I recently decided to come up with my own easy recipe for granola bars, and I wanted them to be as healthy as possible while still tasting as good as possible. I am THRILLED with the result. I gave one to my husband and told him to try it, and his response was “You seriously made these? They’re not store bought? You could package these up and sell them, they are SO good!” – Ah-ha, the hubby food-gasm -the ultimate compliment! 😛
They really are incredibly yummy, but what’s so great about these bits of delight is that they are truly good for you! I included some major super foods such as raw cacao nibs, freeze dried blueberries, coconut oil, and almond butter.
The first of these (raw cacao nibs) is chocolate in it’s natural form before being filled with chemicals, sugar and additives, and before being processed. Many people think of chocolate as being unhealthy. This is true for the chocolate that has been filled with all the bad stuff, but chocolate in it’s raw natural state is actually incredibly good for you! Some of the health benefits of raw cacao nibs include
- Benefits human longevity
- Intestinal regularity
- High in fiber
- Cardiovascular health
- May help control blood pressure and blood glucose levels
- Cacao polyphenols may improve the health of your heart and brain arteries
- Out of all the whole foods that contain antioxidants, raw cacao is the highest in the world. The antioxidant content of raw cacao benefits general whole body health
- High source of magnesium and chromium
- Contains vitamins A, C, E, B (1, 2, 3, 5, and 6), magnesium, copper, calcium, manganese, zinc, sulphur, iron, chromium, phosphorous, and other beneficial phytonutrients
- Contains flavonoids that might help prevent cancer as well as brain ailments such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Raw cacao has a bit of a bitter taste. Chocolate in it’s natural state is not sweetened, which is actually a good thing, since it has minimal sugars in it’s natural state. Depending on how you’re using it, you can sweeten it with a bit of stevia, or a bit of honey if desired (remember that honey is still a sugar, so try to keep it to a minimum like I did in this recipe).
One last thing about raw cacao is that it does contain a bit of caffeine and a bit of theobromine. These are both stimulants, so be careful not to overdo it right before bedtime or anytime when you want to relax. It does give you a healthy boost of energy when you need it though.
Okay, back to these granola bars! These things make an excellent clean and healthy snack that will leave you feeling satisfied! They are PERFECT for a pre or post workout snack as well. This recipe makes 10 bars, and each bar only contains 4 grams of sugar, and none of it is refined sugar. It’s just the natural sugars from the ingredients included. I used freeze dried blueberries, and I think these would be great with dried cranberries or raisins, but both of these often contain a lot of added sugar. Freeze dried blueberries have only one ingredient – blueberries! And, they have a relatively low amount of sugars — only 7 grams in 1/2 cup!
I could go on and on about how healthy and yummy these bars are, but I will let the recipe speak for itself!
HEALTHY HOMEMADE NO BAKE GRANOLA BARS
- 2 cups organic gluten free rolled oats (the gluten free part is optional)
- 1/2 cup freeze dried blueberries
- 1/3 cup raw cacao nibs
- 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- pinch of sea salt
- stevia to taste
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- 1 Tbsp. alcohol free vanilla
- 1 cup creamy almond butter
1.) In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, blueberries, cacao nibs, sea salt, and stevia.
2.) In a small saucepan, combine the coconut oil, honey, vanilla, and almond butter. Heat over low-medium heat, stirring constantly. You don’t want this mixture to boil or simmer, you are just heating it so that it becomes smooth and thus mixed together well. This should only take a minute or two.
3.) When the mixture is smooth, pour the almond butter mixture over the oat mixture then mix together till coated completely.
4.) When completely coated, press the mixture into an oiled (with coconut oil) 9 by 5 pan. It doesn’t have to be a 9 by 5 pan, but you want the area to be about the same (45 square inches).
5.) Place in the freezer for an hour or so, then take out and cut into bars. You can store these in an air tight container in the freezer or the refrigerator. Honestly, there won’t be much to store once you and your family taste these, they will go quick!
These are perfect if you are having a sweet craving, but don’t want to put a bunch of garbage in your body! Enjoy! 🙂