The average consumer of the Standard American Diet is abysmally nutritionally deficient. We’ll joke about our cookie habit making us fat, but I’ve never heard anyone crack “If I even look at a (insert junk food here) I get nerve damage/liver failure/non-firing of brain cell neurons.”
But that’s the reality. Nutritional deficiency is a big deal. We need vitamins and minerals for our bodies to function properly, for growth and development, and for maintaining overall health. We need to stop focusing on what we can’t eat and focus on what we should. Instead of thinking “gotta cut 500 calories today,” we should be thinking “gotta find a source of magnesium today.”
The Succubus of Food
Processed foods are not only nutritionally devoid; they’re nutritional black holes. Manufacturers add phytic acid to commercially available whole grain products (oh heeeey, granola bars). This additive binds to key nutrients, negatively affecting their absorption into our bodies. Phytic acid is an anti-nutrient.
Everyone knows we’re not eating enough clean, whole foods. But most don’t know that the processed food we eat instead is literally leeching nutrients from our system.
I’m Calling You Out, PepsiCo. And Kellogg’s. And General Mills.
You are an intelligent adult who understands that they cannot feed themselves or their family on cookies alone. You find yourself in the grocery store aisle, reasonably turning away from the Keebler Elves, when your eyes alight upon some Special K bars.
“Hmmmm,” you think, “only 90 calories, says it has proteins and probiotics, I can eat it on the go. I passed up on those Fudge Stripes, this is better.”
WRONG. You are wrong. It’s not your fault. We are being purposely misled.
They’re. All. Just. Awful.
Weighing in at a measly 22 grams, the Special K bar has eight grams (nearly two teaspoons) of sugar, in addition to 120 milligrams of sodium. Sugar is the first ingredient listed in these monstrosities.
What about Nature Valley granola bars? The peanut butter variety has 230 calories, 12 grams of fat, 150 milligrams of sodium, and 11 grams of sugar. A Kit Kat bar has 230 calories, 12 grams of fat, 35 grams of sodium and 11 grams of sugar.
A Quaker Oats double chocolate chunk granola bar contains nine grams of sugar at 150 calories. Two Chips Ahoy cookies have 10 grams of sugar at 140 calories.
All Bran cereal bars pack six grams of fat and nine grams of sugar at 130 calories. Two Oreo cookies are five grams of fat and 10 grams of sugar at 120 calories.
The Other Addictive White Powder
Six grams of added sugar is the recommended daily amount for the average woman (nine for the average man as life isn’t fair). Chronically going over this amount leads to huge health problems. This is not the post to get into all that. You’re in the queue, though, sugar industry/lobbyists.
Anyway, I don’t want to waste 40% of my daily amount of added sugar with some bar. Especially one that soothes by brain into thinking I’ve made a healthy choice, so I have some real sweet treat later in the day. Now I’ve really blown my allotment.
Pants On Fire
These companies are purposely deceiving us with their claims of grains, nuts, dried fruit, added protein, and fortified vitamins. All of these bars-whether they be granola, breakfast, cereal, or protein-are cookies and candy bars masquerading as health foods.
Don’t give them your money. Store bought granola bars average $5 a box. Buying a box a week costs $240 a year. If your family goes through two boxes a week, that’s $480. We are paying for the privilege of being lied to and poisoned.
Let’s take the power out of these companies hands and make our own granola bars, shall we? I use an incredibly delicious and easy recipe inspired by Oh She Glows. These bars are actually healthy. They’re chock full of seeds.
Do you know what a nutritional powerhouse seeds are? They contain the nutrients required for germination, bearing fruit, and providing seeds for the next generation. As nutritional therapist Maria Griffiths says, “seeds provide the board and lodging for the next generation of plants, so it is not surprising that they are such a complete food.”
We need to eat them. Every day. Several varieties. But who wants to be the douche walking around with a bag of seeds?
“Hi, I’m Megan. I’m weirdly eating a bunch of seeds.”
Let’s put all those seeds in a less socially awkward bar form!
Nutrients present in:
- Chia: Omega-3 essential fatty acid, protein, fiber, calcium, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, high in antioxidants,
- Flax: Omega-3 and 6, fiber, manganese, phosphorus, folate, vitamin B6, magnesium, copper
- Hemp: protein, fiber, Omega-3 and 6, vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, zinc, B vitamins (niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, B6), folate
- Sesame: protein, iron, zinc, magnesium, calcium, vitamin E, Omega-6
- Sunflower: B complex vitamins, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, potassium, protein, Vitamin E, zinc, manganese, copper, chromium, carotene
Not only does this recipe contain all of these seeds, some oats and raisins are thrown in.
Maple Brown Sugar Raisin No-Bake Granola Bars
- 1 ½ cups old fashioned oats
- 1 ½ cups crisp rice or quinoa cereal
- 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/3 cup hemp seeds
- 2 Tablespoons chia seeds
- 2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1 Tablespoon ground flax seed
- 1 Tablespoon bee pollen
- 2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 1/3 cup natural peanut butter
- ½ cup light blue agave syrup
- 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
- Combine natural peanut butter, blue agave, and maple syrup in small saucepan.
- Heat mixture over low on stove top. Watch the saucepan closely, stir frequently, and remove from heat when bubbles appear.
- Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix gently.
- Pour peanut butter concoction into dry ingredient bowl. Stir and stir until the dry ingredients are thoroughly coated in the peanut butter mixture.
- Press granola bar mixture into parchment paper-lined 9″ x 13″ baking pan. Use a spatula and your hands. Slightly wet hands will stop the granola bar mixture from sticking to you.
- Place in freezer overnight.
- Remove from freezer, cut into twelve bars with a pizza cutter.
- Wrap bars in aluminum foil, keep in refrigerator until ready to enjoy.
Once you have the basic recipe down, you can go crazy and add your own extras. Why not try adding powdered peanut butter, baking chips, chopped nuts, mini marshmallows, coconut flakes, protein powder, or dried fruit? The possibilities are endless.
An Investment In Your Health
The initial start-up cost of this recipe is daunting. However, these ingredients will last.
In the long game (which is always, always the game worth playing) these no-bake granola bars cost less than their store bought counterparts. You will drop some cash once for the homemade granola bars or steadily for the store bought. You can pay for the quality nutrients in the homemade no-bake granola bars or for the eventual healthcare costs of processed food. As for time? It literally takes me sixteen minutes of prep.
Make these no-bake granola bars and tag me on Instagram so I can see! Share this article so you don’t forget the recipe. Comment below how your bars turned out.
Find a healthy dinner here!