DIY + Tips and Tricks

Granola Bars:The Good,The Bad, and The Ugly


The Disappointing Reality of Granola Bars

        It saddens me to say this but… granola bars are not that great for us. I know, I know. Those deliciously chewy, often chocolatey conceptions are doing more bad for our bodies than good. For so long I thought they were a healthy alternative to candy bars, and in some aspects they are, but in truth, a lot of them contain the same amount of sugar as a candy bar. I compared the nutrition facts on one of my Larabar’s to a KitKat bar and it was quite alarming. The Larabar had 23 grams of sugar while the KitKat had 21 grams of sugar. False advertising has made us think that it’s automatically healthier for us because granola brands advertise with words like “oats and natural granola” or “only 100 calories”, but the fact’s don’t lie. It’s saddening and upsetting that sugar plagues all of our food, but that is another rant…for another day.

        Here at What the Health, we want you to still be able to enjoy your favorite foods, even if they aren’t always the healthiest. And the best way to do that is to make your own DIY versions of your favorite snacks. This can cut your sugar and processed ingredients intake in half!  Here are some healthy alternatives to avoid all of the processed and sugary junk in nutrition bars.


Make your own Granola Bars!

Chia, Quinoa and Banana Granola Bars

  • 1 cup gluten free rolled oats
  • ½ cup uncooked pre-rinsed quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons chis seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped almonds
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, etc.)
  • ¼ cup creamy almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey or pure maple syrup

Instructions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Combine the oats, uncooked quinoa, chia seeds, salt and cinnamon. Stir in mashed banana and vanilla and then fold in the almonds, pecans and dried fruit.

Next, use a small sauce pan on low heat to warm the almond butter and honey or maple syrup until melted. Combine with granola bar mixture and pour into the baking pan. Press down with your hands to make sure all of the ingredients are spread evenly throughout the pan. Bake for 25 minutes. Let them cool completely before cutting them into 10 bars.

1 bar is 200 calories, but only contains around 10 grams of sugar, which means you’ll get more nutrients and energies with almost half the sugar of store brand granola bars! It’s not processed and has a bunch of ingredients you can feel good about! Yay!


Make your own trail mix!

If you don’t have a kitchen at your disposal (like me), then you can make your own trail mix! I buy different types of nuts, dried fruit, seeds and sometimes sweets (dark chocolate) in bulk and then create my own based on what I’m feeling that week or day.

Here is a list of different trail mix combo’s:

      Almond’s, dried cherries, dark chocolate

      Almond’s, peanuts, banana chips, chocolate and peanut butter chips

      Pecans, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds

The important thing about trail mix, and with any food, is portion size. Personally, I do not take more than two handfuls of trail mix when I’m portioning it out into different bags for myself and even then I don’t finish all of the trail mix when I’m eating it with lunch or for a snack. Limit yourself to the amount of chocolate you add in it, but if you need a sweet snack, opt for dark chocolate over milk!

Get creative and enjoy your healthy alternative to granola bars! Just because the store bought brands are bad, doesn’t mean you have to go “cold-turkey” completely!

By: Abigail Snelling