Eating whole, unprocessed food is something I strive to do more and more often. And no, I am not a hippie.
I like Kraft Dinner. And Cheez Whiz. And Nibs. And Sweet Chili Heat Doritos. And…OK, you get it.
But for the most part, I eat fresh, simple food; and it tastes better. Way better. It’s also healthier (if it isn’t completely obvious after reading the aforementioned list).
The golden rule when grocery shopping is to stick to the periphery of the grocery store where you’ll find the produce, fresh meat, seafood and perishable food items that have been minimally processed.
I find one of the trickier aspects of eating a whole-food diet is finding great snacks. Outside of fresh fruit, plain yogurt and nuts there aren’t a lot of great portable options. For years I’ve tried to seek out the ‘healthiest’ granola bar option. Here are my must-haves:
- tastes delicious
- satisfies hunger for minimum of 2 hours
- minimal number of unprocessed ingredients (whole grains, fruit, nuts, natural sweetener and binder)
- must not cost an arm and a leg
It’s been an endless and fruitless search.
Thus, I’ve taken matters in to my own hands.
I have literally not purchased one pre-made granola bar since the advent of my homemade version. Once you taste them yourself, you will realized how downright silly that would be.
- 2 cups large flake oats
- 1 cup slivered almonds
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seed (small, raw and unsalted)
- 1/2 cup ground flax seed
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup dried blueberries (cranberries, cherries or chopped apricots are also delicious)
||Preheat oven to 350F |
||Combine oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds and flax seed and spread out on a baking sheet. |
||Bake for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes |
||In the meantime, combine honey, maple syrup, brown sugar, oil, salt and vanilla in a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until sugar is dissolved |
||When oat mixture is removed from oven, lower heat until 300F |
||Combine oat mixture, honey mixture and blueberries until all ingredients evenly incoporated |
||Spread mixture evenly in a 9"x9" silicone (or oiled) baking pan and press the mixture down firmly with the back of a spoon. |
||Bake for 25 minutes |
||Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before cutting into 16 even squares |