If you've been following my blog for a while you know that I'm a big believer in making your own food! Primarily because you control every single ingredient that goes into whatever you're making. Which is amazing because you then have the opportunity to make every single ingredient count towards building your health! WOOP WOOP! (That's me being excited about building our health!)
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The next time you're walking down the aisles of the grocery store, contemplating whether you should or should not buy an item, I want you to ask yourself this: Will it help build my health or will it work towards building disease? Simple, no?!
Ok, back to the chewy granola bars! This is an area where it's definitely better to make your own than buy many of the commercial brands that are sugar-laden, contain GMO's and have chemicals in them to extend their shelf-life. Scary stuff. If I'm not swaying you, I suggest this - the next time you sit down to one (or more) of your granola bars, pay attention to how you feel. Many of my clients complain of gut rot, gas, bloating, discomfort after eating their granola bars. Many of these companies claim to be healthy, containing only "natural" ingredients. But let's be honest, when sugar is the first ingredient listed and oats are trailing somewhere towards the end after the words that no one can pronounce, we can be sure they don't have our health as their top priority. Which is why I like to create my own!
These bars are chewy, nutty and when topped with dark chocolate drizzle - they are a real treat (especially when paired with your favourite cup of herbal tea). There are no wonky ingredients in this recipe, we are using natural sweeteners and oats are the first ingredient listed.
Chewy Granola Bars From Scratch
Makes: approximately 15 bars (depending on how you cut them)
2 cups Gluten-free oats
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup raw pistachios
1/4 cup chia seeds
3 tbsp coconut oil
Just shy 2/3 cup raw honey
Just shy 1/4 cup coconut sugar
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup dried fruit (ex. pitted dates, cranberries, apricots) - optional, I left it out.
7 oz. good quality dark chocolate
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Line a rectangular glass baking dish with parchment paper and set aside.
- On a cookie sheet combine oats, almonds, coconut flakes, raw sunflower and pumpkin seeds & pistachios. Bake 10-12 minutes until golden-brown. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and stir in ground flaxseed and chia seeds.
- Reduce the temperature of the oven to 300F.
- Combine coconut oil, raw honey, coconut sugar, vanilla and sea salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Be sure to keep your eyes on this and stir until everything is combined. Pour over toasted oatmeal mixture.
- Add in remaining ingredients: cinnamon & dried fruit (if using) & stir.
- Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and press down evenly.
- Bake 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 2-3 hours on a cooling rack.
- Optional: melt dark chocolate in a DIY double boiler. Be sure to constantly stir until all the chocolate is melted.
- Using a spoon or spatula, drizzle the chocolate over the bars. Allow it to cool or place it in the fridge to set.
- Cut into rectangular shaped bars and store in an airtight container at room temperature for a week (this will keep them chewy!) or in the refrigerator.
This is a great recipe to make on a Sunday afternoon - that way you have your healthy snacks already prepped for the week ahead!