Chewy Oat & Seed Granola Bars -Gluten & Refined Sugar Free!

I love chewy, oaty granola bars. I love the flavours, the textures, taste and the convenience but what I don’t love is the mile long ingredients list! I mean what the hell are mixed Tocopherols? Who wants to eat Maltodextrin or Palm Kernel Oil- frankly it makes a scary read, especially when these are considered a ‘healthy’ option.

Processed foods and things we can’t pronounce are a no no, unless on the odd occasion. I’ve spoken about the 80/20 rule before, we want to be eating nutritious, healthy foods at least 80% of the time and then for the remainder it’s okay to relax a little and have what you fancy. That might still be nutritious food or it may be ice cream and crisps, it’s all about balance.

We certainly don’t want to be relying on the kinds of foods in that ingredients list as our main source of fuel. So here’s a recipe with just a handful of ingredients. Ingredients you understand and trust, that you’re happy to put into your body. The bars are sweetened with dates, a natural source of sugar, and they’re crammed full of healthy oats, quinoa and lovely dried fruit and nut butter. I’ve used coconut oil as the fat because it’s literally jam packed with health benefits, it seems like there’s nothing it can’t do. If Trump falls flat I’m pretty sure coconut oil could happily take his place….

They are great for grabbing on the go especially if time is tight at breakfast time. Or pack one up for elevenses, if you’ve got a sweet tooth then they really hit the spot. I could eat them any time of day as they are exactly what I crave when I feel like a treat.

You can also add chopped nuts to these if you like, just remove the same weight of oats or fruit. They’ll keep for two weeks in an airtight container, that is if they last that long! Happy mindful baking and eating!

Chewy Oat & Seed Granola Bars -Gluten & Refined Sugar Free!

Cuts into 20 bars

240g pitted dates

5 tbsp Coconut oil, melted

2 heaped tbsp nut butter

1 tsp Vanilla bean paste or extract

1 tsp bicarb (gluten-free)

1/2 tbsp lemon or lime juice

200g Oats (use gluten-free if you like)

50g Oat flour (or ground oats – do this yourself in the food processor before you do the dates)

50g gluten-free cereal such as puffed rice or quinoa.

2 tbsp Mixed seeds e.g. Chai seeds, sunflower, pumpkin etc

3 tbsp Coconut

5 tbsp Dried fruit

Heat oven to 170C fan/gas 5. Line a 20 cm 30 cm tin with parchment. Boil and kettle and soak the dates for an hour then drain, reserving 3 tbsp of the liquid. Put into a food processor with the melted coconut oil, vanilla, nut butter, lemon juice and the reserved soaking liquid and blend until you have a smooth paste. You may need to scrape down the sides a couple of times.

Tip the dry ingredients into a large bowl with a pinch of sea salt. Mix the bicarb with 1 tbsp boiling water and add to the date paste then quickly pour into the dry ingredients and mix until everything is coated. This will be a bit of an arm workout and it may seem like there isn’t enough paste to coat but if you keep working using a big spatula it eventually all gets coated.

Tip into your tin and flatten out with the back of a spoon and bake for 15 minutes. Cool for an hour then chill In the fridge for at least 2 hours before cutting into 5 long strips and then cut each into 4. Keep in the fridge (this stops them getting too crumbly) for up to 2 weeks. 

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