I’ve yet to find the perfect pre-workout trail mix granola bar.
Every bar I’ve tried is either too sweet, too chewy, too sticky, or just plain boring. And if you check out the ingredients list of any of these store-bought bars, you’ll find three (or more) sweeteners, at least two preservatives, and at least three ingredients you can’t pronounce. I don’t know about you, but I don’t exactly like to combine my high school chemistry tests and mid-afternoon snacks.
On top of that, these bars usually include at least 12 grams of sugar. And don’t be fooled, these bars aren’t actually as big as their packaging suggests. Actually, I’m usually surprised how a granola bar barely an inch longer than my thumb can be at least 140 calories. Most of which is contributed by added sweeteners or, the infamous obesity culprit, high fructose corn syrup.
So, after months of searching, trying, and being disappointed by various trail mix bars, I’ve finally decided to create my own.
Similar to my recipe for Oats ‘N PB Granola Bars, these bars are slightly crunchier, and therefore easier to store and transport. But they pack in 5 grams of healthy fat and 3 grams of protein. And only 8 grams of sugar. So these bars will provide you with enough energy for that workout or to get you over that mid-afternoon hump, without inducing a sugar-high or post-sugar-high slump a few minutes afterwards.
Plus, they’re just plain delicious. Combining you favorite nuts, seeds, and dried fruit, plus a dash of cinnamon, these are packed with flavor and healthy nutrients. And they’re so easy to make that you can even have your children or little siblings help you out! Letting your children help you make a recipe will make them more excited about eating the food they create, and therefore make healthier choices.
Of course, I wouldn’t blame you if you make these alone and hide them in a container in the back of your pantry. After all, they’re practically too good, and good for you to share!!
Trail Mix Bars
- 2 c old fashioned oats
- 1/2 banana
- 1/4 c honey
- 2 tbs melted coconut oil
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 c raisins
- 1/8 c dried fruit (I used reduced sugar dried cranberries)
- 1/8 c chopped almonds
- 1 tbs roasted unsalted sunflower seeds
- 1/2 tbs flax seeds
- 2 tbs stevia
Preheat oven to 325°F. Process 3 tbs of the oats in a food processor or blender until it’s reached the consistency of oat flour. In a large bowl, combine oats and processed oats (oat flour). Add honey and coconut oil and mash in 1/2 banana, starring until combined. Mix in vanilla, cinnamon, raisins, dried fruit, flax seeds, stevia, chopped nuts, and sunflower seeds. Stir until fully combined. Grease a 9″x9″ pan and pour in ingredients. Press down with the back of a spoon until compressed and level. Run hands under cold water for 10 seconds, shake to remove excess water, and completely smooth down bars. Bake for 38-40 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool before cutting, serving, and enjoying! (Store in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.)
Nutrition Information (from myfitnesspal.com)
(Yields 12 bars)