I always love grabbing a granola bar after working out at the gym. They are so tasty and so healthy, they just make me feel good. That is until I look at my hands and they are a sticky mess from the sugars or agave. The other problem I run into is there are always nuts added for protein. So, what could be a great fiber filled snack for my daughter becomes a no-no since she is allergic to peanuts. I saw this recipe on a friend’s blog and immediately printed it out. If you have a toddler than you know how picky they can be and how desperate you become to feed them something that is healthy and that they think is a treat. The sweeter the better! This recipes uses bananas and applesauce to sweeten it up and bind everything together. It’s great because I keep all of these ingredients in my pantry anyways! You can pop them in the fridge and they’ll last a week or put them in an airtight freezer bag and they’ll last 3 months! Your best bet is to make a double batch for the freezer. Between my husband, daughter, and myself we made a dent in the batch before they even hit the refrigerator!
Low-fat Granola Bars with Bananas, Cranberries, and Pecans
- 3 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
- 3/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped (I omitted since my daughter has a nut allergy)
- 3 large, ripe bananas
- 2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 tbsp ground flax seed (or flax meal)
- 1/2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 9 x 13 inch baking sheet with parchment paper, with about 1 inch of parchment paper overlapping the sides. Spread out the oats and chopped pecans on a baking sheet. Place in the oven until they are lightly toasted, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
In a medium bowl, mash the bananas with the back of a fork. Stir in the applesauce until combined.
Transfer the oats and pecans to a large bowl and stir in dried cranberries, ground flax seed (flax meal), cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Stir the banana mixture into the oat mixture until well combined and starting to clump together. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and press down evenly.
Bake until the bars are golden brown and starting to separate from sides of the pan, about 30 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
Use the parchment paper to lift the bars out of the pan. Let cool to room temperature, then cut into 15 bars. Serve or store in an airtight container.
Nutrition Information (per serving): 157 calories; 5.9 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 79 mg. sodium; 24.5 g. carbohydrate; 3.8 g. fiber; 3.3 g. protein