What food is more nostalgic for current (and former) athletes than granola bars? They’re the ultimate convenience food – for pre-workout, pre-race, post-race, or on road trips. They pack well, and if done correctly – they can pack a lot of nutrients and satiating ingredients!
But not all granola bars are created equal. Many are packed with loads of sugar, or ingredients you can’t recognize (or pronounce). And while there are definitely some better options out there, I wanted to try my hand at making my own. I also used it as an opportunity to incorporate all my favorite things in a granola bar:
- Cereal! – Is there anything more fun and nostalgic than a granola bar with cereal in it? I used half plain Cheerios, and half oats for nice texture and crunch. I love that Cheerios have a simple ingredients list.
- Lots of different nuts and seeds – This bar has almonds, pistachios, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds for a great combo of flavors (and lots of nutrients).
- Dried fruit for some extra (natural) sweetness – and a trail mix style flavor – Instead of raisins, which are a little more expected, I used unsweetened dried cranberries. These combined with the different nuts and seeds give it a fun trail-mix-style vibe.
- Natural sweeteners and binders – I used brown rice syrup and natural peanut butter to bind these bars. The nut butter helps to balance out the brown rice syrup, and as a result, these bars won’t spike your blood sugar nearly as much as most conventional granola bars.
It took me two tries to get these bars *just right* – but the end result is perfect: they’re super tasty, great to travel with, and pack some serious staying power. If you give them a try, let me know what you think! Or let me know what’s in your perfect granola bar.Print
These cereal bars are healthy, super tasty, and make a great, portable snack you can take anywhere. I love the combination of Cheerios and oats – they make the bar feel reminiscent of a childhood snack, but are beefed up with lots of nuts, seeds, and dried cranberries to make them super nourishing and healthy.
- 1 1/2 cup rolled oats (gluten-free, if needed)
- 1 1/2 cup Cheerios
- 1 cup raw, unsalted almonds
- 1/4 cup shelled unsalted pistachios
- 1/4 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries, preferably unsweetened or lightly sweetened
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
- 3/4 cup brown rice syrup*
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- Coconut oil, for greasing pan
- Preheat your oven to 350º F. Meanwhile, grease a 9×9″ pan with coconut oil, and set aside.
- Toss oats, almonds, and cinnamon on a baking sheet, and toast in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until slightly golden and fragrant. Remove from oven, and let cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine Cheerios, nuts and seeds, and dried cranberries with the toasted oats, almonds, and cinnamon. Mix together.
- Heat a small saucepan over medium-low heat, and add your peanut butter, brown rice syrup, vanilla, and salt. Stir, and keep over heat until smooth, warm, and just combined. This should just take a few minutes.
- Pour the peanut butter and brown rice syrup mixture into your large mixing bowl, and toss until all ingredients are well-coated and sticky.
- Press the combined mixture into your greased baking pan, cover, and let set in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Once set, remove from freezer and cut into squares or bars of your choice.
* – I can’t guarantee results with any other sweetener. Brown rice syrup is really important for the right consistency and ‘stick’ factor. I purchased mine from Amazon and really love the Lundberg brand.
Keywords: Snack bars, cereal bars, healthy cereal bars, granola bars, healthy granola bars, gluten free granola bars, trail mix bars