Perfect Homemade Granola Bars: Low in Sugar & Delicious
Have you ever tasted homemade granola bars? If you have, you already know there is a world of difference between store-bought versions and what you can make in your own kitchen. With oats, almond butter, dark chocolate chips and coconut, these healthy homemade granola bars are absolutely delicious as well as nutritious.
These are also no-bake granola bars, which means this is one chewy granola bar! If you’re looking for a great recipe for oat bars or coconut bars, this recipe has you covered on both accounts with hearty gluten-free oats and rich pieces of coconut. It’s also low in sugar with great macronutrients, unlike most. Learning how to make these granola bars is also easy as can be.
Why Are Most Granola Bars Unhealthy?
Granola and pre-packaged granola bars commonly make the list of secretly unhealthy foods for good reason. The problem with most granola bars on shelves today is that they are not made of healthy, whole-food ingredients. Instead, they are loaded with refined sugars and unhealthy fats yet low in fiber, healthy fat and vital nutrients. The source of sugar in many conventional granola bars is often health hazardous high fructose corn syrup.
The high sugar content of most granola bars, even many homemade granola bar recipes, is something you really want to avoid for the sake of your health. Consuming too much sugar is well-known to lead to weight gain, inflammation and even wrinkles.
Conventional granola bars (and granola cereal) are also known for containing unhealthy partially hydrogenated oils, which means they contain trans fat. This is a highly concerning ingredient since trans fat increase LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in the body while lowering HDL (“good”) cholesterol.
This recipe completely skips the refined sugars and gets its sweetness from maple syrup and dark chocolate chips. These bars wouldn’t be the same if they were totally unsweetened plus the maple syrup helps to bind the ingredients together. If you’re not a fan of maple syrup, molasses is another natural sweetener with a similar consistency to help hold the bars together. You can also use honey but don’t heat it up, as that can create inflammatory properties.
Instead of hydrogenated oils, these homemade granola bars contain blood sugar-balancing good fat from ingredients like almond butter and coconut. Other healthy fat additions you might want to consider adding to homemade chewy granola bars or crunchy granola bars include chia seeds and nuts like pecans, almonds or walnuts.
One serving of these homemade granola bars contain about:
- 156 calories
- 20.4 grams carbohydrates
- 2.8 grams fiber
- 7.3 grams sugar
- 6.8 grams fat
- 4.6 grams protein
You’ll note that this is perhaps the most balanced macronutrient granola bar you can find, with 20 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of fat and 5 grams of protein. In other words, it’s much lower in overall carbs and far lower in sugar than even rival homemade granola bar recipes.
What makes this granola bars recipe healthy? Here are some of the healthy and delicious stars of this homemade granola bar recipe:
- Almond butter: When you purchase almond butter, you’re looking for one that only has one main ingredient: almonds. Almond nutrition is rich in protein, fiber, calcium, iron and many other essential nutrients.
- Oats: Oats are a wonderful source of soluble fiber, specifically a type called beta-glucans, which research has shown can help to naturally lower cholesterol when eaten regularly. To avoid any cross-contamination with wheat, rye or barley, look for oats labeled “certified gluten-free.” Puffed rice is another gluten-free ingredient that you could use along oats.
- Dark chocolate chips: Not all chocolate is created equal, so if you’re looking to get the highest antioxidant and nutrient content from your chocolate, opt for an organic dark chocolate with at least a 70 percent cocoa content or higher. The higher the cocoa content, the lower the sugar as well, so that’s another plus.
- Maple syrup: One of the best natural sweeteners, maple syrup also can help lower inflammation, supply nutrients and better manage blood sugar, all while helping to make recipes taste great.
How to Make Healthy Granola Bars
Since these are no-bake granola bars, you don’t even need to preheat the oven before you get started making this healthy granola bar recipe. This recipe also only has six ingredients — many of which you may likely have on hand already. Minus the “cooking time” (more like sitting time) in the fridge, these homemade granola bars only take about 10 minutes to make!
The first step is to add the almond butter and maple syrup to a small pot over low heat and stir until they are well combined but are not hot (this shouldn’t take long at all). Once the almond butter and maple syrup are mixed together, you can remove the pot from the heat and set it aside.
Start putting the remaining ingredients into a large bowl. Once you have everything in the large bowl, you can mix it together lightly.
Pour the warm almond butter mixture atop the contents of the large bowl.
Stir until well incorporated.
In an 8×8 baking dish greased with coconut oil, dump, pack and flatten the mixture using your hands.
Cover the baking dish and refrigerate until firm (about an hour).
Cover the baking dish and refrigerate until firm (about an hour).
Slice into bars or squares, and that’s it.
Enjoy your healthy homemade granola bars!
Looking for other healthy snack bars? Try these recipes:Print
Homemade Granola Bars Recipe
- Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Yield: 24 1x
- Diet: Gluten Free
Granola bars should be one of the great snacks, but nearly all store-bought and even homemade granola bars have way too much sugar and not enough good fats or protein in them. This chewy granola bar recipe fixed those problems with six healthy ingredients to produce the perfect granola bar.
- ¾ cup maple syrup
- ¾ cup creamy almond butter, unsalted
- 2½ cups organic, gluten-free rolled oats
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup dark chocolate chips
- ¼ cup desiccated coconut
- In a small pot, over low heat, add the almond butter and maple syrup, stirring until well-combined but are not hot (this should happen quickly).
- Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a large bowl, add the remaining ingredients.
- Pour the warm almond butter mixture atop, stirring until well-incorporated.
- In an 8×8 baking dish, greased with coconut oil, dump, pack and flatten the mixture using your hands.
- Cover and refrigerate until firm (about an hour).
- Slice into bars or squares.
- Prep Time: 10 min
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: Snacks, Desserts
- Method: No Bake
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1 bar (37g)
- Calories: 156
- Sugar: 7.3g
- Sodium: 54mg
- Fat: 6.8g
- Saturated Fat: 1.4g
- Unsaturated Fat: 4.9g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 20.4g
- Fiber: 2.8g
- Protein: 4.6g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
Keywords: homemade granola bars, gluten-free granola bars, granola bar recipe, chewy granola bars, healthy granola bars
Is the ground/shredded coconut unsweetened or sweetened?
Not enough protein and too many carbs when you include the sugar which diabetics must do. we need a 1/3 ratio, not 1/8.
I may try the method and add nuts with less chocolate chips.
I couldn’t rate this recipe because I made too many changes to rate it fairly.
But I wanted to say thanks so much, because the granola I made, using this recipe as a base, was super tasty!! I just finished a big serving of it with some sugar-free (stevia-sweetened) tapioca pudding I made. Absolutely delicious. Thanks again.
What are your favorite snack/protein bars??
I make my own! Better recipe! Hand roasted. Noting not natural! Nothing processed! Simply Bike Bars!! Tell me where to send you a few!! Dr. !!
Thank you for your recipe! I’m going to give it a try as soon as possible :)
This is a good healthy recipe! For those of you that are saying you can buy better granola bars do not realize that there are always ingredients in them that are not good for you even if they say organic! You can’t beat the natural sweetness of honey, if you want less “natural sugar” then use less honey. Thank you Dr Axe for another great recipe!
Hi have you tried to make dark chocolate cups with cashew butter. They are awesome with monkfruit syrup, coco oil, coco flr, dark choco bits. Don’t you think monkfruit is way better than coconut sugar when it comes to baking if dealing with sugar issue.
Could you substitute peanut butter for the almond butter?