Build your own bars

Do you spend oodles of money buying granola and/or nutritional bars for your kids each year? Save some cash and create them yourself. Bonus: You can also control the ingredients to make sure they’re healthy and not loaded with empty calories, artificial colors and flavors. Delicious and portable, the following bars are great to grab on the go. Toss ’em into school lunchboxes, camp backpacks and, of course, mom’s purse too!

Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

Makes about 30 bars

4 cups old fashioned oats
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup chocolate chips (or raisins, cherries, cranberries or other dried fruit)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup honey

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine the first 6 ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients over the oat mixture and stir to combine. Place granola mixture on a parchment-lined baking sheet and shape into a rectangle, about 13 x 9 x 1 inch thick. Bake for 40 minutes. Allow to cool completely then cut into 3 x 1 inch bars.

Note: Individually wrapped, the bars will remain fresh for several weeks.

Fruit and Seed Bars

Makes 20 bars

1 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds (also known as pepitas)
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons flax seeds
1 cup dried fruit (blueberries, raisins, currants, cranberries and/or cherries)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup sunflower butter (or use almond butter or peanut butter)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a food processor, pulse the first 6 ingredients until finely chopped. (It’s ok if there are a few coarsely chopped pieces.) Add the honey and sunflower and pulse until starting to combine. Pour the mixture into a 9 x 9 inch pan that has been greased, then line with parchment and press down into the pan until completely even. Bake for 25 minutes. Let the bars completely cool before cutting with a serrated knife into bars. Serve.

Note: If you want to freeze them, first cool then place in Ziploc bags, label and freeze. Defrost to room temperature and enjoy.

Recipes courtesy of
Photos by Maren Caruso