I’d be willing to bet that if you interviewed five self-described “healthy eaters,” their diets would look radically different. For instance, was my pre-Becca husband considered healthy when he was eating four protein bars a day (but they were organic!)? Or was I healthy during my dark-chocolate, sugar-free pudding craze (only 60 calories!)?
It feels like food shopping has become a mangled mess, full of marketing scams like “all natural” and “gluten free.” I don’t want to have to do hours of research to find the right products, and I definitely don’t want to be bamboozled by a marketing department. So what’s a girl to do? Get back in the kitchen, that’s what.
Take the standard granola bar. There are hundreds of versions out there, and the one most dietitians would recommend is the one with a list of recognizable ingredients. So can’t we take those ingredients and just make it ourselves? Think about it: It would be less expensive, fresher and perfectly tailored to our tastes. There’s no disputing it; this is truly a “healthy” decision.
Chewy Granola Bites
Makes 20 bites
1/3 c. oats, ground
¼ c. packed brown sugar
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 2/3 c. rolled oats
½ c. dried cranberries or cherries
½ c. bittersweet chocolate chips
1 c. almonds
3 tbsp. butter, melted
¼ c. agave or maple syrup
2 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. water
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a food processor, grind oats. Add brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Pulse to combine. (If you don’t have a food processor, use 1/3 c. whole-wheat flour and whisk together with sugar, salt and cinnamon.)
3. Pour ground mixture into a bowl, and combine with 1 2/3 c. rolled oats.
4. In the (now empty) food processor, pulse nuts and fruit until finely chopped. (Chop ingredients by hand if you don’t have a food processor.)
5. Mix chopped nuts/fruit with dry ingredients.
6. In a glass measuring cup or bowl, melt butter. Add agave or maple syrup, honey and water. Whisk well.
7. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until combined.
8. Spray an eight-by-eight-inch baking pan with nonstick spray. Pour mixture into pan and press down well with water-moistened hands.
9. Bake for about 35 minutes or until lightly browned and lightly puffed.
10. Let cool for at least an hour before slicing.
*Bites will keep at room temperature but will hold together better if kept in the fridge.