Even though I love my job, working in an office every day has its drawbacks for anyone active and fitness minded. There’s the hours of sitting every day and the cravings to be outside in the summer sunshine. And then there’s the challenge of planning snacks and lunches to take along each day.
A few times a week I run home over lunch, but many days I take lunch along. And I always, always pack snacks. Granola bars or protein bars are a favorite snack of mine when paired with a piece of fruit in the afternoon, but when I actually take time to look at the ingredient list of many of my favorites, it makes me cringe.
Take, for example, Quaker Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars. Snack staple of kids and adults alike. They lure you in with the ‘100 calorie’ burst on the box, but the ingredient list is less than stellar.
I find it hard to believe all these ingredients are necessary, or healthy for that matter. So I set out to make my own, and was more than trilled with the results. Although they fall apart a little easier than their store-bought counterparts, they are bursting with fresh, real flavor thanks to the addition of almond butter, honey and vanilla. And as a bonus, they make your kitchen smell like you’re making waffle cones. Doesn’t get any better than that!
Make Your Own: Chewy Granola Bars
*1/3 cup almond butter
*1/3 cup honey
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
*2 cups Kashi GoLean Crunch! cereal (large pieces broken up slightly)
*2 cups regular rolled oats
*1/4 cup miniature chocolate chips
*Line an 8x8x2-inch baking bakin with aluminum foil. Set aside.
*In a small saucepan, combine the almond butter, honey and vanilla extract. Cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until mixture is hot and well combined. Remove from heat.
*In a large mixing bowl, combine the Kashi cereal and oats. Our almond butter mixture over cereal mixture and stir until evenly combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
*Press mixture into lined baking pan. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Remove granola bar mixture and foil from baking pan and cut into 8 bars. To store, wrap in aluminum foil or store in a zip-top bag and keep in the refrigerator.
Nutrition information per bar: 195 cal., 9 g fat, 119 mg chol., 180 mg potassium, 28 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 5 g protein, 13 g sugar