Granola bars are a solid choice as a grab-n-go when you are in a rush. Choosing a healthy snack between meals can help stave off hunger and are a good way to prevent over-eating later in the day. However, most of the granola, energy or protein bars found in the grocer (yes, even the organic or 'all-natural' brands) are packed with added sugar and preservatives. To make your between meal snack, truly a nutritious choice, try this easy recipe to make your own granola bars!
This recipe can be altered to suit your taste preferences. It is just a combination of whole grains (oatmeal, cereal and whole wheat flour), dried fruit, nuts, a touch of honey, and some eggs to bind everything together. You can also add in some protein powder or dry milk powder. Protein powder is expensive, but I know many folks have it on hand already. DO NOT go out and buy some just for this recipe- dried milk powder is a great, and INEXPENSIVE, way to add a little extra protein to recipes.
I usually use a combination of dried fruit, so use whatever you have on hand- chopped dates, raisins, dried cherries and craisins all work wonderfully. I like to use pecans because they have a great flavor- almonds, walnuts and peanuts also work very well.
Besides the ingredients, all you need is an oven, a baking dish and a food processor (you can use a blender if you don't have the food processor). Simply blend your dry ingredients in the food processor.
Homemade Granola Bars
1 cup quick oats
1 cup plain life cereal
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup vanilla protein powder or non-fat dry milk
1 cup roughly chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, etc)
1 1/2 cup your choice of dried fruit (I like doing a blend of chopped dates and craisins)
1 tsp cinnamon or ground ginger
2 Tb honey**
2 large eggs
1- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 13x9 baking dish with non-stick spray.
2- Blend oats, cereal, flour, dry milk (or protein powder), nuts, dried fruit and cinnamon (or ground ginger) in the food processor.
3- Add honey (**tip- spray the measuring spoon with non-stick spray to prevent honey from sticking to the tablespoon) and eggs and pulse until mixture is evenly moistened.
4- Dump the mixture into the baking dish and use your fingers to spread the mixture evenly in the pan. Spray a little of the non-stick spray on your fingers to keep the mixture from sticking to you- this helps you spread everything more evenly.
5- Bake for about 20-25 minutes in the pre-heated oven. The edges of the mixture should be browned. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Cut into 16 evenly sized bars. Remove to a cooling rack and let cool completely. These bars freeze well if tightly wrapped.