I love a good granola bar. It’s basically like having portable nutrition in your hand! Mind you, a good quality product can often be hard to spot. Most large-chain grocers have entire aisles dedicated to this iconic food item. The tough part is distinguishing which one truly is a granola bar versus which one is…well..basically a chocolate bar.
Tips to sourcing a quality granola bar:
- When I’m on the hunt for a bar I try to look for something that has less than 8 – 9 grams of sugar and offers me up at least 3 grams of fibre.
- Protein is another POWERHOUSE nutrient that I scout for. If you’re looking for a nut-free product, it will be difficult to find a protein bar with more than 2 grams of protein. Otherwise, if nuts are your thang, you’ll likely have no trouble finding something that can offer you atleast 4 – 5 grams of protein.
- Look at the ingredient list and find something that is 100% whole grain.
- Avoid granola bars that are chocolate or yogurt covered. These bars can have upwards of 3 teaspoons of sugar in a small serving.
Or HAYYYYYY – how about making your own?
When I have a bit of extra time on my hands, I take pleasure in being able to make my own granola bars that I can snack on. The ingredients in this recipe (adapted from Cookspiration) include all the foods I enjoy eating as snacks: dates, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and hemp hearts are the super heroes behind this bar. Seriously, you’ll feel so good after making them, eating them…and maybe even sharing them. You’ll notice – the recipe doesn’t call for any refined sugar. The sweetness is brought to you naturally from the dates and honey. Don’t cha love nature?
Okay, recipe deets below:
- 1 ½ cup All Bran Flakes cereal (I used PC brand from Superstore)
- 1 ½ cup large flake oats
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup hemp hearts
- 1 cup dates (about 12 - 15 dates)
- ¼ cup honey or maple syrup for vegan option
- ⅓ cup almond or peanut-butter
- In a large nonstick skillet, toast oats, walnuts and pumpkin seeds over medium heat, stirring often for about 8 minutes or until light golden and fragrant. You'll even hear the pumpkin seeds "pop".
- Pour this mixture into a large bowl and let cool slightly; stir in bran flakes and hemp hearts.
- In the bowl of a food processor, pulse dates until finely chopped. For me, it rolls into one giant blob.
- In a small saucepan, heat together honey and almond butter over medium low heat until melted and smooth. Add dates and stir to combine.
- Pour into oat mixture and stir together until dates are distributed evenly throughout and oats are coated well.
- Press mixture into 23 cm (9 inch) parchment or foil lined baking pan and press to flatten evenly (warning: don't place it on a pan that's too big - you want the mixture to be "tight").
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until firm. Cut into bars and wrap individually with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for longer.
For more granola bar inspiration, here are a few ideas from my personal food friends:
- Dixya’s No Bake Oats and Peanut-butter Granola Bar
- Jessica’s Everything Granola Bar
- Jenn’s Chewy Granola Bar
- Getty’s Coffee Lover’s Energy Bar (I actually got to try some on a plane-trip with Getty!)
- Abbey’s No-Bake Gluten Free Peanut-butter Apricot Bar
- Caroline’s Ultimate Guide to Granola Bars and Bites
Food photography done by the talented Ceone Dyck. To learn more about Ceone click here or follow her on Facebook.
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– With Love, Carrots and Cake,