Healthy granola bars

I’ve been searching and trying recipes for a couple months now for a healthy crunchy granola bar recipe that both me and the boys enjoy. I spend so much money at the store on a small box of granola bars and it’s very hard to find ones that aren’t loaded with unhealthy sugars and extra additives. I’ve found a few different store options, but they are expensive and last about a day in my house. I’m always bringing bars with us to the park and like to have them for school snacks too. After trying a few different recipes, I finally found one yesterday from Well Plated that was delicious, easy, healthy, and had that crunch I’d been looking for. They were a hit by all in the house and I anticipate making another batch this week. I’ll probably experiment with adding different seeds and nuts the next round and maybe even some dried fruit.

healthy granola bars

Tips

When I first took these out of the oven, I thought they were going to be a bust. The recipe tells you to cut them immediately out of the oven but leave them on the parchment paper until completely cooled. When I first made my cut, they started to crumble a bit and I thought, “Oh man, this is going to end up just being granola.” But after that I let them be. Once cooled off completely they firmed up and stuck together making them easy to pull apart into individual bars. I recommend using honey for all homemade granola bar recipes. I love to use maple syrup and agave as sweeteners in recipes, but honey is much more binding and helps the granola bars stay together.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup chopped nuts (I used peanuts, but next time I think I will try almonds)
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds (I think for fall I’m going to try pumpkin seeds this week)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (unsweetened is key to keep these healthy!)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325. Mix together oats, nuts, seeds, and coconut flakes on a rimmed, ungreased pan and bake for about 10 minutes.
  2. Heat honey and peanut butter together in a medium saucepan over medium heat until smoothly combined. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, cinnamon and salt.
  3. Add oat mix to the honey peanut butter mix.
  4. You can add chocolate chips but let the mixture cool first or they will melt.
  5. Turn down oven to 300.
  6. Line a 8 or 9 inch baking dish with parchment paper so that two sides of the paper overhang the ends. You want to be able to lift up the entire sheet once cooked and cooled with the edges.
  7. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan and press down with a spatula.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes. 20 minutes will make them crunchier, 15 more chewy. With the bars still on the pan use a knife to cut them into the desired size bars. Leave them alone afterwards until completely cooled. Once cooled lift up the entire thing with the parchment paper and place on a cutting board. Cut them again on your lines and pull them apart.
  9. These will store for up to 1 week at room temperature or 2 weeks in the fridge. They get extra crunchy when you put them in the fridge!

Protein balls and healthy veggie dip

No Bake Protein Balls

These are an absolute favorite in my house. They are so delicious that I really have a hard time believing they are healthy because they taste so much like a treat. These are so easy to make, don’t involve using the oven and are full or nutrient dense ingredients. You can change these up a lot by adding in different things, like nuts, coconut, chocolate chips etc. I will say that if you are trying to lose weight or working on a big fitness goal, I would not recommend having these as an everyday snack. Although they are filled with feel good ingredients, due to the peanut butter, honey and chocolate chips these do tend to be a little higher in fat and sugar then some other healthy snacks. When I’m looking at adding “sweetness” into a recipe, I always try and use pure honey, maple syrup or agave. I always try to avoid white sugar. Natural sugars are always better for you, and a tiny drop of pure maple syrup goes a long way! My biggest struggle when making these, is limiting myself to only one. 😉 Enjoy!

healthy protein balls

Ingredients

  • 1 cup old fashion oats
  • 2/3 cup toasted shredded coconut (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter (be careful with your peanut butter selection. Look for one with no sugar and no salt. You also want a creamy one, if not these won’t stick together very well.)
  • 1/2 ground flaxseed (flaxseed is a great source of protein)
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (omit if you are limiting sugar intake)
  • 1/3 cup honey or agave
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Stir all ingredients into a large mixing bowl until thoroughly combined. If it doesn’t look like its sticking together well, you can add in more peanut butter.
  2. Cover the bowl and chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours or until chilled. This helps it stick together.
  3. Roll into small 1 inch or smaller balls.
  4. Enjoy immediately! These can be stored in a sealed container for up to one week in the fridge or in the freezer up to 3 months.

Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip

Who doesn’t love a good ranch dip! But most ranch dips are made with sour cream and loaded with unhealthy fats. I love Greek yogurt! I use it for a healthy replacement in lots of recipes and it’s a perfect substitute for sour cream in dips. The mom I started meal prepping for this week was very interested in having a healthy dip and chopped veggies on hand for quick healthy snacking. I found this recipe from Well Plated. I was very excited to try this recipe out and very pleased with how it turned out! I will be experimenting with this one a bit and adding it to my weekly list. It was so easy, and I almost always have these items on hand. My oldest is not a dip person at all and I’m hoping that will change. His favorite veggie of choice is raw spinach with nothing on it. I find it a little boring, but I can’t complain that he wants to eat raw spinach! 😉

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Fresh chopped chives for garnish
  • sliced up veggies of choice for dipping

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, stir together all the ingredients.
  2. Garnish with fresh chives and serve.
  3. Can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.