Recipe for healthy granola bars



An average 20g granola bar has

85 calories

2.6g fat (some with saturated fat as high as 29 percent of its available calories)

14g carbs

Often when people make unhealthy food choices, they do so in the belief that they lack other options - eating a ready meal or fast food dinner because you simply don't have time to cook, being a prime example. How often do hunger pangs strike at work and a trip to the vending machine or coffee shop presents you with limited options - a bar of chocolate, packet of crisps or sugar-filled muffin? A Twix with a mid-afternoon cup of tea is fine once in a while, but shouldn't become part of an everyday routine.

These homemade granola bars make excellent portable snacks and are far better for you than the average shop-bought cereal bar, which, despite seeming like a healthy choice, is often packed with sugar and/or saturated fat and has little or no nutritional value.This recipe is filled with natural, energy-giving ingredients and a dose of complex carbohydrates (courtesy of the rolled oats) will ensure you feel fuller for longer. The apple juice binds the ingredients together and keeps the bars moist, so you don't need to add any butter or oil.

By making your own granola bars you can control exactly what goes into them and vary the ingredients to suit personal tastes - swap the apricots for dates, the pecans for hazelnuts or the apple juice for cranberry, for example. Once made, the bars will keep for a week if stored in an airtight container and they taste just as good when eaten as breakfast on the run as they do in a school lunchbox. Healthier granola bars

Makes 12-14 bars

70g pecan nuts

50g pumpkin or sunflower seeds

120g raisins

120g dried cherries

85ml apple juice

2 tablespoons runny honey

50g wholemeal flour

130g rolled oats

Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/gas 5. Line a square baking tray with parchment.

Place a dry pan over a medium heat, add the pecan nuts and the seeds and toast for 3-4 minutes. Put the cherries, raisins, toasted nuts and seeds into a food processor and blend until chopped. Tip into a large mixing bowl, add the wholemeal flour and the rolled oats and mix well.

In a small pan, warm the apple juice and honey over a low heat, stirring until the honey dissolves. Pour over the dry ingredients and stir until really well combined.

Pack the mixture into the prepared tin to about 3cm high and bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool, then cut into rectangular bars. Store in an airtight container and eat within a week.

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