It is often thought that cereal bars are a healthy snack, ideal for athletes and snacking between meals, although if the wrong ingredients are used, a cereal bar can become less healthy than a chocolate bar. Many bars contain ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and refined sugars, while some simply have too much sugar or sodium. Also, many bars can contain animal products, such as dairy, eggs, and honey. Of course, there are truly healthy bars that you can buy, but you may find it easier, more cost-effective, and more fun to make yourself. Try the following tips and tricks to make your own bars and make them as healthy (or not) as you want.
Start with a basic recipe
Making your own cereal bars is easy – just make a cereal and nut mix called granola and bake it. Although some basic ingredients go into most recipes, use your imagination and creativity when selecting ingredients and flavors. Oats are generally used as the base, to which you can add other grains such as quinoa, rice, wheat germ, flour, or even crunchy cereals. You get the texture and flavor by adding nuts, dried apricots, raisins, prunes, walnuts, dates, dried figs, seeds, or coconut. Choose a sweetener like rice syrup, maple syrup, agave, cane syrup, or brown sugar and a type of fat, which can be coconut oil, vegan margarine, or peanut or almond butter. And finally, add a little flavor with vanilla essence, cinnamon, and other spices. Once you’ve chosen your ingredients, mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and heat the liquid ingredients in a saucepan. Then mix everything, pour into a baking pan lined with parchment paper, press well and bake. Let cool and cut into bars and this is it! Anyone can do it and it’s a fun activity to do with kids.
If you want your bars to be less crunchy and chewier, add a little flaxseed meal or crushed flax seeds to the recipe.
- If you prefer crispy bars, once cut, bake them for another 5-10 minutes.
- Sticky ingredients like sweeteners and some of the fats help the ingredients in the bars stick together and the bars do not break after baking. If you use liquids, such as margarine, you should use them in moderation, as the excess liquid can cause the bars to break. Another way to ensure they don’t break is to bake them to a dark golden color.
- Before cutting the bars, wait as long as necessary for them to cool.
- Make some cereal “bites” by forming small balls with your hands and baking them, instead of cutting the dough into bars.
- Store the bars at room temperature, or wrap them tightly in cling film by placing a piece of paper between each one and freeze.
For celiacs, it can be a difficult task to find gluten-free cereal bars, and the solution to this problem could not be easier! Make gluten-free cereal bars using certified gluten-free oats that have not been packaged at a factory where you handle wheat or other sources of gluten. Choose gluten-free grains, such as quinoa, rice, or gluten-free flours, and avoid wheat, barley, and rye. Some sweeteners, like certain brands of syrups, may contain ingredients that contain gluten, like barley. In the cooking process, there is no difference compared to regular bars.
Try various combinations of your favorite ingredients. We recommend that you try to prepare the following:
- Dark chocolate, dried cranberries, and almonds
- Banana, applesauce, and cinnamon (banana bread flavor)
- Pumpkin puree, walnuts, and spices (cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg) (pumpkin pie flavor)
- Cocoa powder, almonds, and peanut butter (brownie flavor)
- Cocoa powder, walnuts, and mint extract (after eight flavors)