OK.  Let’s be honest.  It’s not easy to make a granola bar that doesn’t contain quite a bit of sugar. With that being said, I do make them from time to time because they are convenient, and I can hide certain foods in them that the kids wouldn’t normally want to eat.  The nutrients that I add will help them process the sugar without leaving them feeling ‘blah’.

Oats are the typical base for a granola bar, and I like using the gluten-free type.  I also like to add grains that the kids may be a little less fond of, such as quinoa or amaranth, and I buy their puffed version that doesn’t require any cooking.

Then comes the part where I try to sneak things in.  With this recipe, it was pumpkin seed butter and tahini.  Tahini is a sesame seed paste and is naturally high in calcium.  Pumpkin seed butter is high in zinc, which is an immune system supporter.

The most efficient sweetener for granola bars, with regards to its texture and stickiness, is brown rice syrup.  Cinnamon adds a sweeter flavour, and nutritionally, it supports blood sugar balance. Hemp seeds are a source of plant-based protein, and chia seeds are great for keeping healthy bowels.

Healthier Granola Bar

  • 1 cup rolled oats, gluten-free
  • 1 cup puffed quinoa OR puffed amaranth
  • 6 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup brown rice syrup
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seed butter (if you don’t have any, use an additional 1/4 cup tahini instead)
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 tbsp cacao nibs (optional)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, ground
  1. Prepare an 8 x 8 inch baking dish by lining it up with two strips of parchment paper – one positioned diagonally and one vertically. That will help avoid having to deal with excess parchment paper in the corners of the dish.
  2. Place oats, quinoa or amaranth, and hemp seeds in a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a small pot, over medium, warm coconut oil and add rice syrup, seed butters and cinnamon. Gently stir until well combined.
  4. Pour the mixture over the dry ingredients and working fairly quickly, mix everything well together. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and press down with the back of a spoon.
  5. Let it set in the fridge. Once ready, cut into pieces.

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