I think you can probably agree with me, in that in terms of healthy eating, snacking is often where we spiral down hill FAST. Even if I plan to eat only the healthy meals I’ve packed to bring to work, around 3 pm my willpower starts to deplete and the voice coming from my coworkers candy drawer gets louder and more persistent. Damn those talking candy drawers. So instead of being unprepared and likely giving in to the abyss of vending machines and sugar comas, I decided to bake some filling, delicious, and healthy granola bars that would still satisfy my afternoon sweet tooth.
I decided that this was going to be an afternoon pick-me-up granola bar rather than a breakfast granola bar, so I put in some mini dark chocolate chips, mashed banana, peanut butter, almonds, and oats of course. I also threw in some wheat germ, flax seed, and sunflower seeds for extra protein.
The key to a good homemade granola bar is making sure you have enough “glue” for the dry ingredients. My glue consisted of brown sugar, honey, mashed banana, and peanut butter. Turned out to be just enough to hold the bars together but not too much that they were sticky/gooey.
Mix the glue with the dry ingredients and press them into a baking dish. Pop into the oven.
Before cutting them, let them cool COMPLETELY. I know you want to taste them. You think it’ll be fine. It won’t be. You must let them set completely so they don’t crumble. But if you do, the result is…
Nutritional highlights: Almonds, flax seed, wheat germ, oats, sunflower seeds, dark chocolate. All buzz words in nutrition right now. Even dark chocolate is ok in moderation and maybe even good for you. I love whatever scientist discovered that little fact. Even though these bars have some added sugar, every single ingredient is something you know and can read and even spell. For example, ingredients in a store bought bar that I used to eat because it had tons of fiber. Well check out what else it has. General rule of thumb: the longer the list of ingredients and the longer the words in that ingredient list, the more you should AVOID.
Dark Chocolate Chip Granola Bars with PB and Banana
- 1 2/3 cups rolled oats
- 1/3 cup oat flour (or oats ground finely in food processor; or whole wheat flour if you’re lazy)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 ripe banana, mashed
- 1/3 cup natural peanut or almond butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2-3 cups of nuts/fruits/chocolate: I used 1/3 cup wheat germ, 1/3 cup flax seed meal, 1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds, 2/3 cup whole almonds, and 1/2 cup mini dark chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease pan…I used a little canola oil spread with a paper towel.
2. Mix dry ingredients: oats, oat flour, salt, cinnamon, wheat germ, flax seed, sunflower seeds, almonds, and chocolate chips.
3. In separate bowl, mix sugar, honey, mashed bananas, oil, nut butter, vanilla extract. If it’s very thick, you can add 1 tablespoon of water.
4. Mix wet ingredients in with dry and press into prepared pan.
5. Bake for about 35 minutes and let cool completely before cutting. Let me repeat, COMPLETELY. Put in separate baggies and store in the fridge for an easy, amazingly tasty snack.