If you’ve read health articles saying granola bars aren’t really healthy, there’s actually truth to it, CGs!
Many of the popular brands we see at the groceries or health stores contain more than 350 calories per bar, which is more than what we need for a light snack [via Cooking Light]. Most of them are high in sugar (usually high fructose corn syrup, according to Shape magazine) and low in nutrients, but there are brands that deliver the right dose of healthy. You just have to read the labels wisely before buying. According to dietician Andrea Wilcox of ChickRx, make sure the bar contains whole grains, no more than 2g of saturated fat, 0g of trans fat, protein, at least 3g of fiber, and little added sugar.
Sweet and Salty Trail Mix
1/4 cup of two or more of the following nuts: almonds, pistachios, cashews, peanuts, and walnuts
1/4 cup of two or more of the following seeds: pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, flax, and hemp seeds
1/4 cup of dried fruits, such as mangoes, bananas, dates, berries, raisins, and figs
1/4 cup of whole grains, such as bran flakes, toasted oats, wheat cereals, whole-wheat crackers, and organic granola
Your seasonings of choice, such as sea salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, and curry
Mix everything in a dry bowl. Seal the mix in an airtight container and stash it in a cool, dry location to keep it fresh for as long as possible.
1. Choose unsalted nuts and add your own controlled measurement of seasoning.
2. The nuts mentioned above are the healthiest choices, but you may also opt for macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, and pine nuts. Just remember that they are higher in fat and calories, so use them in moderation.
3. Choose dried fruits that are low in added sugar and preservatives.
4. If you have nut allergies, use more seeds and whole grains.
5. Dried fruit gives your mix a natural sweetness. If you’re not in the mood for fruits but want something sweet, opt for dark chocolate and/or peanut butter baking chips.
6. For seasoning, feel free to experiment by sprinkling more than one type.
7. Keep your serving size to 1/4 cup. It may be a healthy snack, but eating too much trail mix can pack in the caloric punch.
No-Bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars
1 cup crisp puffed rice cereal (alternatives: brown rice cereal, organic granola, or millet)
1 and 3/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup sunflower seeds (alternative: pine nuts)
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (alternative: sliced almonds)
1/4 cup chia seeds (alternative: flax seeds in half the quantity)
1/2 cup maple syrup (alternatives: coconut syrup or honey)
1/3 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy, it’s up to you)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Mix all wet ingredients in a separate bowl and microwave for 20 seconds or until it’s warm and sticky.
3. Mix all wet and dry ingredients.
4. Place the sticky mixture in a shallow pan. Use a spatula to distribute evenly.
5. Place the pan in the refrigerator to chill.
6. Wait at least 30 minutes before taking it out of the freezer.
7. Slice into bars depending on the serving size you want.
8. Refrigerate what you can’t consume.