Friday, January 27, 2012

Grab and Go Granola Bars

Makes 12 snack servings

Like most moms, I’m always busy, on the run, and looking for some healthy grab-and go snacks for my kids.

I always try to arrive at after school pick up armed with something yummy and healthy, whether it is nuts, fruit, a sandwich, or a homemade super-food cookie. I try to have something that will nourish and satisfy my children, always on the lookout for new healthy products. I am the type of woman who is engrossed by the aisles in health food stores the way other women are captivated by Tiffany’s. I simply love discovering new foods and products.
So I was thrilled, when the folks at Kraft Foods contacted me to review a new health food bar that has no preservatives, artificial flavors, or colors. What I found really intriguing was that the bar is made with real milk and is found in the refrigerated dairy aisle. They also provided a gift card to conduct a taste test against some other granola bars.

Since I agreed to the terms, my kids, and their friends tried the bars. I put them up against Lara Bars and Gnu foods – my personal favorites. There was a tie between the gnu bars and the MilkBite bars from Kraft. While I am still a hard-core fan of Gnu and Lara bars as my go-to snack bars, I found these bars to be quite interesting. I loved that MilkBites had oats and chicory fiber, while leaving out preservatives. I will continue to make my own granola bars, but my kids really enjoyed these as a treat.

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup pecans or other nuts, coarsely chopped
½ cup unsweetened flaked coconut
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup maple syrup
4-tablespoon liquid coconut oil
1 cup dried fruit (blueberries, goji berries, apricots, raisins or any other unsulphured choice)


1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. In a very large bowl, combine oats, nuts, coconut, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
3. In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the syrup and oil together.
4. Pour liquid over dry mixture and stir thoroughly to combine. I think using your hands works best, but a spoon also works.
5. Dump mixture onto two rimmed baking sheets, spreading out the granola evenly.
6. Bake for 25 to 40 minutes, stirring mixture every ten minutes. Remove granola when it is light brown, as it does continue to cook after being taken from the oven. If you wait until the granola is dark, it will have a bitter, burned taste.
7. Enjoy!