So even though passing out at work the other day wasn’t due to low blood sugar, it was a good reminder to take a step back and see how I could make my days a little easier to get through.

One of the most glaringly obvious things missing was snacks. It’s funny—nutrition is my “business” so to speak, but my first few weeks of the internship were a great example of forgetting your own rules apply to you. I’m always telling people to do what works for them, but there I was, thinking, “Well gee, everyone else seems to be fine going so long between meals—maybe I just need to get used to it?” Hah, no. Now I realize that actually, most of my fellow interns keep a little something in their lab coat pockets to keep them going, and after a few days doing the same, I noticed an improvement in my energy levels, mood and work performance. Duh, Jess.

img 4674 - Chewy Granola BarsSo this weekend, I used some of the dried fruit and things my mom bought me to make something that would be delicious, healthy, and portable. Working from this recipe, I whipped up a batch of chewy granola bars packed with dried fruit, oats, and other goodness. You could easily adapt this to suit your own preferences, but here’s what I threw into mine.

img 4663 - Chewy Granola BarsIngredients:

  • 1 2/3 c rolled oats
  • 1/3 c vanilla protein powder
  • 2 tbsp ground flax
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ~3 cups chopped dried fruit (I used a mix of prunes, apricots and cherries)
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 tbsp melted margarine (I’d have preferred butter but am trying to use up a tub of Earth Balance—coconut oil would be great too)
  • 1 tbsp water

Directions:

img 4667 - Chewy Granola Bars

whoops, how did that get upside down?

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8 x 8 baking dish with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl (including fruit). In a separate bowl (I did it right in the measuring cup I melted the margarine in), whisk together the wet ingredients.
  3. Add wet to dry and stir until well mixed. Pour mixture into the baking dish and press down until it takes the shape of the pan. You can use the flat edge of a spoon to do this or wrap your hand in plastic wrap and press down. Whatever works.
  4. Bake 30-40 minutes until the edges start to brown. Remove from oven. The bars will still look chewy—this is good. They’ll set as they cool, trust me.
  5. Allow bars to cool in pan a few moments and then lift parchment out and place on a rack to finish cooling. Wait until the bars are completely cool to cut into squares.

Do you make your own granola bars?  What would you want in a perfect granola bar? 

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