I have major Goldilocks syndrome when searching for a wholesome and nutritious granola bar. Too much sugar, not enough protein, too many processed ingredients or not enough fiber. See what I mean? Not to say I don't pop a manufactured bar into my diaper bad from time to time, but when the logistics and ingredients line up, I try to whip up my own homemade bars for an easy snack option for the family. I like use either PB2 or quinoa for my protein rather than a processed protein isolate or powder and I can usually reach my fiber quota with oats or chia seeds. Keeping sugar controlled is also key, so I tend to use less than what most recipes call for, especially if fruit is involved. The following recipe was adapted from a recent pinterest find and was tweaked to fit my (ahem!) standards.
What you will need:
1) 1 cup quick oats
2) 1 cup whole-wheat flour
3) 3/4 cup cooked quinoa
4) 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
5) 2 Tbsp. coconut palm sugar or brown sugar
6) 1/4 tsp. baking soda
7) 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
8) 1/4 tsp. salt
9) 1/4 cup organic pure maple syrup or blue agave
10) 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
11) 1/4 cup vegetable oil
12) 1/4 cup strawberry jam or fruit puree (you may want to add chia seeds and refrigerate to thicken)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and grease an 8 x 8 pan with oil. I like to dip a paper towel into the oil and rub around the edges and bottom. This way, less oil is used in the process:) Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the maple syrup, applesauce, and oil to combine with the dry ingredients. Once completely uniform, spatula in 1/2 of the mixture into the pan. Then, layer the jam or fruit puree over the mixture. Gently crumble and pat the remaining mixture over the jam. Bake for 35 minutes and allow to completely cool (if you can wait that long!).
After cooling, cut into 12 bars and store in the fridge. Like I said before, these bars are just as convenient as store bought granola or protein bars, but much healthier. If fact, I usually eat one for my afternoon snack while on the road...... less tempted to add on any sweets during my coffee run that way.