Healthy Nut and Seed Bars (with a nut free version)

I had a slight disagreement with the nutritionist from Kellogg’s over the ingredients of their Be Natural nut bars which I didn’t consider very healthy. The ingredients I object to are the sugar which is listed in several different ways (invert sugar, sugar, glucose), preservative 220, soy lecithin and sorbitol. Depending on the flavour there is also palm oil and vegetable oils. Honey is also in the list of ingredients which I have no problems with (if it is unprocessed) but I can’t see why so many different sweeteners are needed in one small bar. Most of the flavours also contain gluten.

Preservative 220 is extremely dangerous for anyone that suffers from asthma. Sugar is a big problem for gut health, obesity, diabetes and many other physical health problems. It also affects people’s mood and anxiety levels through the constant peaks and troughs in blood sugar and also causes brain fog and fatigue. Soy is an ingredient that I avoid (except in a fermented form) and sorbitol is an artificial sweetener linked to gastrointestinal upset and other issues.

I have to credit this recipe to a gorgeous lady that I was chatting to at the local farmers market one weekend. She had made some nut bars and kindly gave me one to try. They were delicious and she told me how she made them. I immediately went home, made a few changes and this recipe was born. I then decided to make a nut free version so that they can be sent to school. The seed bars are like healthier sesame snaps! In case you are wondering the ingredients for sesame snaps are sesame seeds (49%), glucose syrup and sugar. That means that 51% of the ingredients are sugar!

I took both of these bars to work to test on my colleagues and they got rave reviews. The addition of ghee adds a wonderful caramel flavour and also extra healthy fats to slow down the release of sugar into the blood stream. The various nuts and seeds bring a heap of essential nutrients including B vitamins, zinc and magnesium which are essential for mental health. Sesame seeds are also a great source of calcium.

Warning – they are hard to stop at just one!

Nut and Seed Bars

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups of mixed nuts and seeds. I used 1/4 cup of each – almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, pepitas, sunflower seeds. Use whatever suits your tastes and individual needs.

2 tablespoons desiccated coconut (preservative free)

2 tablespoons golden flax flakes (use flax seeds if you can’t find the flakes or leave them out all together)

3/4 cup honey or rice malt syrup (depending on your personal needs and preferences)

1 tablespoon ghee (you could use butter but the ghee gives them the most lovely caramel flavour and is tolerated well by most people who can’t have dairy)

Optional: 2 teaspoons vital veggie powder

 

Seed Bars (no nuts)

Ingredients:

1/4 cup sesame seeds

3/4 cup mixed pepitas and sunflower seeds

2 tablespoons desiccated coconut (preservative free)

2 tablespoons golden flax flakes

1/2 cup honey

1 tablespoon ghee

Optional: 2 teaspoons vital veggie powder

 

Method:

Put the nuts, seeds and coconut in a pan over low/medium heat and toast until the sunflower seeds and coconut are just starting to brown (about 5 mins). Stir frequently.

Add in the flax flakes and stir through.

Add in the honey and ghee and stir thoroughly.

Cook on low for 5 minutes stirring occasionally.

Pour the mixture into a square baking tin lined with baking paper. I use the If You Care brand because it is toxin free.

Press the mixture down firmly so that it is evenly spread.

Pop into the fridge to set.

When set cut into pieces and store in an airtight container in the fridge.

You can eat them straight from the fridge and they survive well outside too, they are just a bit more chewy that way.

Make these your own by changing the types of nuts and seeds or by adding some dried fruit. Just keep the proportions of nuts/seeds to honey the same.

 

Healthy Seed Bars

I love hearing from you if you make my recipes so please pop in a comment here, post a photo on my facebook page or tag me on instagram @thenourishedpsychologist

 

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6 thoughts on “Healthy Nut and Seed Bars (with a nut free version)”

  1. The bars sound delicious. I think I may put some ground ginger in some…
    I wanted to ask you about the advantage of using honey over say raw sugar. I know it has desirable properties, but is about the same GI, so I am thinking would cause the same blood sugar spikes? (Hopeful questions from a chronic sweet tooth!) thanks.

    • Let me know how the ginger goes!

      Raw sugar is still processed, refined sugar. Honey is in its natural state (I only buy raw honey) and so has all of the nutrients still there and doesn’t have the same effect on gut health. I don’t find it gives the same sugar spikes either.
      I will write a post on it soon but Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride spoke about sweeteners in their natural form containing all of the minerals and vitamins that the body needs to digest them in exactly the right amounts where as refined sugar is just stripped of any nutrients.

  2. These sound so good! I think I may try them with just the seeds. I’m wondering about using agave instead of honey. This is purely a curiosity question, because I usually use honey in my granola bars. I generally use agave to sweeten coffee and tea because of it’s neutral flavor. I’m just wondering what your thoughts are on agave in general. Thanks!

    • I don’t use agave because it contains more fructose than high fructose corn syrup so it is really not a healthy option.

      I have never used it so don’t know what its consistency is to know if it would work in these but raw honey is a much better choice for a sweetener. Maybe you can work on drinking your tea and coffee without any sweetener?

  3. Hi, we’ve made these twice now. The first time was with honey and they were delicious!!! Very very delicious! We had to make another batch immediately, but this time we used rice malt syrup instead of honey. These ones are sticky and gooey – still very yummy – but impractical to take anywhere as they are so gooey. Any ideas why that might be?

    • Hi Cathy,
      I am guessing that the two just have a different consistency and RMS might not set in the way honey does.
      I don’t use it anymore so haven’t tried it out in this recipe.

      Raw honey has a heap of nutrients so I would stick with that unless you have specific fructose issues.

      I am so glad you like them!

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