As open-minded as I try to be about food, there’s one thing which I will attest to being a snob about: Snack bars. If they contain a dodgy ingredient list (i.e too long), I will 99.9% turn my nose up at them. I rather have a piece of fruit & some nuts which are as portable and delicious.
Although companies like Kellogg’s tout their Special K cereal bars as being a healthy alternative, I personally wouldn’t say they are any healthier than a cookie. Sure they contain around 100 calories, but they also pack in plenty of nasties to compensate:
CEREAL (RICE, WHOLE GRAIN WHEAT, SUGAR, WHEAT BRAN, SOLUBLE WHEAT FIBER, SALT, MALT FLAVORING, MALTODEXTRIN, THIAMIN MONONITRATE [VITAMIN B1], RIBOFLAVIN [VITAMIN B2]), CORN SYRUP, SOLUBLE CORN FIBER, FRUCTOSE, STRAWBERRY FLAVORED FRUIT PIECES (SUGAR, CRANBERRIES, CITRIC ACID, NATURAL STRAWBERRY FLAVOR WITH OTHER NATURAL FLAVORS, ELDERBERRY JUICE CONCENTRATE FOR COLOR, SUNFLOWER OIL), SUGAR, VEGETABLE OIL (SOYBEAN AND PALM OIL WITH TBHQ FOR FRESHNESS, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED PALM KERNEL OIL), MALTODEXTRIN, CONTAINS TWO PERCENT OR LESS OF DEXTROSE, SORBITOL, GLYCERIN, NONFAT DRY MILK, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL STRAWBERRY FLAVOR, SOY LECITHIN, SALT, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, NIACINAMIDE, COLOR ADDED, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B6), BHT (PRESERVATIVE);LESS THAN 0.5g TRANS FAT PER SERVING
Gaaaa-ross! That’s definitely not something I’m buying any time soon. When I’m buying snack bars, I have a few requirements:
- Minimal ingredients, all of which I can pronounce & recognise
- Decent dose of protein (at least 4g per bar)
- Free from any artificial sweeteners
- Under 200 calories
- Tastes yum
Although my go-to favourite is KIND bars, sadly they aren’t available in Mumbai…which only means one thing: try to come up with something that’s equally great in a pinch.
My sister shared a yum recipe for Oatmeal Snack Bars with me last week and I tweaked the add-ins based on what I had at home. The end product? Cashew & Coconut Oatmeal Bars. Between changing up the nuts or adding in other ingredients, these bars are completely customisable. If you’re allergic to nuts, replace ’em with seeds. If you’re sensitive to gluten, use gluten-free oats. If dried fruit is your thang, add ’em in. If you’re feeling wild, chuck in a few chocolate chips. Rather than chewy or crispy, the texture of these bars reminded me of muffin tops…i.e. the best part about muffins :)!
Each bar contains 180 calories & 6.1 grams of protein…perfect! I love ’em with my afternoon cup of coffee (or chai) but they’d also make a great breakfast option…especially if time is money for you in the morning.
- 1½ cups quick-cooking oats
- ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- ¼ cup roasted cashews
- 1 egg
- 1 cup milk
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla essence
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 180˚C.
- Add oats, coconut, cashews, sugar, cinnamon & salt to a large mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, milk & vanilla essence. Add the wet mixture to dry mixture and stir until combined.
- Pour batter into an 8-in.-square baking dish coated with cooking spray pan & bake for 35 minutes. After 35 minutes, increase heat to "Grill" (or "Broil") & bake for an additional 3-4 minutes, until golden brown.
- Remove from oven & allow it to cool before cutting into bars.
- i) I used unsweetened almond milk- any other variety is fine too