Homemade Granola Bars
Sabine Thomas, ND ('07), spent a long time inspecting the ingredients of granola bar choices until she decided the most nutritious option was to simply make her own. "They had too much sugar, lacked good protein and contained many ingredients that had no nutritional value," she says on her blog. With help from Syreeta Bernal, Dr. Thomas put together a recipe that combines heart-healthy oatmeal — toasted to give your granola bar the perfect crunch — the lower-glycemic honey as a sweetener, and protein-rich nut butters. She notes that you can get creative with this recipe, as long as you stick to a ratio of 2 cups of dry ingredients and 2 cups of wet.
Heat a skillet to medium-high and add oatmeal, stirring until fragrant, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium pot bring honey to a light boil for 1 to 2 minutes, then add nut butter and stir until well mixed.
Mix all the dry ingredients into a separate container. Add your wet mixture into the container of your dry mixture. Fold both wet and dry into a uniform consistency.
Line a 9-by-12-inch baking pan with parchment paper and evenly spread 1 teaspoon of coconut or olive oil onto it to keep your mixture from sticking to it. Place the mixture onto the parchment paper. It will be a bit hot so use the back of a spoon to flatten it out onto the parchment paper.
Cover it up and place it in the fridge for 45 minutes to an hour. After the honey and butter mixture has hardened, you can cut the mixture into squares or bars, then wrap them individually in parchment paper.
Expand your choice of dried berries for their antioxidant properties, for instance, goji, blueberries and cranberries. You can also add other dried fruits such as dried apples, bananas, etc. However, keep track of sugar content, some dried fruit have added sugar as part of the processing. When in doubt use dehydrated fruits!
To top it off, add 1 teaspoon of chia seeds or whole flaxseed to the mixture for taste and consistency. Whatever you do, remember your ratio of 2 cups dry:2 cups wet.
Don’t forget to hydrate after this bar. It is well worth at least two glasses of water to chase those nutritious fibers down. Enjoy and keep experimenting with fun and healthy foods!