Make room for Super Peanut Buttery Chocolate Bars!
Sounds super unhealthy, right?! When I think of a granola bar, I think: Health TRICK! On the outside, it looks so yummy and so healthy with all of those oats and....umm, oats. That's the healthy part. The rest is typically JUNK! Don't be fooled, and read your labels. Not all granola bars are bad, but the ones that look tempting to your child may really be hiding some unwanted ingredients, like artificial stuff.
Get the kids involved in making their very own Granola bars, and likely you'll have a fun activity with a yummy reward at the end. While we may not be saving a ton of overall calories, you can pronounce everything that's going into your little one's body, and they are getting a healthy dose of fiber. I had a piece of my reward, and let me tell you, even for this pregnant girl with a bottomless pit for a stomach, a half of a serving was plenty to fill me up!
What you'll need:
Super Peanut Buttery Chocolate Bars:
* 2 1/4 cup rolled oats
* 1/4 cup wheat germ (you can get this at The Fresh Market for under $2/lb!)
* 1/3 cup brown sugar, unpacked
* 1/2 tsp sea salt
* 1 tsp cinnamon
* 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
* 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
* 1 Tbsp grapeseed oil
* 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
* 2 eggs
(*Optional ingredients: dried fruits and nuts)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9x9 inch pan with non stick spray. Mix together the oats, wheat germ, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. In another smaller bowl, mix well the rest of the ingredients. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until well coated. Press the mixture into the pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool completely in the refrigerator, then cut into 12 bars. Serve immediately or wrap in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for a week's worth of on-the-go snacking!
Dairy: serve with a cup of low fat milk (for those older kiddos)
Grain: whole rolled oats and wheat germ
Fruit: n/a (unless you add dried fruits)
Protein: natural peanut butter, eggs
When I thought about making granola bars, I was really discouraged by what looked like a tedious process. It actually was fast and easy! While the nutritional contents of these bars vs a store-bought bar aren't vastly different (25 or so less calories, a gram or 2 less in fat, sugar, carbs), what's in them is. Check out the ingredients list on the Quaker Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip granola bar (copied straight from their website):
GRANOLA (WHOLE GRAIN ROLLED OATS, BROWN SUGAR, CRISP RICE [RICE FLOUR, SUGAR, SALT, MALTED BARLEY EXTRACT], WHOLE GRAIN ROLLED WHEAT, SOYBEAN OIL, WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR, SODIUM BICARBONATE, SOY LECITHIN, CARAMEL COLOR, NONFAT DRY MILK), CORN SYRUP, BROWN RICE CRISP (WHOLE GRAIN BROWN RICE, SUGAR, MALTED BARLEY FLOUR, SALT), PEANUT BUTTER SPREAD (PEANUTS, SUGAR, PALM OIL, SALT), SEMISWEET CHOCOLATE CHIPS (SUGAR, CHOCOLATE LIQUOR, COCOA BUTTER, SOY LECITHIN, VANILLA EXTRACT), INVERT SUGAR, PEANUT FLAVORED CHIPS (SUGAR, PALM KERNEL AND PALM OIL, PARTIALLY DEFATTED PEANUT FLOUR, LACTOSE, DRY WHEY, DEXTROSE, CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, SOY LECITHIN, SALT, VANILLIN [ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR]), CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, GLYCERIN. CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF CALCIUM CARBONATE, SORBITOL, SALT, WATER, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, BHT (PRESERVATIVE), CITRIC ACID.
Our ingredients list: Rolled oats, wheat germ, brown sugar, chocolate chips (sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, milk fat, soy lecithin, vanillin), peanut butter (peanuts), salt, apples, eggs, expeller pressed grapeseed oil.
So this was my starter kit for making homemade granola bars. I figured, if we don't like the peanut butter and chocolate ones, I'm sure to mess up the almond flaxseed ones. So off on my next adventure to come up with some yummy, nutrient-packed granola bars for the adults (and some daring kiddos!)
Cherry Dark Chocolate
Any other ideas? I have all kinds of ingredients from dried cranberries and blueberries to almond butter and sunflower seeds. Time to get creative....