After four weeks of free sweets and biscuits on my desk at work, I finally decided to pack some kind of healthy snack into my lunch box and get back on track with the healthy eating. As much as I love mint humbugs and Maryland cookies, they do not love me, and I definitely prefer the way I feel without a whole load of sugar inside of me.
Praise the Lord for Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall! He has the best ideas, including this ketchup curry, these baked eggs and these granola bars — a recipe I have adapted to make even more healthy than it is already. A couple of years ago I made the original recipe, and the bars were great, but I was feeling adventurous so I added and took away a few ingredients, and the end result wasn't half bad.
Ok, they're a littttttle bit crumbly, but crumbly and granola kind of go hand in hand. Plus, it's what's on the INSIDE that counts. And that's a lot of good stuff. I substituted some of the butter for coconut oil — my latest love, and omitted the sugar entirely, because the honey and dried fruit make it sweet enough for me. The nuts, seeds and oats make these granola bars a really nutritious snack which will give me that much needed boost of energy when I'm starting to feel sleepy at work. I used the left over crumbs to eat with my cereal in the morning and in natural set yoghurt in the evening.
Recipe for Healthy Granola Bars
- 200g oats (not jumbo)
- 125g no added sugar peanut butter
- 150g mixed dried fruit — I used apricots, raisins and morello cherries
- 150g mixed seeds and nuts — I used the omega seed mix from Holland & Barret and a mixture of chopped almonds and pecans
- Grated zest of one orange
- Grated zest of one lemon
- One tsp vanilla
- 75g butter
- 50g coconut oil
- 75g honey
This is my favourite no-added-sugar peanut butter. It comes in a few varieties and the one I like best is the crunchy original. It's got a great taste, texture and I have been known to eat this straight from the jar.
1. Put the oven on at 160°C and grease and line a 20cm baking tray. Put the butter, coconut oil, peanut butter, honey, vanilla and grated citrus zests in a large saucepan and let it all melt on a low heat, stirring from time to time.
2. Add the oats, dried fruit, nuts and seeds and stir everything together, then spoon the mixture onto your tray and spread out, pressing down with the back of the spoon so that the surface is smooth (ish).
4. Hugh says it's important to let it cool in the tin before cutting it up, so I went away and distracted myself with some Orange is the New Black (omg — new favourite show) and came back when it was well and truly cooled!
I am going to try and make these more often because they are SO good and they curb my sugar cravings like no other. You can follow the original recipe if you don't care about the added sugar because they are still super healthy and yummy, and, err, the pictures on the original recipe look a lot better than the ones I made... heh.