I like controlling the amount of sugar, fat, protein, and fiber that goes into my food. I feel better about what I'm eating, I feel healthier, knowledgeable, and definitely not guilty! It's very liberating.
I used to be hooked on Larabars; they're delicious, organic, and a perfect snack, but I found them to be way too sweet. Too sweet to eat for breakfast or pre/post workout or for a middle-of-the-day snack. The bars are primarily made of dates, which contain their own fair share of sugar. However, I do enjoy these tremendously as a dessert bar when I'm trying to eat clean. The cherry pie ones are my favorite.
But these bars are also very versatile. Use them crumbled in a bowl with some almond milk, crumbled on top of fruit, or as a crumb topping on your favorite peach cobbler or ice cream...or simply enjoy them as a bar.
Perfect Granola Bars
*makes 9 bars (recipe can be easily adjusted to amount needed)
2 c rolled oats (or gluten-free oats)
1 T chia seeds
1/4 c unsalted nuts of choice
1/4 c nut butter, melted
1/4 c honey, agave, or brown rice syrup (sometimes I forgo this and just do a full 1/2 c of nut butter)
optional add-ins: flaxseed, other nuts, dried fruit, mini bittersweet chocolate chips, protein powder
Preheat oven 350 degrees and coat a baking dish (whatever size you need; I used a 9" glass pie dish this time) with cooking spray. Mix oats, nuts, chia seeds, nut butter, and honey in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Add in any extras, if desired. *Note: you may need to mix in a little bit more of the nut butter or honey, as needed, with each addition add-in. Press mixture into prepared dish and bake 20-25 minutes. Let cool, completely, in baking dish before cutting into bars. (This can be made vegan by excluding the chocolate chips.)
Sometimes I'll add protein powder and decrease the amount of honey. I don't like my granola bars too sweet, so if I'm adding dried fruit or mini chocolate chips (something that adds its own sweetness) I will decrease the amount of sugar I'm adding.
Depending on your add-ins, the calorie count can be anywhere between 160-200 per bar. I try to keep the sugar below 9 grams, while upping the fiber and protein.
With Love and God Bless,