One of the easiest snacks for us to grab after school before heading off to my kiddo’s martial arts practice is a granola bar. It’s also a great one for my honey to grab in the morning on her way to work. The only problem with boxed granola bars? All the extras they add without you even thinking about it. You hear granola bar and you think healthy, right? Not always the case – actually not usually the case. So I decided to take matters into my own hands and make them in my own kitchen. This way, I knew exactly what was going into our healthy snacks and keep all the bad stuff out.
I asked Xander what he would like in our homemade granola bars, and he immediately chose chocolate chips. Well, that takes the health factor right out now doesn’t it? I suggested sunflower seeds. He didn’t love that idea. We compromised on chocolate covered sunflower seeds, which was such a great addition.
I also thought this recipe would be a fun one to make with Xander since it’s just so easy, and because he is going to be the one to be eating these snacks more than anyone else in the house. It’s so fun to get the kids involved in making the foods they eat. This gives them a sense of accomplishment, plus they’re more apt to eat what they made.
The thing is though, I had no idea how much Xander was snacking while making our video. He didn’t really care about helping as much as he cared about eating coconut, sunflower seeds, and craisins. He was seriously busy nomming pretty much the whole way through. It’s pretty humorous. He’s the kid that will sneak into the kitchen while I’m chopping veggies, measuring chocolate chips, and slicing cheese. I’ll turn my back, and as I turn around, I see a flash of 6-year-old running out of the kitchen giggling. Seriously, hard to get upset at a kid who’s just so darn cute, like mine is.
Homemade Granola Bars
1 3/4 cups whole oats
1 3/4 cups rice cereal
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/8 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup peanuts
1/2 cup chocolate coated sunflower seeds
1/2 cup craisins
2/3 cup honey
1/3 cup brown sugar
pinch of salt
1/3 cup creamy peanut or almond butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cut parchment paper to fit a 9×13 or 8″ pan. This will make it easier to remove the granola bars.
Combine oats, cereal, coconut, flaxseed, craisins, peanuts, and sunflower seeds in a bowl and mix together.
In a small saucepan, over medium heat, mix honey, brown sugar and salt. Stir until it comes to a slight boil.
Remove from heat, stir in the peanut butter and vanilla until incorporated.
Pour the warm mixture over the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
Add mixture to the prepared pan and with a piece of parchment paper; press down to even out the surface. Place in a safe spot and cover. Let sit for a few hours to let everything set.
Remove from the pan and cut into bars. Enjoy!
I hope you try out this healthy snack and stop buying boxed snacks thinking they’re good for you and your family. Even if you don’t try this one, maybe you could try to recreate one of your “boxed” recipes into a healthy alternative that will better serve your family with nutrients. I am going to try really hard to start using more REAL ingredients this year and really start bringing in the ingredients that will fuel my family in a healthy manner.