On the surface granola bars look like a healthy snack. Loaded with oats and other brown crunchy ingredients, there’s no way these can’t be the perfect packaged snack, right? For a long time, that’s what I thought! In a rush? Grab a granola bar. Need a quick snack? Grab a granola bar! Want a healthy dessert? Hello, granola bar! It wasn’t until I was in college that I decided to take a closer look. Granola bars, while seemingly healthy, are actually candy bars in a crunchy disguise. They are usually loaded with sugar and filled with processed ingredients.
Finding a granola bar that is low in sugar, high in fiber, made from whole foods, and tastes delicious is no easy feat. That’s why I’ve always opted to make my own. Not only are these much healthier than their store-bought counterparts, but they are easy to make and a great way to introduce little ones to the kitchen. So whether you’re a parent, grandparent, aunt, or uncle, creating your own granola bars is a fun, tasty, and healthy way to bond.
- 3 cups oats
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup maple syrup or honey
- ½ cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, shredded coconut)
- Seeds (sesame seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds)
- Dried fruit (cranberries, cherries, apricot, dates)
- Spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cocoa powder, orange or lemon zest)
- Dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a large bowl, add oats and water. Stir until all oats are moist.
Add your add-ins and stir until well combined. In a separate bowl mix together maple syrup or honey, coconut oil, and vanilla extract. Pour into oat mixture and combine until everything is sticky.
In a sprayed or parchment-lined baking dish, pour granola mixture into it. Press down firmly and evenly. Cut into 8 bars before baking, but do not remove the bars from the dish.. Bake for 30-45 minutes, until slightly browned. Let cool, separate, and enjoy as a quick breakfast or afternoon snack. Store leftovers in an airtight container.
What will you add to your granola bar? Share your ideas in the comments below!