Are you someone that is always on the go, but still wants to make healthful food choices for yourself and your family? If so, granola bars may be just the snack you are looking for! They are an excellent grab-and-go option for a busy schedule, and their possibilities are endless!
Luckily, January 21st is National Granola Bar Day, which is a great time to think of some fun varieties for this snack.
Granola bars were originally created to be a healthy alternative to other snack options. However, since they are mass produced by big companies looking to make a profit, the ingredient list can be less than ideal. It’s important to read the nutrition label before you make a purchase, as some options can be loaded with sugar and void of essential nutrients. Reading the nutrition label will help you to pick the best choice for your body, and your budget!
5 Tips For Selecting Granola Bars
- Choose whole grains – On the ingredient list, the first one listed should be whole grains. Being listed first means that it is the most abundant ingredient in the product.
- Look for nuts, seeds and/or dried fruit – If the bar is not grain-based, these are other great options to look for.
- Select low sugar options – Some manufacturers can add an excessive amount of sugar to make their product sweet and desirable. Be aware of this!
- Choose unsaturated fats – Aim to limit bars with saturated and trans fats, but rather select ones that contain unsaturated fats from nuts and seeds.
- Limit sugar alcohols – These are chemically processed sugars and are typically used in place of sugar for less calories. It’s best to avoid these as much as possible as they can cause gastrointestinal distress when eaten in excess. When reading the label, look for foods that end in “-ol” like “sorbitol” and “xylitol”.
Finding the ideal product in the grocery store does not have to be a challenging task. As long as you are a smart shopper, and know what ingredients work best with your body, you can successfully make healthful choices!
Homemade Granola Bars
Making homemade granola bars are also an option if you would like to keep the cost of your snacking down and be fully aware of all the ingredients in them.
An easy way to make granola bars is to always start with the same “base” and then add in whatever you’d like. By always having a base, you’ll keep it simple and it’ll allow you to constantly switch up the type of granola bar you are making to keep it interesting.
Your base ingredients can be a combination of old-fashioned rolled oats, chopped nuts, honey, brown sugar, butter and a dash of vanilla extract. Then you can add in your mixings!
Here are 5 different ingredients you can add to your granola bars either mixed together or on their own:
- Dark chocolate contains antioxidants and is a great way to sweeten up your granola bars without overdoing it.
- Coconut is another sweetener that adds just enough flavor without being too sweet.
- Raisins/Cranberries are underrated dried fruits that go perfectly with the oats and nuts. They are a more natural way of adding sweetness.
- Peanut butter is the perfect way to make the granola bar even more filling to help keep you satiated between meals.
- Sunflower seeds can be mixed into granola bars to add more flavor to an already delicious snack.
If you’re still looking for more direction, here is a link to my recipe for Crunchy Blueberry Granola Bars that are simple, yet delicious and is the perfect homemade bar for you to try!
Creating these treats can actually be an easy and fun activity to do alone or as a family. There is an abundance of easy recipes that you can follow online, and any recipe can always be altered for specific preferences. Don’t be afraid to get creative!
Your turn to take action: Have you tried making granola bars at home? If so, what are your favorite ingredients to add? Let me know in the comments below!