In the first post in this series, we talked about why it is important to avoid microwave popcorn and some easy alternatives for doing it yourself.
Another common confusing "health" food is granola or granola bars.
As the natural health movement gained momentum a few decades ago, granola was touted as an excellent option to replace processed, sugary cereal. And it can be!
However, most prepared granola is packed with sugars, unhealthy oils and unnecessary ingredients.
Likewise, granola bars have over a dozen ingredients, too much sugar and little to no protein. Some of them are not too different than a candy bar in their nutrition make up and how it is digested by the body.
What to look for instead:
Aim for granola bars with less than 5 grams of sugar and with a few grams of protein or made with healthy fats, like nuts and seeds. If there are natural sugars from dried fruit, the sugar grams may be higher.
Granola is hard to find under 10-12 grams of sugar, but look for granola sweetened with natural sweeteners and without vegetable or soybean oils.
DIY: 3 Ingredient Granola Bars
If you want to make it yourself, this recipe comes together very quickly. I love Ezekial's unsweetened cereal - you can add your own nut butter and honey or maple syrup for a much healthier option.
1/2 c. natural nut butter (I used almond butter)
2-3 tbsp honey
3/4 c. Ezekial cereal
Combine the nut butter and honey (microwave briefly if you need to help it soften). Then stir in enough cereal to make it thick and not too sticky. Spread it into a small glass storage container and refrigerate until it hardens. Enjoy!
Another option is this gluten free granola bar (oat-based) that our family likes to make.
If you're looking for a bar to buy, I like the simple ingredients in Larabars, Kind Bars, Health Warrior Chia, Thunderbird Energetica bars or a healthy protein bar.
Do you buy or make your own granola or bars?
Have you checked the ingredients of your favorite brands?