Homemade Granola Bars Recipes


Homemade granola bars (otherwise known as muesli, cereal, or breakfast bars) taste much better than the supermarket variety and are much healthier, as you know exactly what YOU put into them. You can simply make a basic recipe and add the ingredients you want, and omit the fat, corn sugar, processed foods, artificial color and flavors and other junk that is found in many bars your buy ready-made. You can add any combination of sunflower seeds, raisins, sultanas, dried mango, dried apple, died banana, a variety of dried fruits, chocolate pieces, chopped nuts or various sorts, cherries, wheat germ. You name, it you can add it.

Granola bars keep well in an airtight container and are just perfect for snacks, parties and for school lunches. They make an ideal breakfast-on-the-go and a great for taking on bush walks and hikes, or for a snack when playing sport. You can easily adjust the recipes shown below to deal with allergies by using gluten free flour, eliminating all nuts (particularly any traces of peanuts in any of the ingredients if this is a concern). You can replace the sugar with honey or molasses or make sugar-free granola bars that the whole family will love. Many people also blend fresh herbs and spices into their bars for extra taste and nutritional benefits (for example Echinacea, Basil, Sage Ginkgo Biloba). You can also add sunflower seeds, other seeds, wheat germ and various sources of protein.

This article provides a guide for making healthy granola bars at home and includes several recipes shown below. It begins with a review showing that most commercial granolas bars are unhealthy and are essentially candy bars wrapped in a 'health food' wrapper.

Peanut Butter Chocolate and Trail Mix Granola Bars are made with wholesome ingredients to create homemade treats for kids that are healthy and rich in nutrients
Peanut Butter Chocolate and Trail Mix Granola Bars are made with wholesome ingredients to create homemade treats for kids that are healthy and rich in nutrients.

Traditionally, granola bars were made by combining granola muesli (mostly consisting of rolled oats) with dried fruit, nuts, seeds and spices, plus flour and a little oil. The mixture was formed into bars and baked to form chewy or hard bars.

But in the last 10-20 years, the basic granola muesli has been corrupted by processed foods, sugar, fat and many unnatural ingredients. As a consequence the granola bar has evolved into a sugar and fat packed snack that may contain marshmallows, pieces or chips of chocolate, caramels and other candy items, fat and artificial flavours.

Most of the ingredients are artificial and highly processed (even the 'fruit' is not natural). May contain very little fibre and what you get in the end with is a snack that is stuffed with sugar and of fat, with low fibre, high calorie density and little nutritional value.

What's Wrong with Commercial Granola Bars

Most granola bars, cereal bars, muesli bars and breakfast bars now contain sweets and candy like ingredients and they are often dipped in a sugary syrup, chocolate, or sugar laden yogurt topping.

A close scrutiny of the nutrition labels may shock you can many contain more than 20% sugar and lots of fat. Many granola bars are virtually high calorie candy bars, which is illustrated by the comparison below.

One 46-gram pack of Nature Valley - peanut butter bars contains 229 calories 149 mg of sodium, 10 grams of fat and about 10 grams of sugar.

In comparison a 45-gram 'Kit Kat' chocolate bar, of the same size, contains 229 calories, 34 mg of sodium, 11 grams of fat and about 21 grams of sugar.

The table shown below compares the nutrients for a range of Best Muesli bars and Worst Museli bars in a survey conducted by Choice Magazine in Australia.

Also shown for comparison are the nutrients in an apple and a Mars bar. In the table 'OK' is used to signify that the bar met the criteria. For example the criteria for fibre was that the bar contained at least 1.8 g of dietary fibre per bar.

The Good bars were very good with all the nutrient criteria being met with low calorie densities, low fat, low sugar and high fibre, and were similar to an apple

The Bad bars were very bad with almost none of the nutrient criteria being met and high calorie contents per bar, resembling that of a Mars bar.

But the good news is that you can avoid all this by making them at home from wholesome whole food ingredients.

What Makes Homemade Granola Bars Special

The Best and Worst Commercial Granola Bars

Cereal bars
Energy per bar (kJ)
Calories per 100g
Energy
Whole grains
Saturated fat
Sugars
Dietary fibre
Bar size (g)
 
 
 
<600 kj per bar
Major component
< 1.5 g per bar
<10 g per bar
>1.8 g per bar
 
BEST
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Apple red (for comparison)
320
55
OK
 
OK
OK
OK
140
NESTLE Ski DeLite Apple & Pear
363
363
OK
OK
OK
OK
OK
24
FIT & ACTIVE Grains Delight
452
329
OK
OK
OK
OK
OK
33
NICE & NATURAL Apricot Muesli Bars
540
370
OK
OK
OK
OK
OK
35
UNCLE TOBYS Chewy Muesli Bars (Apricot)
540
418
OK
OK
OK
OK
OK
31
NICE & NATURAL Choc Chip Muesli Bars
570
391
OK
OK
OK
OK
OK
35
A O Apricot & Almond Bars
600
411
OK
OK
OK
OK
OK
35
WORST
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mars Bar (for comparison)
697
418
 
 
 
 
 
40
CADBURY BrunchBar Cranberry & Orange
650
446
 
OK
 
 
 
35
NICE & NATURAL Yoghurt Natural Nut Bars
703
482
 
 
 
 
 
35
KELLOGG'S K-time Muffin Bars Apple
719
383
 
 
OK
 
 
45
BE NATURAL Almond and Apricot Bars
790
474
 
 
 
 
OK
40
SUNIBRITE Apricot & Muesli Slices
849
453
 
 
 
 
OK
45

RECIPES

Simple Basic Recipe

4 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup honey
2/3 cup butter, softened; or margarine
1/3 cup packed brown sugar (optional)
chopped dried fruit and nuts (optional)

Rich Granola Bars

2 cups raw rolled oats
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 cup sliced or slithered almonds
1/2 cup of wheat germ
1/2 cu of honey
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped dried fruit, fresh fruit (combination of apricots, dried mango, cherries or blueberries, raisins, sultanas)

Fruity Granola Bars

2 cups raw oatmeal
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup shredded or desiccated coconut
1 cup sliced or slithered almonds
2/3 cup good quality honey
1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
1/4 cup light or dark brown sugar 
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried cranberries 
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots





Ganola bars made with natural ingredients such as wholegrain rolled oats, nuts and dried fruit are highly nutritious and much healthier than commercial granola bars
Ganola bars made with natural ingredients such as wholegrain rolled oats, nuts and dried fruit are highly nutritious and much healthier than commercial granola bars.
Ganola bars are easy to make at home have much less sugar 
  and fat than commercial varieties. Learn how to make them here
Ganola bars are easy to make at home have much less sugar and fat than commercial varieties. Learn how to make them here.
The nutrients in granola bars can be boosted by rolling them in a variety of seeds, nuts, protein powder and rolled oats. You can ice them with a low sugar frosting
The nutrients in granola bars can be boosted by rolling them in a variety of seeds, nuts, protein powder and rolled oats. You can ice them with a low sugar frosting Public Domain
Skip that protein shake, and try one of these homemade ganola bars made with protein powder, fruit nuts and rolled oats
Skip that protein shake, and try one of these homemade ganola bars made with protein powder, fruit nuts and rolled oats. Source: Public Domain
Homemade Keto Protein Bars - delicious and so healthy
Homemade Keto Protein Bars - delicious and so much healthier than commercial granola bars. See the great collection of recipes here. Source: Public Domain
Strawberry Breakfast Granola bars - see the recipe for homemade healthy granola bars here
Strawberry Breakfast Granola bars - see the recipe for homemade healthy granola bars here. Public Domain
Pumpkin Granola Bars are a healthy snack. They are easy to make using these recipes.
Pumpkin Granola Bars are a healthy snack. They are easy to make using these recipes. Public Domain
Ganola bars with dried fruit such as apricots and nuts is a fabulous healthy snack to provide and energy and nutrient boost when the mood and energy levels flags.
Granola bars with dried fruit such as apricots and nuts is a fabulous healthy snack to provide and energy and nutrient boost when the mood and energy levels flags.
Homemade granola bars are a delicious way to boost your protein intake. 
  They are much healthier than the commercial ones as you control the ingredients
Homemade granola bars are a delicious way to boost your protein intake. They are much healthier than the commercial ones as you control the ingredients. Source: Public Domain