I love granola bars. Especially the crunchy kind. They can be a really healthy between meal snack. But it seems like the choices for these tasty treats these days is either highly processed sugar bars from the grocery store or really expensive soft chewy bars at the health food store. For that reason I experimented over and over again to find the recipe that made my bars not only really healthy, but also containing that nice crunchy texture that I like. Each batch costs me about $8 bucks and gives me around 16-20 bars. You do the math. Here’s what I do…
Healthy Crunchy Granola Bars
Prep time: 25 minutes Cook time: 22 minutes Makes: 16-20 bars
I like to use all organic products, but whatever you choose is ok.
- 1 1/2 cups puffed rice, wheat, or kamut (or a combination of any of them)
- 2 1/2 cups whole rolled oats, not instant oats (I like to toast them for ten minutes at 325 first)
- 1/2 cup textured vegetable protein (sometimes I substitute raw Teff of Grape nuts, but TVP works just fine)
- 1 1/4 cup chopped nuts, seeds, and dried fruit of your choice (often I will buy a bag of mixed organic nuts seeds and dried fruit and use that instead of buying individual packages of each)
- 3 tbsp. raw whole flax seeds
- 1/4 cup raw cacao(cocoa) powder, or raw cacao nibs
- 5 tbsp. nut butter (peanut, almond, or sunflower is fine)
- 4 tbsp. raw honey
- 4 tbsp. raw agave syrup (or brown rice syrup)
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line an edged cookie sheet with a long piece of parchment paper, or simply grease the cookie sheet liberally with some vegetable oil being sure to hit the edges too. I don’t use the parchment paper, but some people seem to really like using it.
2. In a medium saucepan add nut butter, raw honey, vanilla, and agave syrup and heat on low, stirring regularly until everything is melted and somewhat smooth.
3. While liquids are warming add all of the dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl and mix well with a spoon or your hands.
4. Pour melted liquid mixture over dry mixture and mix well with a spoon or your hands making sure everything is evenly coated. Spread the mixture onto your pan and press evenly. I like to make mine about 1/2 inch thick but that’s up to you. *IMPORTANT* Packing it really hard to the pan helps ensure that it will get good and crunchy. I always use the bottom of my largest measuring cup to press the mixture pressing it really firmly, it works great. Put the pan into your preheated 325 degree oven for 22 minutes.
5. As soon as you take it out of the oven immediately pack it again with the flat bottom of your measuring cup, this is important. Let them cool almost completely before cutting your bars. Enjoy the crunchy, healthy deliciousness.
We all need to start somewhere, right? When I think about this topic I’m reminded of an old, often used saying. “Beware, all bad things come in threes.” I can tell you from personal experience that this one here seems to be true sometimes. However, as I am ever the optimist these days, I also believe that good things come in threes as well. Looking back through my early recovery days from addiction to where I am now I am able to actually see the journey in the big picture sense and recognize what actually had to take place in order for this to happen. Whether it is a quest to overcome addiction or alcoholism, an attempt to improve on poor health, or even create new lifestyle choices that will keep you from dangerous situations in life, I believe that three steps need to take place.
Step One: The Need
It takes some time to get to the place where we need some help addressing a health problem. We don’t become overweight, diabetic, hypertensive, out of energy, sugar dependant etc. etc. in just a couple of weeks. However, often times signs of bad health are rearing their ugly heads long before we acknowledge the fact that there is a problem. Most of us know someone that we have watched slowly go down hill with their health. Maybe they have slowly gained a considerable amount of weight, or they are tapped out of energy all the time. Maybe they always seem to be kind of “crabby” and just really aren’t themselves. Perhaps they are drinking too much or taking drugs to self medicate and block out the reality of what is really going on. There is a good chance that some people reading this right now have experienced some of this too, or even more. But what gets people to that place where they themselves will actually accept the fact that they need help?
My experience is that as humans we love to swim in that cesspool of denial. “Things aren’t really that bad.” “I still have my job and my family loves me”, and on and on it goes. But deep down we know something is not right. What typically happens is that people won’t acknowledge that they need help with something until something bad happens, usually it’s when a doctor or health care practitioner says, “hey, your not in good health, you need to do some things differently or your gonna get really sick.” Sound familiar? Well, it doesn’t need to be that way. If you know in your heart that you are not where you want to be this first step is really easy. It’s all about acceptance. All you have to do is sit for awhile with yourself, take a look inside and see the truth, and simply say the words “I need some help with my health.” The beauty of this step is that you still don’t really have to do any work. It’s just words for now my friend. You have acknowledged and accepted the need. Congratulations, you just completed step one.