We are ALWAYS on the hunt for healthy snacks to get us through the day. I swear that Charlie says ‘I’m hungry’ 50 times a day, and I can’t even imagine what it will be like once Max can talk, that kid can EAT! And since I’m as crazy busy as the next mom, I need snacks that are quick and easy to make and ideally, can be thrown into my purse on the way out the door.
Granola bars are the epitome of convenience, but the store-bought versions aren’t always the healthiest choice. There’s simply nothing that replaces making your own treats from scratch with full control over every ingredient you add. To celebrate Heart Health Month, I partnered with one of my favourite companies, Genuine Health, to create this heart-healthy no-bake granola bar that comes together in a flash.
There’s no doubt that our lives have gotten more stressful and our diets less healthy, both things that contribute to inflammation in the body. Now just to be clear, inflammation isn’t entirely bad! We need some degree of inflammation for our body to function properly (ie: heal a wound), but having excess inflammation can be problematic.
From a nutrition perspective, the types of fat that we include in our diet have a strong influence over the inflammation in our bodies. Most North Americans consume too many omega-6 fats which tend to be pro-inflammatory. Omega-3 fats, in comparison, help the body combat inflammation and play other important roles in our bodies such as improving mental health. In fact, the ideal ratio for omega-6 to omega-3 fats in our diets is in the neighbourhood of 4:1 … the average North American diet hovers around 17:1 just to give you a frame of reference! It always amazes me that some companies make omega supplements with omega-6 in them, most people certainly don’t need to supplement with these!
These granola bars are packed with anti-inflammatory goodness and taste amazing! I love giving my creations to Charlie to try, the feedback is as honest as it gets: and he LOVED these. Hemp hearts give the bars a healthy dose of plant-based omega-3s called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and the Genuine Health liquid omega3 fish oil provides the two other types of omega-3 fats that have a strong influence over inflammation in the body, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These fats are important for a healthy heart, brain, eyes, skin, mood, and joints. This fish oil is orange flavoured, and while it tastes good on its own, it adds a nice kick of orange the bars with no trace of after taste. I also love that these fish oils are sustainably sourced! Each bar provides just under the recommended 1000mg (873mg to be exact) of combined EPA and DHA daily.
If you want to make these gluten-free be sure to use oats that are labelled gluten-free. It’s worth going out of your way to find brown rice syrup, the consistency is thicker than many other sweeteners and it really helps the bars stick together! I added JUST enough of the syrup to make them slightly sweet but not overly ‘gaga’ as my mom would say. I stuck these under a covered plate on our counter for an easy-to-grab healthy snack…they didn’t last!
Makes 18 bars
- 1 c. raw almonds
- 1 ½ c. large flaked oats
- 1 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
- ½ c. hemp hearts
- 1/8 tsp. sea salt
- ½ c. + 1 Tbsp. brown rice syrup
- 1/3 c. smooth almond butter
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- ¼ c. Genuine Health omega3+, natural orange flavour
- 2 tsp. packed orange zest
- Lightly grease a 9×9 square pan and line it with parchment paper, leaving excess hanging over the sides to make it easier to remove the bars once they are set.
- In a food processor, pulse the almonds until they are coarsely ground.
- In a large bowl, add the almonds along with the oats, coconut, hemp hearts and salt and stir to combine.
- In a small pot stir together the brown rice syrup and the almond butter and cook over low heat, stirring, until smooth. Stir in the vanilla and Genuine Health omega3+ oil.
- Stir the almond butter mixture into the dry mixture along with the orange zest and mix until well combined.
- Press the mixture very firmly into the prepared pan (I use the bottom of a flat glass) and set aside for at least 20 minutes before cutting them into approximately 18 bars with a sharp knife.
Thank you Genuine Health for sponsoring this post! All opinions are my own.