Sunday, March 19, 2017



Homemade Granola Bars

I am always looking for nutrient dense foods to put in my girl's lunch boxes that will give them a steady release of energy throughout the day with lots of good minerals and vitamins instead of empty calories and foods that leave them hungry within an hour and craving processed and industrialized sugars which add very little to no nutritional value. These bars are not only loaded with nutrition and sugar God's way but are quick and easy to prepare ahead of time and keep all week. Not only is it a healthier option than the store bought chemical laden bars but much more cost effective.  I love experimenting on the weekends with foods that will provide essential nutrition and these got the accolades and requests for more.

1 heaping cup of dates
1 1/2 cup of rolled organic oats  
1/4 cup of honey (local and raw is best)
1/4 cup sunflower butter (organic)
1 cup of cinnamon pumpkin seeds (Super Seedz)
1 Tbsp of flaxseed
1 Tbsp of hemp seeds (organic)

Process dates in the food processor until small bits remain. It should be like a dough consistency. Toast oats and pumpkin seeds on 350 degrees for approximately 10 - 15 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Place seeds and oats in a large mixing bowl with the dates.  Warm honey and sunflower butter and stir and then pour over oat mixture and stir well. Transfer mixture to an 8 x 8 inch baking dish or small pan lined with plastic wrap or parchment paper so that they lift easy. Press firmly until flattened. The bottom of a glass works well to press. Cover with plastic wrap or parchment paper. Place in the refrigerator or freezer for 10-15 minutes. Cut and place in airtight container.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can mix it up just about anyway you like. You can add things like chia seeds, unsweetened coconut flakes, or use almond butter instead of sunflower butter. If you like you can even add dark chocolate chips or one of my favorites, cacao nibs.

Health benefits of the ingredients are as follows:

DATES - Weight loss, relieves constipation by promoting digestive health with their soluble and insoluble fiber and this helps to decrease the risk of colitis, colon cancer and hemorrhoids. They support regular bowel movements, promote heart health and reduce risk of heart disease, help with boosting heart health, are rich in magnesium which is a mineral known as an anti-inflammatory and helps to reduce blood pressure. They also have potassium which also assists in the proper functioning of the heart. They have been shown to reduce the risk of stroke and boost brain health.

ROLLED OATS -  Reduces risk of diabetes, heart disease and some forms of cancer, high in fiber which helps control appetite which aides in weight loss, associated with a 5 percent reduction in total cholesterol and a 7 percent reduction in LDL cholesterol, the type associated with heart disease.

HONEY - Helps prevent cancer and heart disease, acts as an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, increases athletic performance, reduces coughs and throat irritation, helps regulate blood glucose, and heals wounds and burns. It has been used in Ayurveda medicine for at least 4,000 years and is considered to affect all three of the body's primitive material imbalances positively. It has been linked to improved eyesight, weight loss, curing impotence, urinary tract disorders, bronchial asthma, diarrhea and nausea.

SUNFLOWER BUTTER - Sunflower seeds are a unique food, rich in many types of essential and sometimes hard to get nutrients. They are rich in Vitamin E, copper, B vitamins like thiamine, phosphorus, selenium and more. Basically they are power packed and a much better option than the acidic peanuts. They provide essential fatty acids in the form of linoleic acid. Additionally they are a great source of fiber which aids digestive health thereby reducing risk for colitis, colon cancer, and other gastrointestinal diseases and assist in curbing the appetite.

PUMPKIN SEEDS - These amazing seeds are power packed and great for getting minerals like manganese to magnesium to copper, protein and zinc. They are power houses and like sunflower seeds they contain phytosterols and free-radical scavenging anti-oxidants that can boost your health. They are great for heart health, immunity, cell growth and division, sleep, mood, eye and skin health, glucose regulation and male sexual function. They help to combat prostate cancer, diabetes, and due to their being a natural rich phytoestrogens they are great in menopausal women combating hot flashes, mood swings,  joint pains and other menopausal symptoms. When mixed with flax seeds they are particularly helpful with promoting liver health. Also, they are known as an anti-inflammatory which means that are helpful in combating just about every illness in the body.

FLAX SEED - It has been said to potentially help fight heart disease, diabetes and breast cancer. Cultivated in Babylon as early as 3,000 BC it is a power packed plant choice. Due to its being high in fiber it too is great at helping to promote weight loss through appetite control, and assist with gastrointestinal health. High in Omega 3s it has been shown to be beneficial in heart health and fighting diabetes and inflammation and can also help with decreasing the effects of menopause.

HEMP SEED - Great source of Omega 3s and Omega 6s and is another power packed nutritious food source in a small package. It is a perfect protein that not only contains all 20 amino acids but also each of the 9 essential amino acids that our bodies can not produce. This little seed is also rich in soluble and insoluble fiber which naturally cleanses the colon and reduces cravings. It is loaded with phytonutrients including minerals like magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, Zinc, vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B6, D and E. It will aid in boosting the body's immunity as well as help to thwart off diseases of the heart as well as cancers to things like adhd.

These granola bars make me ask, why in the world would anyone choose store bought highly processed granola bars with high prices and ingredients like organic cane syrup, soy, high fructose corn syrup, etc when they can make homemade and get all God's good and perfect nutrition the way He intended us to have it?  Happy and healthy snacking to each of you until my next post.

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