Finding a quick, portable snack is always a challenge when trying to maintain healthy food choices. Granola bars seem like a good choice, but they can often be high in calories, sugar, and even fat! These homemade bars are inexpensive and you know exactly what is in them. Sweeten with honey, they have a more complex flavor than store-bought products made with white sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. They also provide trace amounts of micronutrients.
A fun fact about honey: Eating locally produced honey is thought to help the immune system withstand seasonal environmental allergies to pollen. If allergies are a problem for you or your family, read the labels on the various honey products at your local supermarket and be sure to buy local honey. Better yet, check out your farmer's market for high-quality local honey.
Cranberry Honey Granola Bars
3 ounces vegetable oil
1 ounce water
1/2 cup honey
1 egg, well beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup crisp rice cereal
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup chopped dried cranberries
Grease a 10 X 15 inch pan well. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (325 degrees for a glass baking dish).
Cream together oil, water, and honey in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the egg and the vanilla. In a smaller bowl, mix together the flour, wheat germ, rolled oats rice cereal, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Fold the dry ingredients into the wet until just barely mixed. Add the chopped walnuts and dried cranberries.
Spread mixture evenly in the baking dish. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until brown. Honey burns quickly, so watch carefully.
Cool on a wire rack, then cut into 16 bars or 32 square cookies.
The granola bars will be chewy, not hard; wrap in foil or plastic wrap to transport individual bars to the gym or the ball field. They're great for breakfast on the run, too!
Substitute sunflower seeds, other types of nuts, and other dried fruit for the walnuts and cranberries.