This is arguably the best granola bar I've ever made. I love it - and so does my family. The only problem is I can't seem to keep them "in stock" for very long. I pack them in my kids' lunches and happily allow them to eat them as snacks. They're fairly low in sugar and filled with healthy ingredients. The best part is they're gluten free.
No one in my family has celiac disease, but gluten can create inflammation in the body. Both my husband and my oldest daughter are affected by gluten. My husband, a lifelong swimmer, has a torn shoulder labrum. My daughter, on the other had, has an eczema-like condition. While my husband's tear won't fix itself, the pain associated with both of their problems is virtually nil if they avoid gluten.
There are a few stars in this recipe. Coconut oil, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds. If you don't have chia seeds in your cabinet, get them! The texture from those little seeds really makes this bar special. I have a few more recipes in my book, The Belly Burn Plan, that are loaded with chia seeds.
Another ingredient this recipe calls for is pumpkin seeds - raw and hulled. You can find them in the bulk section of your grocery store, in just about any natural food store and online. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of magnesium, protein, iron and fiber.
Most of you know that I'm a super fan of coconut oil. It gets used multiple times a day in my house...to make eggs, roast vegetable and bake granola bars. It's a medium chain triglyceride. As far as your body is concerned, that means it will get used a lot faster for energy than just about any other fat. It's truly the greatest oil, so if you don't have it, get some and use it liberally...especially for baking.
Over 76 degrees, coconut oil becomes liquid. Below 76 degrees, it's solid. Depending on where you live and the temperature of your kitchen, you could be working with an oil that's a butter-like solid or an olive oil-like liquid. Regardless, for this recipe, melt it down to liquid form.
I used Enjoy Life dark chocolate chips in this recipe. If you don't use this brand, aim for a dark chocolate chip (not milk chocolate) that is at least 70% cocoa. Another alternative is to use a high quality dark chocolate bar and break it up into little chunks. I do this a lot, too. My absolute favorite dark chocolate bar is Divine. It's amazing. I have to buy it and use it immediately. If it sits in my cabinet for me to use the next day in a recipe, I'll end up breaking it open and stealing a square or two (or three).
A lot of people are still afraid of eating fat. I happen to not be one of those people. In fact, I'm a big (healthy) dietary fat pusher. Eating a reasonable amount of fat each and everyday helps you keep fat off your body! It's that simple. Don't avoid fat or eat foods that were concocted in a lab to be low fat or fat free. It's a chemical firestorm and nothing your body needs.
Too many store-bought granola bars are packed with sugar, unhealthy additives and really low in fat. The rebounding effect of eating something with too much sugar but not enough fat is hunger. It's a blood sugar roller coaster that stores belly fat.
This recipe yields 30 granola bars. If you don't want that many, just halve the recipe. If you're ok with stocking up, keep them stored in an air-tight container in your refrigerator or freezer.
Yields 30 bars
4 C. Old Fashioned Oats
3/4 C. Shredded Coconut (unsweetened)
1/4 C. Pumpkin Seeds (raw and hulled)
1/4 C. Chia Seeds
3/4 C. Honey
1/2 C. Almond Butter
1 C. Coconut Oil, melted
3/4 C. Dark Chocolate Chips