For us non-millennials, these fruit and nut granola bars are going to take some serious getting used to. It’s not the flavor that might be alien to us, but the nutrient profile. One bar (albeit a hefty one) contains 10% of your daily carbohydrate needs, around 35% of your daily protein needs, and – wait for it – 60% of your daily fat allowance. The fat content of these bars is enough to make most Gen Xers quiver in their boots. So why on earth do I have them on my healthy food and nutrition blog? Read on to find out.
Since the 1970s, we have been told that a low-fat, high-carb diet is the best way to achieve optimal health. However, obesity, diabetes, and other food-related conditions have continued to rise despite this dietary advice. The evidence that supposedly supported the low-fat diet has recently been debunked. Experts now think that maybe it is sugar and not fat that is the real culprit in heart disease and other nutrition-related illnesses. So where does the evidence currently stand? While the research is not yet conclusive, one thing is clear. A healthy amount of fat in the diet is a good thing. Fat:
- keeps us feeling full,
- helps us absorb fat-soluble vitamins, and
- replaces other less healthful foods like refined carbohydrates.
These gluten free fruit and nut granola bars are a tasty and nutritious way to get some healthy fat into your diet. But moderation is still key. Just because ‘fat is back’, it doesn’t mean we should be eating it by the bucketload.
- 1⅔ cups gluten free rolled oats
- ½ cup soft brown sugar
- ⅓ cup blended gluten free oats (blend into a flour consistency)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup ground flax seed
- 3 cups chopped nuts, seeds, and dried fruits of your choosing*
- ¼ cup almond butter
- 6 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon water
- *I usually use shredded unsweetened coconut, dried apricots, raisins, cranberries, sliced almonds, walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds, or whatever I have on hand
- Preheat the oven to 350F and grease a 9 x 9 baking tray or line it with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, combine the oats, sugar, blended oats, cinnamon, flax seed, nuts, seeds, and dried fruits.
- Put the almond butter, butter, maple syrup, and water into a small pan over a low heat. Warm and stir the mixture until it is melted and well combined.
- Pour the wet mixture on the dry ingredients and mix well.
- Put the mixture into the prepared baking tray and press it down.
- Place a piece of parchment paper over the top, and use a book or another baking pan to press down on the mixture.
- Remove the top piece of parchment paper (but save it), and place the granola bar mixture in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the edges are light golden brown.
- Remove from the oven, place the spare piece of parchment paper on top of the granola bars, and press down again with a book or baking pan.
- Allow the granola bars to cool completely in the pan before cutting (this is crucial otherwise they will crumble and fall apart).
- Once the bars are completely cool, remove them from the pan and cut into squares.
How to Freeze and Reheat
1. Cut the bars into individual portions.
2. Wrap each bar in a small amount of plastic wrap.
3. Place the wrapped bars in a ziploc bag flat in the freezer.
4. When you want to eat one, take it out, leave it to defrost for about 1 hour, and enjoy.
5. Alternatively, pop a frozen bar in a lunch box and it will be defrosted by lunch.