School Snacks! Healthy, Chewy, Granola Bars.

Granola bars are one of the snacks of choice for many children, and adults too.  They are convenient, they taste good, and they fill you up.  But are they healthy?  Most granola bars are high in sugar and salt and in many cases, contain high fructose corn syrup.  Lots of granola bars contain soy ingredients, and most, unless they specify it or are certified organic, contain genetically modified ingredients.  They are also individually wrapped in plastic or foil which is unsustainable and adds unnecessary waste to the landfills.  Fortunately, they are easy to make, can be made with less sugar and salt than commercial bars, and can contain wholesome, natural ingredients. 

Until recently I haven’t made a granola bar that ALL of my kids enjoy ALL OF THE TIME.  But now I have, and this recipe is so flexible you can change the flavour easily by adding different fruits, nuts, seeds, and more.  These bars hold together nicely, are sweet enough to keep the children coming back for more, and are low enough in sugar to make most moms happy.

For this recipe I have used organic sunflower seed butter.  Sunflower seed butter is higher in protein than peanut butter, has a great flavour, and is generally safe to send to nut-free schools.  It is low in saturated fats, cholesterol-free, low in sodium, and high in vitamins, especially vitamin B.  Click here for more information on the health benefits of sunflower seeds.  Rather than adding a highly-processed protein powder to make a protein bar, this bar is naturally and safely high in protein.  With grains from the organic oats, protein from the seeds and seed butter and fruit from the dried fruit, this bar is pretty much a complete meal and a great snack for anyone.

Ingredients

  • 2 c. rolled oats or multigrain cereal
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/3 c. oat flour
  • 1/2 c. crisp rice cereal
  • 1/4 c. demerara cane sugar (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1.5 c. total of assorted nuts, seeds, dried fruit, chocolate chips etc. I use dried cranberries, raisins, chocolate chips, coconut, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, dried apricots etc.
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 c. honey
  • 1/4 c. sunflower seed butter

Directions

  1. Combine dry ingredients and mix well.
  2. In a separate bowl or 2 cup glass measuring cup, combine wet ingredients and mix well.
  3. Combine wet with dry and mix well.
  4. Press very firmly into a well-greased 8×12 inch or 8×8 inch baking dish.
  5. Press again with a flat, firm object to compact it even more.
  6. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes or until it is starting to turn golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes.
  8. Press carefully and firmly once more with flat, firm object to compact the bars further.
  9. Cut into pieces before it totally cools.
  10. Do not remove from pan until it is cool to the touch.
  11. Store in an air-tight container.

Tips:

  • If you want to decrease the sugar, take out the demerarra sugar first.  The honey and seed butter are what holds the bar together.
  • Feel free to substitute the seed butter for nut butter if allergies aren’t an issue.
  • Coconut oil can be replaced with melted butter or another cooking oil of your choice.
  • Heating up the wet ingredients a bit helps them combine.
  • This recipe doubles nicely and can still fit in an 8×12 inch baking dish.
  • To guarantee these to be GMO-free, choose certified organic ingredients or ingredients labelled GMO-free.

This recipe is adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie’s Quaker Style Chewy Granola Bar recipe.

This post has been linked to Real Food Forager’s Fat Tuesday October 2nd, Turning The Clock Back’s What’s Cooking Wednesday, Fresh Eggs Daily’s Farm Girl Blog Fest #3, Homestead Barn Hop#82 and Frugally Sustainable’s Frugal Days Sustainable Ways #47.

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24 comments on “School Snacks! Healthy, Chewy, Granola Bars.

  1. These sound yummy! I bought a jar of sunflower seed butter, and still haven’t used it. Now I can!

  2. these look delicious! I happen to have all these ingredients on hand. I’ll be giving these a try! My kids love granola bars, and I’ve been wanting to try making some. We use sunflower butter on sandwiches at school. it’s pretty tasty, and a great alternative to PB.

  3. This inspired me to try something. I made granola 2 days ago & my family is not on my healthy bandwagon. So, I halved this recipe, used my granola in place of Oats & cereal, no sugar, Almond butter & 2T Pumpkin. Baked 15 min. While hot, On half of them, I broke up a dark chocolate candy bar to melt & coat with chocolately goodness! Can’t taste the Pumpkin, but they are heavenly. Hope I don’t eat them all in one day!

  4. I love that this is chewy–I don’t like crumbs everywhere–and also I thought I might use tahini instead of sunflower seed butter, because we already have it and love it. This looks like the perfect recipe and I’m going to print it out (with credit and link here) if that’s okay. Thanks so much!

  5. These granola bars look gorgeous and so healthy too. I keep meaning to try and make my own seed butter so this is a good opportunity. I agree, there is so much protein in nuts and seeds that you don’t need to use a protein powder if you eat whole foods. Many thanks

  6. I have tried TONS of granola bar/ball recipes and finally one that is really really good! The pressing down 2 times is key, to compact them and get them to be a good consistency and stick together. I subbed peanut butter for the sunflower butter and used butter instead of coconut oil and it worked great. My 1 1/2 c. of mix ins were sliced almonds and shredded unsweetened coconut. YUM! I ate most of the pan! I think I will mix in a few choc. chips to lure my kids in next time!

    Thanks!

  7. This looks really good and with a few tweaks might be just the snack my boyfriend who is on a cholesterol reduced diet is looking for.

  8. We just made them this morning: they are scrumptious ! Their texture is the perfect combination between chewy and crispy ! Yum !

  9. Could this recipe be baked loosely and broken up to make regular granola that could be eaten as cereal or on top of yogurt?? Or would it be too hard?

  10. Kimberly on said:

    Delicious but crumbly. Perhaps increasing the peanut/sunflower oil would help it stick? Thank you for the recipe it will be a staple for yougurt topping and a great snack/treat!

  11. Anonymous on said:

    Got a double batch in the oven as I type, it fits perfectly in my pampered chef cookie sheet!

  12. Julie on said:

    Do you know how long these will keep?

  13. Jeanette on said:

    Another great recipe! You are so thoughtful and helpful! These bars were delicious with vanilla yogurt and raspberries oh my! Thank you for sharing your passions with us readers!

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