After doing a segment on The Morning Blend television show on healthy swap out foods for your children, I had a novel idea to make some homemade kick butt granola bars that not only your kiddies will love, but you can feel good about indulging in yourself.
The problem with most store bought granola bars, even many of the ones labelled organic, all natural or gluten free, is that they are usually loaded with a TON of sugar, high fructose syrup, vegetable oils like canola and soybean oil, and other fillers and preservatives.
So, while you are packing that granola goodness in junior’s lunchbox with all the love and good intention, it is unfortunately, not the most nutritious snack he could be munching on.
The GREAT news is that making granola bars is seriously one of the easiest things I have made…seriously. No baking or oven needed.
Also, it is a great way for your kids to get in on the action.
Let them pick out which nuts, seeds, dried fruit and even maybe chocolate pieces they want to have in their bars and watch them gobble up each little bite. Kids like choice and this is a great way to give it to them.
CHEWY GRANOLA BARS
*The following recipe is the one I thoroughly enjoy but feel free to swap out or add any other nuts, dried fruit, coconut flakes, raw cacao or nut butters.
**I recommend soaking all of the nuts and seeds over night in water. However, don’t fret if you forgot and don’t have time. Food isn’t supposed to wreck your head.
1 c of sliced almond
1 c cashew pieces
1 c walnuts, pecans or almonds
1 c sunflower seeds (unsalted)
1 c pumpkin seeds (unsalted)
1 c of dried cranberries, raisins or any dried fruit
8 fresh medjool dates, pitted and chopped
½ c coconut oil
½ c cashew or almond butter (only if making bars. Do not need for granola)
2 tbsp of raw honey or grade B maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp of cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 300.
- Melt coconut oil, raw honey/maple syrup, cashew/almond butter in a saucepan on the lowest heat.
- In a food processor or high speed blender (Vitamix), chop all nuts and seeds on low until it is evenly crumbled.
- Add pitted dates, cinnamon, vanilla extract and coconut honey mixture and continue to blend on low for 3 minutes or until mixture starts to get sticky and makes clumps.
- Line a 5×7 pan with wax paper or parchment paper.
- Remove mixture from blender and pour into pan.
- If making bars, press mixture evenly throughout the pan. Otherwise, leave in loose crumbles.
- Using an additional sheet of wax paper, press the top of the bars firmly with your hands.
- Place bars or granola in the oven and bake for 40 minutes.
- If making granola, stir the granola after about 20 minutes to get an even bake.
- Allow to cool before cutting bars. Granola should be stored in a air tight container and preferably in the refrigerator.
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