I said I was going to try and be healthier – and I did it! Yay! (Ok, it’s lasted 3 days so far, but for anyone trying to get in shape, that’s a big hurdle.) These granola bars are my mid morning power snack. I usually start my morning with some sort of banana based smoothie (either Strawberry or Matcha) but that is just not enough to get me through to lunch. (I wish it was.) So I wanted a granola bar that packed plenty of protein and fiber (two big hunger killers) but that didn’t have a ton of oil and sugar. On my wish list, I also wanted them to be chewy – and I must have been very good this week because the cooking gods let me have everything I wanted!
So welcome to these naturally sweetened, low sugar, low calorie, high protein, high fiber, chewy granola bars of my dreams!
This whole granola bar kick started because I knew I was going to need a healthy mid-morning snack, and granola bars are perfectly portable. Then, I saw Megan over at Take A Megabite make granola with quinoa, and I was all, whoa. Then, finally, I was at Whole Foods wandering around their incredible produce section (looking for ramps and fiddleheads, honestly) when I came across a back of dried Goji Berries. They seemed too perfect to ignore for granola bars, and I’d never tried them before. Home they came – where I’ll be honest: eating them straight out of the bag, they taste… interesting… to me. They aren’t super sweet, they don’t have a specific flavor. I liked them… but they are very different. In the granola bar though, they totally work. I can’t explain why, they just. do. If Goji Berries are hard to come by for you, you can order some, or just substitute it with a different dried berry that you chop up.
I also got creative with my protein sources in here. While the oats and almonds are obvious sources, the quinoa and raw shelled hemp seeds also bring a lot to the table – accounting for almost 20% of the protein per bar! People might be turned of by the hemp seeds because… well, hemp, but also because they are high in fat. But some fat in your diet (even if you are on a diet) is important, and this is most certainly the good kind. The banana and soy milk help keep this bar soft and chewy (and hold together) without adding too much oil. I recommend storing these bars in the fridge – and right when they come out they will be a little firm. I stick mine in a ziplock bag to have for my mid-morning snack and by that time they are nice and soft and chewy. The toasted quinoa on top adds a nice little crunch that I wasn’t expecting, but we know I’m a big fan of texture, so I enjoy it!This recipe makes 10 bars, and each bar has about 150 calories, and will leave you feeling full for quite some time (thank you fiber!) While I’m using them as a snack, they’d also be great to eat after a run or workout to refuel. Because there isn’t a lot of sugar added (but are also naturally sweetened by the banana and berries) they aren’t super sweet like a desert, but as a sugar addict, I’ll say they are still delicious.Next up we will have a super healthy, diet friendly dessert – because even when I’m on a diet, I need some sweets! If you’ve been following my Instagram you might have a clue what it is. (Hint: It involves some much loved rhubarb!!!)
For more healthy treats, sneak previews of recipes and pics of Oreo, super-pup, be sure to join other readers on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, as we chat about all things food and fun (and check out ideas and behind the scenes photos I don’t share anywhere else!).
- 1 1/2 cup Oats
- 1/4 cup Quinoa
- 1/4 Flax Seed Meal
- 1/4 Cup Raw Shelled Hemp Seeds (optional, can be substituted with more flax)
- 1/4 cup dried Goji Berries (or other dried, chopped fruit of your choice)
- 1/4 cup sliced Almonds (or other sliced/ chopped nut of your choice)
- 1/3 cup Soy Milk (or Milk of your choice)
- 1 Banana
- 1 tablespoon Agave Nectar
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- 2 tablespoons Coconut Oil (or butter)
- Preheat oven to 325°
- Mix oats, quinoa, flax, hemp seeds, goji berries and almonds in a bowl until well blended.
- In a blender or food processor, mix the soy milk, banana, agave nectar, vanilla extract and salt until the ingredients are liquified. Pour over oat mixture and mix. The mix will be slightly dry and crumbly.
- In a microwave, heat coconut oil until it is liquid, and pour it over the granola mix. Using spatula stir the granola until the coconut oil has been thoroughly absorb and distributed.
- Use an 8 x 8 pan, lined with wax paper.
- Pour granola into the pan and spread it out evenly. Using the spatula (or your hands) pat down hard on the granola to set it into place. (I used the bottom of another 8 x 8 pan to press down on top of the granola to keep it even).
- Cook for 20 minutes or until edges start to brown.