Healthy Fruit & Nut Granola Bars

After indulging in popcorn, ice cream, brownies, and...umm...(do I dare say it?)...bacon (yikes!), I decided it was high time for a healthy post.

I often find myself at a loss for easy, healthy things to have around for my husband to throw in his sack lunch for school every day (and I don't even have kids in school yet...I'm in trouble!).

Granola bars are always easy, but as I stroll down the cereal/granola bar aisle at the grocery store, I literally cringe when I read the ingredients...
(have you seen me there before?  I probably look really awkward--my apologies)
...usually including some type of corn syrup, many unpronounceable things, 
and loaded with sugar.  

SO, I was really excited when I found this recipe.  I've tried homemade granola bars before...but this is definitely the winner.  It has simple ingredients, takes 5 minutes or less to throw together, 
has the approval of my little (big) school-boy of a husband. :)
It's a perfectly healthy, no-sugar-added, and yummy, addition for anybody's brown sack.

(No more cringing for me--feel free to peruse the cereal aisle once again, void of a certain cringing lady.)

Healthy Granola Bars
9 servings (easily doubled)
slightly adapted from Spark Recipes

1 1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup dried cranberries (or raisins)
1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped fine
2 Tbsp unsweetened coconut
2 Tbsp raw sunflower seeds
2 Tbsp slivered or chopped almonds
2 Tbsp ground flaxseed (optional)

1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup natural peanut butter or almond butter
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Combine first 7 ingredients (oats through flaxseed) in a large bowl.  Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together honey, peanut butter, and vanilla; microwave for 30-45 seconds until melted (or heat on stovetop).  Add to dry ingredients and stir, evenly coating with the peanut butter mixture.
Press firmly into and 8x8 ungreased dish (I used the back of a spoon sprayed with cooking spray).
Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Let cool completely before cutting into squares.  I like to individually wrap them in plastic wrap--all ready to be thrown in the brown sack!
*Notes:  I like to chop the raisins & almonds up even more for a finer texture for my toddler; it also helps the bars stick together.
I frequently double this recipe and bake in a 9 x 13 dish for about 3-5 minutes extra.


Jaci said...

I am so excited to try this Kristin!! Love some healthy alternatives to the sugar loaded granola bars! Your food photos are beautiful too! Way to go lady!

Kristin said...

Oh, Jaci, you're too nice... :)

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