Let’s assume you’re trying to eat a balanced diet. One of your go-to snack options is a granola bar or an energy bar. Is that really a healthy option?
Many Nutrition Bars are Not Part of a Healthy Diet
Let’s look at the label of Balance Bar’s Chocolate Peanut Butter bar. If you go to the Balance Bar website, you will see the claims that eating this bar is a wonderful addition to a balanced diet. The website brags about the fact that it contains the perfect blend of 40% carbohydrates, 30% fat, and 30% protein.
What the website does not mention is that the bar is really a glorified candy bar. Here’s why. Although the bar contains only 200 calories, the label lists over 20 ingredients.
Some of the contents include mysterious things like calcium caseinate, fractionated palm kernel oil, sodium caseinate, tocopherols, and maltodextrin.
The bar also has a total of 17 grams of sugar from unhealthy ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, oligofructose, and high maltose corn syrup.
Make You Own Snack Bars as part of a Balanced Diet
Why not make your own energy bars that will contribute to a healthy balanced diet?
These homemade apricot pine nut bars contain ingredients which are good additions to a healthy diet. Apricots are rich sources of dietary fiber and iron. Pine nuts are loaded with minerals, especially iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, and manganese. Flaxseed is a “superseed,” that is high in heart-healthy omega-3 essential fatty acids.
Apricot-Pine Nut Granola Bars
Ingredients (makes 16 bars)
• Olive oil cooking spray
• 1/2 cup tart dried apricots, finely chopped
• 3 tablespoons water
• 1/2 cup runny wild honey
• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
• 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
• 3/4 cup pine nuts
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 cup ground golden flaxseed
1. Coat a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. Line bottom and sides with foil or parchment; spray again. Put apricots and water in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave on high until water is bubbling, about 1 minute. Stir well to ensure apricots evenly absorb water and soften while they cool.
2. Meanwhile, combine honey, oil and sugar in a large saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves and mixture starts to bubble, about 5 minutes. Add oats, pine nuts, cardamom and salt and cook, stirring constantly, until oats and pine nuts are golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and fold in apricots and any remaining liquid and ground flaxseed until evenly distributed. Immediately transfer mixture to prepared pan and spread in an even layer. Using a spatula, press mixture firmly and evenly into pan.
3. Let mixture cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Lift bars out of pan using sides of foil or parchment. Cut in half, then cut into eighths crosswise to form 16 bars.
Nutrition (per bar)
Click here for recipe that you can add to a balanced diet.