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There’s a lot to love about homemade granola bars. Not only are these snacks tasty, but they’re also filling, healthy, and easy to fit into a busy schedule. However, many people who make granola bars run into a “sticky” problem—or, rather, a non-sticky issue! If you’re unsure what to use to keep your DIY granola bars intact, you’ve got to check out the research we’ve done below.
Honey is the most common ingredient chefs use to keep granola bars stuck together. However, many DIY granola bar recipes use a paste made with pitted dates in place of honey. If you don’t like either of these ingredients, you could try making your granola bars with maple syrup. Many granola bar experts also recommend adding plenty of oats and chia seeds for extra binding benefits.
One of the great things about DIY granola bars is that they’re endlessly customizable. On the flip side, since there are so many granola bar recipes, it may be challenging to choose what ingredients to use. We’ll try to make your decision a little simpler with DIY granola bar hacks in this post.
What’s The Best Way To Make Granola Bars Stick Together?
By far, honey is the top ingredient people use to keep granola bars from falling apart. Even expert manufacturers like Bob’s Red Mill strongly recommend using honey as your binding agent.
Not only is honey super sticky, but it can also withstand the high heat of your oven. If you mix and press your honey granola mix in a parchment-lined pan, they should cling together after about 30 minutes in a 325° F oven.
Better yet, you could put your granola bars in a pre-arranged silicone mold. Yes, there are oven-safe pans that have molds designed for granola bars.
While honey is a crucial component in most granola bar recipes, there are other factors to consider. For instance, you should always use plenty of oats to help sop up all that honey.
Another neat trick is to add a handful of chia seeds to your granola bars. When chia seeds combine with liquid, they create a gooey texture that helps improve binding.
For a video demonstration on how to use honey in your granola bar recipes, you have to check out this popular video:
What Could You Use Besides Honey In Granola Bars?
While honey may be the most popular binding agent in granola bars, it’s not the only ingredient you could use. For instance, many people love experimenting with maple syrup or agave nectar.
You could mix equal parts maple syrup and honey for a unique flavor experience. Check out the recipe below for some sweet inspiration:
Another fun way to bind your granola bars without honey is to make a date paste. Put some pitted dates in a blender and blitz until they’re smooth.
To learn more about using a date paste in granola bars, check out this YouTube video:
Could You Make Sugar-Free Granola Bars?
You can make sweet granola bars without spoonfuls of sugar. All of the popular binders listed above are natural sweeteners.
However, if honey or maple syrup isn’t enough for you, you could use one of the many hot sugar alternatives. For instance, many health food fans are raving about monk fruit sweetener and stevia.
Please watch this video for more info on making a sugar-free granola bar.
How Do You Make Granola Bars Last Longer?
If you’re not going to eat your granola bars right away, you can store them in the freezer. Just be sure to put your granola bars in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag before freezing them. Typically, frozen food lasts indefinitely, but you may notice a reduction in quality after about six to eight months.
FYI: You could learn more about storing food in Ziploc bags in our post, “Are Ziploc Bags Safe For Food Storage?”
Some foodies also like to wrap their granola bars in wax paper and tape them. This DIY wrapper is another fantastic layer of protection.
If you can’t be bothered to freeze your granola bars, you could extend their shelf-life by placing them in an airtight container. As long as you keep homemade granola bars far from light, humidity, and heat, they should keep in an airtight container for about two weeks.
To find out more about the benefits of airtight containers, please read our post “Do Airtight Containers Keep Bugs Out?”
Is Homemade Granola Better Than Store-Bought?
Usually, homemade recipes are way better than store-bought products. While there are many fine granola bar brands, there’s no way to control the ingredients manufacturers put in their products. When you make granola bars at home, you get to choose how much of every ingredient you place in your bars. This makes it easier to adjust your granola bars for dietary restrictions.
Another benefit of homemade granola bars is they don’t have loads of unpronounceable preservatives. While this means DIY granola bars aren’t as shelf-stable as store-bought granola brands, it also limits your exposure to many questionable chemicals.
Thirdly, making DIY granola bars will save your pocketbook. Often, high-quality pre-made granola bars cost a pretty penny.
While DIY granola bars are often better than boxed versions, that doesn’t mean reputable brands use good ingredients. You must carefully review the product’s ingredients list, brand reputation, and metrics like sodium and added sugars.
Can You Live Off Granola Bars?
Most granola bars are packed with carbs, fiber, and nutrients, so it’s no wonder they often end up on lists of the best “survival foods!” While living off granola bars in extreme circumstances may be possible, that’s not the best strategy for optimal long-term health. Ideally, you should add granola bars to an already healthful diet like the Mediterranean diet.
How Many Granola Bars Should I Eat A Day?
Determining how many granola bars you should eat per day depends on your health goals and dietary restrictions. Since every granola bar has different nutrient levels, you need to weigh these factors against your preferences.
For instance, you should measure how much sugar is in each of your granola bars. Currently, the American Heart Association recommends that healthy adults eat no more than six teaspoons of added sugar per day.
You should also consider how much sodium is in each of your granola bars. Health authorities now recommend eating just 2,300 mg of salt every day, unless you have a condition like high blood pressure.
In general, one to two average-sized granola bars per day are fine for most people. However, you should factor in your dietary preferences and the nutrients in each of your granola bars.
Is A Granola Bar A Good Breakfast?
Granola bars are a great addition to a well-balanced breakfast. Since these bars are pre-made, you don’t have to worry about cooking a complicated recipe when you’ve still got morning fatigue. Plus, granola bars are a portable and healthy option for people who are always on the move.
However, if you’re buying granola bars from the supermarket, take some time to review the ingredients and nutritional facts. Sometimes granola bars can be just as bad as candy bars!
How Do You Soften Hard Granola Bars?
Believe it or not, many people put their granola bars in the microwave to help soften them up. Usually, all it takes is about five seconds to loosen this breakfast goodie.
Another popular way to soften hard granola bars is to dunk them in your favorite hot beverage. Whether you’re a tea or coffee drinker, you could dip a granola bar into these steamy drinks to make them softer.
Lastly, instead of baking your granola bars in the oven, you could put them in the fridge after mixing your ingredients. Usually, these “raw” granola bars are softer than baked versions.
For more info on making cool granola bars be sure to watch this recipe:
Get “Stuck” On DIY Granola Bars!
Honey is the most readily available “glue” for DIY granola bars, but there are other creative ways you could keep these bars stuck together. For example, many people love using agave nectar, maple syrup, and date paste to add structure to their granola bars. You should also add in a few chia seeds if you’re struggling with crumbly granola bars.