A recent article in the Wall Street Journal stated that the FDA was working on changing their criteria of what makes food allowed to be labelled "Healthy".
Currently their standards are from 1994. YES! You read that correctly...1994.
Right now Pop Tarts and Frosted Flakes can be labelled "Healthy" but almonds, avocados and salmon would not be able to be labelled "Healthy".
The current (severely outdated) criteria takes into consideration fat amounts and if the food is fortified with vitamins. It does not have any regulations on sugar amounts - yet we know today that sugar is the main culprit of diabetes and obesity in our society.
Food like avocados and almonds do not qualify because they have too much fat - however we know now that it isn't about the amount of fat but rather the kind of fat. Avocado and almonds have good fats - ones that keep your brain healthy and your cholesterol low. They also have a zillion other vital vitamins and nutrients that definitely are NOT in pop tarts.
This is proof that terms like "Healthy" and "Natural" on food packages are often not the truth and are often more of a marketing tool than an aid to help you make good choices.
You need to be your own decision maker on what is "Healthy". Low sugar, whole, unprocessed foods closest to their natural state are your best options. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans and whole grains.
With this in mind today's recipe is for Healthy Homemade Granola Bars. They are low sugar, have no preservatives, are vegan and gluten free. They are super quick and easy to make, taste amazing and you can keep them in the fridge for up to a week and in the freezer for up to a month.
They are loaded with fibre, omegas, zinc, antioxidants and magnesium.
You can also make them nut-free by using sunflower seed butter instead of almond butter.
I like to make a big batch and keep some in the freezer. They are my absolute favourite "to go" snack.
And I know they are truly "Healthy".
Healthy Homemade Granola Bars
2 cups gluten free oats
2 cups brown rice crisps cereal
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1/3 cup roasted almond butter (I like the crunchy one)
1/2 cup brown rice syrup*
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1/2 cup vegan dark chocolate chips
1/2 tsp cinnamon
sprinkle of sea salt
Line a 9x9 baking dish with two layers of parchment paper, large pieces so it is hanging out over the edges.
In a large bowl combine oats, brown rice crips, seeds, chocolate chips, cinnamon and sea salt.
In a small saucepan stir together the brown rice syrup, maple syrup and almond butter over medium heat until it is lightly bubbling and well combined. Remove from heat and let sit for a few minutes.
Pour the warm mixture over the dry mixture and stir to combine. It will get a bit tough to stir but make sure everything is well mixed together.
Pour the combined mixture into the baking dish and put hot water on your hands to press it into the dish. Be firm and make sure that the mixture is pressed hard into the dish and into all the corners.
Put the dish in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Remove from the freezer and use the parchment paper to take the now hardened mixture out of the pan. Cut it into bars any size you like. Wrap each bar in plastic wrap to keep them fresh and easy to take with you. Refrigerate for up to 1 week and freeze for up to 1 month.
*do not substitute the brown rice syrup as they will not turn out. You can buy it at your local health food store or at Whole Foods.
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