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Easy & Healthy Homemade Granola Bars

Kids and adults love these easy and healthy Homemade Granola Bars. Full of good stuff like oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, dried fruit and more. Make a big batch, slice and store them in the fridge or freezer for an on the go snack.

Today I had the great honor of giving a presentation about healthy eating to a group of nearly 40 young local gymnasts.

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These girls are on the competitive team at International Gymnastics and they train over 20 hours a week, including 4 hours after school every day. We talked about fueling their bodies for their high activity level, the importance of a substantial and healthy breakfast, snack options and much more.

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I had the girls work together to answer a quiz aimed at youth about food and nutrition. Then we went over the answers as a group and discussed each questions. We covered how to make sure they were getting enough carbs, healthy fats, protein and calcium-rich foods in their daily nutrition while also staying hydrated and well rested.

The highlight of the presentation was, of course, the food. I brought them homemade granola bars and made green smoothies for them during the presentation.

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I wanted to show them that it’s easy to make food that tastes good but features real foods with healthy, nutritious ingredients. I made one batch of granola bars that were almond butter based and another peanut butter based. They gobbled them up! Some of them were unsure about the green smoothie but everyone agreed they couldn’t taste the spinach and they finished their cups.

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I sent them home with the recipes to make with their parents but I wanted to share the granola bar recipe with you guys too because it’s so simple and delicious. They are no bake and ready in under 5 minutes.

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They’re full of good stuff like oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, dried fruit and more. I recommend making a big batch, slicing them and then storing them in the fridge or freezer for an on the go snack.

Easy & Healthy Homemade Granola Bars
(Recipe adapted from Minimalist Baker)

Ingredients:

2 cups pitted dates
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 cup roughly chopped raw almonds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup almond or peanut butter (natural style)
1/2 cup honey

Directions:

Place dates in a small bowl and cover with water. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Remove dates from microwave and place in food processor. Pulse until finely chopped.

In a small saucepan, combine nut butter and honey and melt over low heat, stirring to combine.

In a large bowl, place oats, dried fruit, nuts, cinnamon, salt and dates. Pour nut butter and honey mixture over the oats and stir to combine. Use your hands if you have to (coat them in cooking spray first) and really get everything mixed together. The oats will absorb the dates and nut butter mixture you just have to work it.

Spoon oat mixture into a parchment paper lined 13 x 9 dish and spread evenly. I like to use a piece of plastic wrap to press it down into the pan. Place in freezer until set, about 1 hour. Lift parchment out of the dish and slice into bars. Store in fridge or freezer.

Yield: about 20 bars

{ 51 comments… add one }
  • 1
    Haley @Cupcakes and Sunshine October 12, 2013, 6:25 pm

    Oh wow! What a great presentation. These bars look wonderful and I’m looking forward to trying them!! 🙂

  • 2
    Cherie Calcaterra October 12, 2013, 6:29 pm

    Will you post the green smoothie recipe too?
    Love your blog ! You always inspire me.

    • 3
      Jen October 15, 2013, 11:44 am

      yes!

      1 small banana
      1-2 cups spinach
      1/2 cup frozen fruit (i used mangos and pineapple)
      1/2 cup almond milk
      1/2 cup ice
      1/4-1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
      honey (optional if you need more sweetness)

  • 4
    Becky Burrell Washko October 12, 2013, 6:35 pm

    This is awesome, Jennifer! Wish we had known more about nutrition like this during our DHS day!

    • 5
      Jen October 15, 2013, 11:44 am

      girl, i hear you! i used to eat skittles and drink coke for breakfast! 😛

  • 6
    Matt @ The Athlete's Plate October 12, 2013, 7:32 pm

    These look delicious!

  • 7
    Fiona @ Get Fit Fiona October 12, 2013, 7:56 pm

    These look really good! I’m definitely going to have to try making them sometime soon.

  • 8
    Wendy October 12, 2013, 8:01 pm

    These look DIVINE! Can you post nutritional info please?

    • 9
      Jen October 15, 2013, 11:49 am

      around about 215 calories, 8 grams of fat, 6 grams of protein per bar if you do 20 of them.

  • 10
    Elise @ 9toFit.com October 12, 2013, 9:24 pm

    My boyfriend and I have been looking for a good granola bar recipe! I’ve been tired of the ones at the supermarket and felt like we could definitely make them better at home ourselves.. so thanks for sharing I can’t wait to try these!

    • 11
      Jen October 15, 2013, 11:49 am

      you can! they are so easy and keep well!

  • 12
    Tara | treble in the kitchen October 12, 2013, 9:27 pm

    What an amazing and inspiring talk!!! These granola bars look amazing too!!!! 🙂

  • 13
    Gina @ Health, Love, and Chocolate October 12, 2013, 10:28 pm

    I love the idea of teaching student athletes how simple it can be to prepare healthy food. I always love proving to people that no, you cannot in fact taste the spinach in green smoothies. 😉

    • 14
      Jen October 15, 2013, 11:50 am

      yes, we just talked about healthy and nutritious food choices and breakfast/snack ideas because that’s what most of them struggle with. they loved the smoothies!

  • 15
    Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope October 13, 2013, 4:52 am

    What a cool experience! I was a gymnast and competed growing up and it is definitely hard work… your body takes a beating some days!

    Love how “clean” this recipe is – definitely trying out!

    • 16
      Jen October 15, 2013, 11:51 am

      yes, i cannot believe these little ones practice 4 hours a day. most said they don’t eat dinner until 10 p.m. crazy!

  • 17
    Brittany @ proteinandpumps October 13, 2013, 8:49 am

    It’s so great that there are people out there who realize the importance of their nutrition and are coordinating things like this so they can learn. I was a gymnast for many years and nobody ever talked about nutrition outside of my home.

    • 18
      Jen October 15, 2013, 11:52 am

      i don’t think many of them are event getting it at home. we just talked about the importance of eating a healthy breakfast (some of them are skipping!), snack ideas and drinking lots of water. they were great!

  • 19
    Clara October 13, 2013, 9:18 am

    Love this granola recipe from the minimalist baker- it’s one of my favorites! And that presentation sounds awesome, I bet those girls looked up to you so much, Jen! xx

    • 20
      Jen October 15, 2013, 11:54 am

      i was hesitant to accept the speaking engagement as i am not an RD but two of the girls in the group are daughters of one of my friends/yoga students. we kept it focused on healthy snack ideas, the importance of eating breakfast, staying hydrated, that food and being a part of food choices can be fun and stayed away from any diet/calorie counting talk. i think it was good for them just to hear it from someone who is not their coach or mom, you know?

  • 21
    Lisa @ runningoutofwine October 13, 2013, 9:35 am

    This is so great! I work with kids and I think its so important to teach them about nutrition and healthy eating. Do you have a copy of the quiz you used? This recipe looks delicious too!

    • 22
      Jen October 15, 2013, 11:54 am

      i can email it to you!

  • 23
    She Rocks Fitness October 13, 2013, 2:42 pm

    Love the ingredients of these bars and will have to give it a try sometime this fall! What a great presentation for young women and so glad you got them to try the green smoothie. Everyone is always turned off by them until they taste it. People cringe when I tell them to add avocado to their smoothies. 😉

    • 24
      Jen October 15, 2013, 11:54 am

      i have yet to add the avocado. must try, especially since it’s one of my favorite foods of all time!

  • 25
    Megan (The Lyons' Share) October 13, 2013, 3:44 pm

    What a great experience! How did you get this opportunity? Would love to get involved with teaching kids nutrition like this!

    • 26
      Jen October 15, 2013, 11:56 am

      hey megan –

      one of my yoga students and friends has twin daughters who are on this gymnastics team and she asked me to do it. i was really hesitant to accept since i do not have an RD background but she really wanted me to focus more on getting them excited about healthy snack options and food choices. i kept it really broad and fun and talked more about cooking and making their own breakfasts and snacks. they loved it!

  • 27
    Katelyn January 14, 2014, 4:13 am

    Sounds so great! Just wondering how long can they be stored/last in the freezer for?

  • 28
    Sherry January 16, 2014, 7:07 pm

    This is the first homemade granola recipe I have tried and I love it! How long do the bars last in the fridge? I have a ton of them so I’m thinking about freezing some if they don’t last very long. Great recipe! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • 29
    Marilyn Navarro February 17, 2014, 1:53 pm

    I just made these my only question is when you process the dates do you first drain the water, or do you use it when processing?

  • 30
    Donna B. February 20, 2014, 3:38 pm

    Because I do not care for dates, I substituted 2 cups dates with 1 cup prunes and 1 cup dried cherries. There were so yummy!

  • 31
    Donna B. February 20, 2014, 3:39 pm

    Oops typo:(

  • 32
    Benjamin Bennett February 21, 2014, 3:36 am

    Thanks for this!

    This is the best granola bar recipe I’ve found yet!

    B )

  • 33
    Karen March 15, 2014, 11:24 am

    What are some healthy substitutions for honey? I am allergic to it. I’d love to try this recipie.

  • 36
    Joseph September 8, 2014, 5:15 pm

    Wonderful, I just made these they were incredible.

    The only issue I have is getting the shape to stay, I had them in the freezer for 2 hours and as I cut them they still fell apart. How long do they stay in a fridge?

  • 37
    Matilde September 25, 2014, 5:33 pm

    So delicious! I just made this, it looks so pretty! I put a big piece of parchment paper on the counter, put the mixture, then closed the paper like two windows and rolled it out like rolling out cookie dough. It was awesome. Do you happen to have the nutritional info for these?

  • 38
    Jacqueline McMorrow March 9, 2015, 3:07 pm

    How long will these stay in the refrigerator before going bad?

  • 39
    Jaclyn May 18, 2015, 10:29 am

    Do you have the nutritional breakdown including calories of the bars?

    • 40
      Jen DeCurtins May 19, 2015, 9:22 am

      No I haven’t!

  • 41
    Dave January 27, 2016, 8:38 pm

    Hi, thanks for this information. I just made my first batch and packaged it up for individual takings. I wanted to give you this link for the recipe that I created “Homemade Granola Bars – Jen Decurtins” on My Fitness Pal. You may have created the nutrition on this, so this could be a duplicate. I cut mine into bigger squares. Cheers!

    http://www.myfitnesspal.com/recipe/view/168231208734317

  • 42
    Beth July 11, 2016, 10:42 pm

    Last time I made it it turned out really wet. You said to cover the dates with water. Do you take the dates out of the water before you process them? Maybe a silly question, or do I need to barely cover them with water and keep that water for some of the moisture? Thank you

    • 43
      Jen DeCurtins July 12, 2016, 11:21 am

      Yes, definitely take the dates out of water after soaking. I will add that step in the directions.

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