munching on a healthy and nutritious bar is an great way to curb mid-morning or mid-afternoon cravings. So imagine my let down when I can’t find the bars with the right crunch and combination.
With the help of nutritionist extraordinaire Ms. Syreeta Bernal, I have decided to make my own collection and I am sharing the nutritious fun with you. This by the way is a quick ploy to get other family members to chime in and create their own bar “menu” by choosing their own ingredients.
Here is one way of making your homemade Granola Bar!
From preparation time to consumption: 1 hour and 15 minutes. 15 mins-20 mins to prepare and mix all your ingredients and 45 mins to 1 hour to let the preparation settle in the fridge.
First remember this easy ratio:
2 cups of dry : 2 cups of wet
1 cup of roasted oatmeal (you can do that yourself–> spread the oats in a skillet and rotate the flakes for 5 minutes on medium to high heat. Remove when the oats are slightly browned).
1 cup of a mixture of shredded coconuts, puffed rice, puffed millet, chopped organic nuts, seeds or dried fruits of your choice
1 cup of raw honey
1 cup of almond butter or cashew butter or peanut butter
Step #1 In a medium sized pot, bring your honey to a light boil for 1 to 2 minutes then add your choice of butter and stir while on the stove until well mixed.
Step #2: Mix all the dry ingredients into a separate container.
Step #3: Add your wet mixture into the container of your dry mixture. Fold both wet and dry into a uniform consistency.
Step #4: Lay some parchment paper into a plate or bowl and and evenly spread 1 teaspoon of coconut or olive oil onto it to keep your mixture from sticking to it.
Step #5: Place the mixture onto the parchment paper. It will be a bit hot so use the back of a spoon to flatten it out onto the parchment paper. Depending on how finely you have chopped your nuts, seeds and dried fruit, 1/2 ” to 1 ” in thickness should be fine. Cover it up and place it in the fridge for 45 minutes to an hour. You want to give the honey and the butter mixture enough time to harden. When you take the mixture out, it should look like a huge bar. So cut it into bar size of your choice and wrap them individually in parchment paper.
TA DA! Our finished product, wrapped up.
Some of the many health benefits of this bar:
Oatmeal is well known for its cholesterol lowering properties and high fiber content. It also supports heart health. We roasted the oatmeal to add that extra crunch to the bar. With heart disease and diabetes on a steady rise and contributing to obesity, oatmeal is the star ingredient in your bar!
Raw Honey has a lower glycemic index than most sweetners. Glycemic index has you may already know is a number that represents a food ability to increase the level of glucose in the blood. The lower that number the better. You can also choose to substitute it with barley malt syrup which also has low glycemic index.
The nut butters provide great sources of protein, especially almond butter! Be aware that the nuts already have a fair amount of healthy “oils”. Choose your nut butters carefully so avoid the ones that have added sugars and added hydrogenated oils. Just keep it simple or grind your own at a local co-op food store.
You can expand your choice of dried berries for their anti-oxidant properties: goji, blueberries, cranberries. You can also add other dried fruits such as dried apples, bananas etc. However, keep track of sugar content, some dried fruit have added sugar as part of the processing. When in doubt use dehydrated fruits!
To top it off add 1 teaspoon of chia seeds or whole flaxseed to the mixture for taste and consistency. Whatever you do, remember your ratio of 2 cups dry:2 cups wet.
Don’t forget to hydrate after this bar. It is well worth at least two glasses of water to chase those nutritious fibers down. Enjoy and keep experimenting with fun and healthy foods!