During the school year, I am a big-time snacker and constantly find myself searching for something to nibble on during lectures. Normally I pack a banana or store-brought granola bar, but this past week I’ve been enjoying these granola bars that I made at home with some very healthy ingredients. Knowing exactly what goes into them, and how to pronounce each ingredient, is a huge health advantage that fills me up between classes with minimal guilt. I may have a baking blog, but I can’t survive on cupcakes and ice cream (although I wouldn’t be opposed), and believe it or not I’m usually a healthy eater. When you have snacks like these who wouldn’t be?
They’ve got oats, whole wheat flour, wheat germ, flax seeds, whole almonds, banana, peanut butter, and a little honey, a handful of mini chocolate chips, and some brown sugar to sweeten them up. That’s probably the most extensive list of healthy ingredients you’ll find on this blog, but I must admit they bake up together quite deliciously. Granted I lower my tastiness standard a bit with snacks meant to be healthy, but I enjoyed these a lot. Like muffins and cupcakes, anything baked with a banana generally ends up with a pretty strong banana flavor, and these bars are no exception. Fine by me, but try applesauce instead if you’re not a big banana fan.
Just wrap the bars individually and keep on hand in the fridge for a week of delicious snacks! This recipe comes from one of my bestest friends Marissa. Hop on over to her site full of healthy recipes, Get Off Your Tush and Cook, if you ever need a detox from all the sweetness over here.
I chose a healthier recipe this week not only for the obvious nutritional benefits, but also so I could advertise a fundraiser I’m involved in, Sponsor a Smile, that biannually provides new toothbrushes and tubes of toothpaste to elementary-school children in Hartford. It wouldn’t exactly be appropriate to link the cause with a super sugary, cavity-causing snack! The underprivileged children of Hartford might not make it to the dentist twice a year, but with the right tools at home provided through this charity, they can dramatically improve their oral health. I’m running in the Hartford Marathon this Saturday (only 5 miles in a relay, not the whole 26.2) as a means to garner support and funds for this cause. If you’re interested in learning more, or making a donation, please visit our website.
Homemade Healthy Granola Bars
Adapted from Get Off Your Tush and Cook
1-2/3 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 tbsp canola oil
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup peanut butter (or almond butter if you’re super healthy)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 cups of mix-ins, I used: 1/3 cup wheat germ, 1/3 cup flax seeds, 1/3 cup almond meal, 2/3 cup whole almonds, and 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (feel free to also use dried fruits or other nuts too!)
– Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×13 pan
– Combine oats, flour, salt, cinnamon, wheat germ, flax seeds, almond meal, almonds, and chocolate chips in a large bowl
– In a separate bowl, mix sugar, honey, mashed bananas, oil, peanut butter, and vanilla extracts until well combined.
– Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well
– Press into prepared pan, using a spatula to smooth out the top
– Bake for about 35 minutes (or longer if you want a crunchier granola bar). Allow bars to cool COMPLETELY before cutting. Eat them right away, or wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in the fridge.