You Heart What You Eat: No Bake Granola Bar
Steamboat Springs — Granola Bars used to be something I loved to buy, eat, share and feed my kids when we were on the run. They were one of my favorite treats until I started budgeting my grocery bill — too expensive if you think about how small they are, and even the “healthiest” have a considerably high sugar content. So one day, I trolled Google to find the best homemade granola bar recipe, and after the trial and error of about five or six different attempts, I found one I not only liked, but loved, and I really didn’t change a whole lot of the ingredients to make my kiddos’ favorite bars.
While dates are packed with iron, fiber and vitamins, seeds are something I didn’t really think about including until I learned my son’s school had a ban on nuts. Without compromising or eliminating my children’s favorite health snacks, I decided to replace the nuts with seeds. Chia seeds help regulate blood sugar and are anti-inflammatory and high in fiber. Flaxseed, high in fiber as well, also have omega-3 fatty acids. Pumpkin seeds promote better sleep, contain vitamins K, E, B and have anti-microbial properties. And hemp seeds are high in protein, phytonutrients, omega 3s and contain all 20 amino acids.
These bars are cheaper than any boxed brand; I calculated about 50 cents per bar or less, depending on how much you purchase in bulk, so don’t be afraid to stock up and make a stash for your family.
No Bake Granola Bars
- 1 cup packed dates (pitted)
- 1/8 cup honey
- 1/8 cup maple syrup
- 1⁄4 cup almond, sunflower or peanut butter
- 1 1⁄2 cups rolled oats
- 1⁄4 cup seeds (chia, hemp, flaxseeds are delicious)
- 1⁄4 cup dried fruit (cherries, cranberries or raisins are my favorites)
- 1⁄4 cup mini dark chocolate chips
Process dates in a food processor until small bits remain or roll into a ball. Place oats, seeds, dried fruit, dates and chocolate bits into a bowl and set aside.
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Add the warm honey, syrup and nut or seed butter to a small saucepan over low heat until combined. Stir and pour over oat mixture, breaking up the dates to disperse throughout.
Once thoroughly mixed, transfer to an 8×8 dish or other small pan lined with parchment and press down until uniformly flattened.
Cover with plastic wrap and allow to set in refrigerator or freezer for 15 to 20 minutes to harden.
Remove from pan and chop into even bars (makes about 10). Store in an airtight container in the freezer to keep them extra fresh for longer. Enjoy.
You Heart What You Eat is a weekly blog offering a twist of healthy alternative tips and recipes for some of our most coveted comfort foods. From decadent desserts to main dish favorites, you’ll surely look forward to our next edition. Questions or suggestions you’d like included in one of our future blogs should be directed to Tera Johnson-Swartz via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tera Johnson-Swartz is a mommy first, but also enjoys working one of her many, many side gigs, be it freelance writing, music, massage therapy, independent childbirth, lactation or health education. She is eternally grateful she is able to follow her passion each and every day, loves her supporting husband and their two young children and couldn’t imagine living a better life outside the city limits of Steamboat Springs.
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The theme of this year’s Restaurant Week is “Satisfying a Mountain of Appetites,” as local restaurants offer select menus and specials for the duration of the week, which begins Friday and ends Oct. 2.