Fighting the snack time urge was one of the hardest parts of my day in college. The more I began to workout the more I craved food in the afternoon. Now that we are living the baseball life and dinner is served around 11 pm, snacking is simply mandatory. Eating a snack in the middle of the day is not bad for you, it’s what you choose to eat that can derail your freight train to Healthyville. A granola bar is an obvious snack choice; you can take it on the go, the carbs fill you up, and the sweetness takes away detours down to Candy Bar Lane. But have you looked at the nutrition stats of a granola bar lately? I mean, really looked at what you are eating? While most bars run in the 150-200 calorie range, they are packed with sugar and added artificial crap. Sugar = a big butt, it’s that simple. So when my sister Calli challenged me to make an on-the-go granola bar that had lower sugar than some of the other brands, I knew I was up for the challenge.
The school geek in me did some research on a variety of popular granola bars. Here are the statistics of the few I looked at versus the recipe below. You can see that these are lower in sugar than the other varieties and nearly double the weight (in grams). So you are getting twice the food with half the sugar! I’d say that’s a challenged accomplished.
|Weight (g)||Calories||Fat Calories||Sugar (g)||Fiber (g)|
|CIRS Fruit and Nut Granola Bars||85||195||68||10||7|
|Luna Bars- Chocolate Raspberry||48||190||45||13||5|
|Kind Bars- Almond and Apricot||40||170||99||13||5|
|Cliff Bars- Chocolate Chip PB Crunch||68||240||63||21||5|
|Think Thin Bars-||50||200||63||0||1|
Makes: 11 granola bars
Prep Time: 10 minutes Bake Time: 20 minutes
3 cups oats
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup agave (honey is fine too)
1 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup dried fruit (no added sugar!)
1/4 cup whole peanuts
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (try to find the darkest you can, 65% cocoa)
2 tbs sunflower seeds
2 tbs flax seed powder*
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray 11 muffin liners with cooking spray, place in their tins, and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the peanut butter, agave, unsweetened apple sauce, and vanilla extract. If the peanut butter is really tough you can microwave it for a few seconds first. Really stir to combine it all, otherwise you’ll have random peanut butter globs in your granola bars which is gross.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl. Stir really well so that everything is combined.
- Use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to portion out the granola bars. Pack the batter into the cup and then scoop it out with a spoon so that it’s even in the liner.
- Bake the granola bars for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to one week or freeze in individual plastic bags for use throughout the week!
* I love flax seed powder. It’s a great source of fiber and easily mixes into baked goods and oatmeal. You can find it at Whole Foods in the vitamin section (although it’s sort of pricey) but you can also fined milled flax seed in many bulk sections of market-type grocery stores! Sprouts and Sunflower both carry it for about $3 per pound.