This recipe for these power seed & fruit energy granola bars is packed with nutrition and delicious flavour. The best part about these seed & fruit energy bars is that they hold together and can be kept out of the freezer.
They are made with oats, coconut, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, slivered almonds, sesame seeds, dried cranberries, and dried cranberries. To bind them together we are going to use coconut oil, honey, maple syrup and a little brown sugar. I also like to add cinnamon and a squeeze of an orange along with the zest which gives it some added nutritional value and a real lift in the taste!
Benefits to having Oats in your diet
Oats are the main ingredient here and for good reason! Some of the fantastic benefits of adding oats to your diet are:
Nutrient-rich: Oats are a good source of essential nutrients, including dietary fibre, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc, and B vitamins. Incorporating oats into your diet can help ensure you obtain these important nutrients.
High in fibre: Oats are rich in soluble and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre helps lower cholesterol levels, regulate blood sugar levels, and promote healthy digestion. Insoluble fibre adds bulk to stool, aiding in regular bowel movements and preventing constipation.
Heart health: The soluble fibre in oats, known as beta-glucan, has been shown to help reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. By lowering cholesterol, oats can contribute to a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke.
Blood sugar control: The soluble fibre in oats also helps regulate blood sugar levels by slowing down digestion and the absorption of carbohydrates. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with diabetes or those at risk of developing the condition.
Weight management: Oats are a filling and satisfying food due to their fibre content. Including oats in your diet can help keep you fuller for longer, reducing the likelihood of overeating and aiding in weight management.
Digestive health: The fiber in oats supports healthy digestion and can help alleviate constipation. It promotes regular bowel movements and contributes to a healthy gut microbiome.
Antioxidant properties: Oats contain antioxidants called avenanthramides, which have anti-inflammatory and protective effects on cardiovascular health.
Enhanced satiety: Oats have a high satiety value, meaning they help you feel satisfied and full after consuming them. This can be beneficial for managing cravings and maintaining a healthy diet
what are the health benefits to adding seeds into your diet?
Seeds, such as sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and almonds, offer various health benefits due to their nutrient profiles:
- Excellent source of plant-based protein, aiding in muscle repair and growth.
- Rich in healthy fats, including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which support heart health.
- High in fiber, promoting digestive health and aiding in weight management.
- Packed with minerals like calcium, iron, and magnesium, essential for bone health and energy production.
- Abundant in vitamin E, a potent antioxidant that protects cells from damage and supports immune function.
- Provide healthy fats, including linoleic acid, which is crucial for brain health and reducing inflammation.
- Contain phytosterols that may help lower cholesterol levels.
- Good source of selenium, supporting thyroid function and promoting DNA repair.
- Rich in magnesium, promoting proper muscle and nerve function, as well as supporting bone health.
- High in antioxidants, including vitamin E and carotenoids, which help reduce inflammation and protect against chronic diseases.
- Contain tryptophan, which aids in the production of serotonin, promoting relaxation and better sleep.
- Provide zinc, crucial for immune function, hormone regulation, and skin health
- Yes, Almonds are a seed!
Nutrient-rich: Almonds are packed with essential nutrients, including vitamin E, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and iron.
Heart health: The monounsaturated fats in almonds have been associated with reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, thus promoting heart health and reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Weight management: Almonds are a satisfying snack due to their combination of protein, fibre, and healthy fats. They can help control appetite, promote feelings of fullness, and support weight management goals.
Blood sugar control: Almonds have a low glycemic index and are rich in fibre, healthy fats, and protein. Consuming almonds can help regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity.
Bone health: Almonds provide essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, which contribute to maintaining strong bones and teeth.
Brain health: Almonds are a good source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that supports brain health and may help reduce the risk of cognitive decline and neurodegenerative disorders.
Skin health: The vitamin E content in almonds contributes to maintaining healthy skin, protecting against oxidative stress, and promoting a youthful complexion.
Incorporating these seeds into your diet can enhance nutritional intake and contribute to overall well-being.
Healthy benefits in Coconut oil
For this recipe, I have chosen to use coconut oil in place of butter mainly for its health benefits. I always buy a gigantic container of the Kirkland Coconut Oil from Costco. It last forever and makes tons of bars! Here are some good reasons to use coconut oil for your health!
Heart health: Coconut oil is a plant-based fat that primarily consists of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). Unlike butter, which is high in saturated fat, coconut oil contains mainly saturated fats in the form of MCTs. These MCTs are believed to have a neutral effect on cholesterol levels and may even increase levels of beneficial HDL cholesterol.
Weight management: Coconut oil has been suggested to support weight management due to its MCT content. MCTs are easily absorbed by the body and can be utilized as a quick source of energy. They may also help increase feelings of fullness and boost metabolism slightly, potentially aiding in weight loss or maintenance.
Digestive health: Some individuals find that using coconut oil instead of butter can be easier on the digestive system. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which has antimicrobial properties that may support gut health.
Cooking versatility: Coconut oil has a higher smoke point compared to butter, making it suitable for high-heat cooking methods like frying or baking. Its unique flavor can also add a pleasant tropical note to dishes.
Skin and hair care: Coconut oil is commonly used in skincare and hair care products due to its moisturizing properties. It can help nourish and hydrate the skin and hair when used topically.
What Sweeteners to use
Using honey and maple syrup as sweeteners can offer a few benefits compared to refined sugar:
- Nutritional content: Honey contains small amounts of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which can vary depending on the type of honey. These include vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and various beneficial plant compounds.
- Natural energy boost: Honey is primarily composed of carbohydrates, including glucose and fructose, making it a source of quick energy.
- Potential health benefits: Some studies suggest that honey may have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. It has been used for centuries in traditional medicine for various purposes.
- Flavor and versatility: Honey adds a distinct sweet taste to dishes and can enhance flavors in both sweet and savory recipes. It is available in different varieties with unique flavors and characteristics.
- Natural and unprocessed: Maple syrup is derived from the sap of maple trees, making it a minimally processed and natural sweetener option.
- Unique flavor profile: Maple syrup has a rich, distinctive taste that adds depth and complexity to recipes.
- Contains beneficial compounds: While maple syrup is still a sweetener, it contains small amounts of minerals like manganese, zinc, and calcium. It also contains antioxidants, particularly in darker grades of syrup.
- Sustainable and local sourcing: Maple syrup production is often associated with sustainable and environmentally friendly practices. It can be sourced locally in areas where maple trees grow.
Benefits of dried fruit
Using dried fruit in a recipe for a granola bar can offer several benefits, both in terms of taste and nutrition. Here are some benefits of including dried fruit in your granola bar recipe:
Natural Sweetness: Dried fruits, such as raisins, dates, cranberries, or apricots, add natural sweetness to your granola bars without the need for excessive amounts of added sugars. This can make your bars more flavorful and enjoyable while reducing your reliance on refined sugars.
Nutrient Dense: Dried fruits are concentrated sources of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They provide essential nutrients like dietary fiber, potassium, iron, and vitamins A and C. Adding dried fruit to your granola bars enhances their nutritional profile and contributes to a well-rounded snack option.
Fiber Boost: Dried fruits are high in dietary fiber, which promotes healthy digestion, helps maintain regular bowel movements, and provides a feeling of fullness. Including dried fruit in your granola bars increases their fiber content, making them more satisfying and supporting digestive health.
Energy and Nutrient Source: Dried fruits are a concentrated source of energy due to their natural sugars. They can provide a quick boost of energy, making them an excellent ingredient for granola bars intended as a snack or for physical activity.
Texture and Chewiness: Dried fruits add a pleasant texture and chewiness to granola bars. They can provide a contrast to the crunchy texture of oats and nuts, creating a more enjoyable eating experience.
Extended Shelf Life: Drying fruits removes their moisture content, helping to extend their shelf life without the need for preservatives. This can be advantageous when making homemade granola bars, allowing them to be stored for longer periods without spoilage.
Healthy Seed & Fruit Power Energy Granola Bars
- 4 cups Oats
- 1 cup Oats, grounded up fine
- 2 tbsp. Cinnamon
- 1 tsp. Salt
- 3/4 cup Coconut oil
- 1 cup Maple Syrup
- 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
- 1/3 cup Honey
- 1 cup Coconut
- 1 cup Pumpkin Seeds
- 1 cup Slivered Almonds
- 1 cup Sesame Seeds
- 1 cup Sunflower Seeds
- 1 cup Dried Cranberries
- 1 cup Dried Apricots, diced into bite sized pieces
- 1 Orange, zest and juice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2-9x11 baking trays with sides with parchment paper.In a small saucepan, add coconut oil, maple syrup, and brown sugar and melt everything together.In a blender, add 1 cup of oats and blend to a flour consistenecy.In a large mixing bowl add oats, oat flour, coconut, pumpkin seeds, slivered almonds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, and diced apricots. Add the maple syrup liquid to the seeds and oats. Mix well. Bake for 35 minutes or until the tops are nice and golden and the edges are brown but not dark.Cool completely in the pan for 20 minutes. Place the cooled pans into the fridge and continue to chill for 30 minutes before cutting into bars. store in an airtigth container. You can also freeze them and pull them out as needed.