Are you a fan of granola bars? They’re great for when you need a nutritious breakfast on the go or want an energy boost after a hike or run. They’re popular all around the world and on 21st January, it’s National Granola Bar Day. Will you be celebrating by tucking into your favourite shop-bought bar or do you fancy rustling up a batch of homemade treats instead? Read on as we’ll reveal our most popular granola bars are and some quick-and-easy recipes.
Berries, caramel or hazelnuts?
A basic granola bar is made up of oats, dried fruits, nuts, honey or syrup. For crunchy bars the granola is baked but chewy bars are left raw or part-baked. Extra ingredients are added to make bars more flavoursome and nutritious. Other names used for granola bars include flapjacks and cereal bars.
Our most popular* granola bars are:
- Mrs Crimble’s Gluten Free Cereal Bar Cherries & Berries – With only 150 calories, these healthy bars contain 50% oats, cherries, cranberries and honey.
- Powerbar Natural Energy Cacao Crunch – Designed to give athletes an energy boost, each bar contains 10g protein and 5g fibre.
- Thanks for Franks Hand-Baked Granola Bars Salted Caramel – Gluten free, these granola bars with sea salt and caramel are made using all natural ingredients.
The health benefits of granola bars
Let’s take a closer look at some of the main granola bar ingredients and why they’re good for you.
– They contain beta-glucans which slow down your body’s absorption of carbohydrates, which stops unpredictable spikes in blood sugar and insulin. Oats are rich in magnesium and fibre, can lower your cholesterol level, boost your immune system and help prevent you from becoming constipated.
– Sultanas, raisons, apricots, figs and prunes contain high levels of beta carotene, magnesium, potassium, calcium, vitamin E, niacin and iron. They’re high in fibre but contain little fat (although they can be high in natural sugars). They’re a concentrated source of carbohydrates which is what gives your body an energy boost when you eat them.
– All nuts are packed with protein, but there are different health benefits depending on the type of nut. For instance, hazelnuts contain folate which helps keep the amino acid homocysteine in your body within normal levels (high levels of homocysteine can lead to heart problems). Pecans are full of healthy fats, are rich in vitamin B3 and can lower your cholesterol levels.
– It provides your body with glucose and fructose, has antiseptic properties and can boost your white blood cells. It can also help relieve your symptoms if you suffer from allergies, arthritis or colitis.
Easy peasy granola bar recipes
They might only take a few minutes to make but these granola bars taste good and are ideal for when you’re feeling lethargic and need an energy boost.
No-added sugar banana bars
Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Cover a baking tray with parchment paper.
Thoroughly mash the flesh of the bananas in a mixing bowl before adding the porridge oats.
Stir well as you add the dates, hazelnuts and pecans.
Spoon the mixture onto the baking tray, packing it down tightly with the bottom of a spoon.
Bake for approximately 25 minutes before leaving to cool.
Use a sharp knife to cut into bars and store in an airtight container.
Chocolate and date bars
- 35g dark chocolate drops *
- 230g dates * pitted
- 80g honey *
- 65g almond butter *
- 135g porridge oats *
- 115g unsalted almonds * chopped
Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Cover a baking tray and oven dish with parchment paper.
Blend the dates in a food processor for 1 minute before leaving the dough to one side.
Put the almonds on the baking tray and bake for ten minutes.
Add the date dough, oats and almonds to a mixing bowl.
Heat the honey and almond gently in a saucepan. Stir well before pouring into the mixing bowl, covering the date dough, oats and almonds.
Spoon the mixture into the oven dish, packing down tightly with the bottom of a spoon.
Cover with a layer of parchment paper and place the oven dish in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Remove from the freezer and cut into bars before storing in an airtight container.
*Ranked according to sales on the Holland and Barrett website (as of 8/1/2017)
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