These Paleo Protein energy bars with Calendula are a great source of protein, fibre, and healthy fats, so they will keep you happy and satisfied whether you have them for breakfast or as a snack.
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Granola or Muesli Bar?
When I started writing this post I wasn’t sure whether I made granola bars, muesli bars or cereal bars? Is there any difference or is it actually the same bar? So with a little bit of research, I came to the conclusion that the difference is the place where the bar is made. While in the UK they call it “cereal bar”, in the US and Canada it’s called “oat bar”. On the other side of the Earth in Australia and New Zealand, people like to call it “muesli” or “cereal bar”. All these names describe bars made of fruits, nuts, other cereals apart from oats and occasionally chocolate.
As all these bars are made to supply you with some energy I decided to call mine – ENERGY BARS
Why do people like to eat energy bars?
Well, one of the main reasons that people like to open one granola bar in the office during snack time is that these bars are trendy and convenient.
71% of people think that muesli bars are healthy while 28 % of nutritionists actually disagree. Well, according to a report published in the New York Times the reason for such a big difference in opinion is that the majority of commercially produced granola bars contains large amounts of added sugar, preservatives, artificial sweeteners and flavours, and highly processed ingredients.
So What is the solution?
HOMEMADE GRANOLA- MUESLI- OATS-ENERGY BARS
Advantages of Homemade:
- you can moderate selection and level of sweeteners (brown sugar. honey, maple syrup…)
- by adding nuts -you incorporate a protein and omega-3 fatty acids into your breakfast/snack. You can select any nuts as per your choice – cashew, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pistachios, walnuts. See the comparison table with nut’s nutritional values here. You can add additional protein by adding protein powders.
- select fruits and add them to your bars – dates (I describe later why I suggest keeping those), dry cranberries, apricots, raisins, raspberries, blueberries, cherries, you name it. By adding fruits you get a healthy dose of potassium, fibre, vitamin E, C, B-12
- add some whole grains that are high in fibre and good for your digestive system. A comparison of 9 various seeds is here
- homemade bars are easy and quick to make, last long enough, usually eaten much before their date of expiration.
Feel free to select any fruits, seeds and grains as per the availability and liking. I love them the most with this tasty chicory coffee. There are however two ingredients which I do not recommend you to change:
Calendula made her way in the cosmetic industry for her healing and anti-inflammatory properties. This flower is edible and is very effective in the treatment of eczema, acne or psoriasis and has antiseptic and astringent qualities. Calendula known also as Marigold makes our energy bar unique in its colour and taste. You can enhance with these orange petals every dish from scrambled eggs to salads, tortillas or salsa. Please find more info on Calendula’s medicinal benefits here. Calendula is easy to grow.. or buy
Dates are not only high in protein and full of vitamins, but they are also full of natural sugars – fructose, glucose and therefore can give the bars desired sweet taste without additional sweeteners. But most importantly their stickiness is imperative in making granola bars hold together. Therefore for the above reasons, I don’t recommend replacing this ingredient with other alternatives. More about their health benefits here
Energy bar in a bottle
As these bars are filled with all healthy ingredients which supply one with energy, vitality, and happiness I thought it could be a nice gift to give to your friends or colleagues. If you place all the ingredients in nice gift-able bottles they make beautiful layers. The recipe can also accompany this creative gift. The layers should go in this sequence: oats, almonds roasted, calendula, sunflower seeds, cranberries, sesame seeds with dates on the top.
Now that you are sufficiently convinced that muesli/granola bars are good for you – Let’s make one.