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A Dietitian's Favorite Breakfast: Homemade Granola Bars

Jan 7, 2013
Morning is my favorite time of day and breakfast is my favorite meal of the day!  I am especially happy when I don't have to be anywhere early and I can leisurely sip my coffee or tea and enjoy my food.  But there are some days when I have to either eat something quickly or bring breakfast out the door with me.  Because of those times I almost always have my favorite homemade granola bars waiting in the fridge.

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There are so many granola bar recipes out there and unfortunately most of them contain lots of refined sugar and oil.  After several experiments using ingredients that I feel good about eating, I came up with my own recipe.   Try it for yourself and let me know what you think!

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Corinne's Homemade Granola Bars:
Ingredients: (approximate....)
•    2 1/2  cups rolled oats
•    1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or any whole grain flour)
•    1/3 cup  ground flax seeds
•    2 1/2 cups mix-ins (any combo of the following:  raisins, apricots, figs, or any dried, chopped fruit, chocolate chips, shredded coconut, any nuts or seeds such as walnuts, sunflower, or pumpkin seeds)
•    1/2 cup pure maple syrup
•    1/2 cup brown rice syrup
•    2/3 cup peanut butter
•    Optional:  sea salt, cinnamon

Steps:
•    Preheat oven to 350
•    Lightly grease a 9 X 13 inch pan or use parchment paper
•    Mix peanut butter and syrups until well blended
•    In a separate bowl, mix all of the other dry ingredients
•    Stir together the wet and dry ingredients until incorporated
•    Spread into pan and press down evenly
•    Bake for approximately 20 minutes until barely browned
•    After cool, cut into 12 bars, remove bars and wrap individually in plastic wrap or put in an air-tight container  
•    Store in refrigerator.  May also freeze.  

Generally I am not the type to measure out my ingredients too closely when I prepare food; I prefer to go with my instincts.  Therefore, the amounts listed are approximate.   I tend to use a little less than the half cup of each syrup and a little extra peanut butter.  Customize this recipe to your own liking.  The nice thing about it is that by changing up the mix-ins, you can have different flavored granola bars every time.  

These bars provide excellent nutrition from the complex carbohydrates in the whole grains along with healthy fats and protein from the flax, nuts and peanut butter.   If you use chocolate chips be sure to use 70% or higher cocoa content.   The maple syrup and brown rice syrup are less refined and gentler on the body than the typical highly processed white sugar that is found in most granola bars.  These syrups are still a source of concentrated sweetener though, and I don't recommend eating them in large quantities.  Be sure to grab a couple of pieces of fruit to go along with your breakfast granola bar!

Corinne Goff is a Registered Dietitian who is absolutely passionate about food, health, and nutrition. Corinne has a BA in Psychology from Salve Regina University and a BS in Nutrition from the University of Rhode Island. As a nutritionist, her objective is to help people reach their health goals by offering a personalized holistic approach to wellness that incorporates natural foods and lifestyle changes. She works together with her clients to develop daily improvements that they feel comfortable with and that are realistic. She believes that the focus on wholesome, nutrient-rich, real food, is the greatest possible way to become healthier, have more energy, decrease chances of chronic disease, and feel your best. If you would be interested in working with Corinne one-on-one, sign-up for FitDay Dietitians.


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