pumpkin chocolate chip granola bars

I used to eat those Chewy granola bars. You know, those really thin ones that you can consume in like two bites and you normally have to eat three of them to feel satisfied. 

FYI: these are the ingredients that are in one of those little bars (chocolate chip flavored)...

GRANOLA (WHOLE GRAIN ROLLED OATS, BROWN SUGAR, CRISP RICE [RICE FLOUR, SUGAR, SALT, MALTED BARLEY EXTRACT], WHOLE GRAIN ROLLED WHEAT, SOYBEAN OIL, WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR, SODIUM BICARBONATE, SOY LECITHIN, CARAMEL COLOR, NONFAT DRY MILK), CORN SYRUP, SEMISWEET CHOCOLATE CHIPS (SUGAR, CHOCOLATE LIQUOR, COCOA BUTTER, SOY LECITHIN, VANILLA EXTRACT), BROWN RICE CRISP (WHOLE GRAIN BROWN RICE, SUGAR, MALTED BARLEY FLOUR, SALT), SUGAR, GRAHAM COOKIE PIECES (SUGAR, WHEAT FLOUR, CANOLA OIL, HONEY, SODIUM BICARBONATE, SALT, SOY LECITHIN, NATURAL FLAVOR), DEHYDRATED MARSHMALLOWS (SUGAR, CORN SYRUP, MODIFIED FOOD STARCH, GELATIN, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, SODIUM HEXAMETAPHOSPHATE, BLUE 1), CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, INVERT SUGAR, GLYCERIN. CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF SOYBEAN OIL, SORBITOL, CALCIUM CARBONATE, SALT, WATER, MOLASSES, SOY LECITHIN, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, CREAMED COCONUT, BHT (PRESERVATIVE), CITRIC ACID.

Woah, that's a lot of stuff packed into that little bar. You can see the Lux Lake version + pumpkin (because it's October) is so much simpler and is honestly like 100x more delicious.  I don't know about you, but the ingredient list above is very alarming to me. (especially as this is marketed as a healthy snack for kids!) I talk about the ingredients in food a lot. If you take a look at my other recipes, you will see that I list the benefits of whole foods and write out the wonderful effects they have on our bodies. I think what people don't realize is that everything we eat impacts our health.  Fruits and veggies benefit us while processed ingredients have negative side effects that go beyond just weight gain and bloating.

Read my article about the scary side effects of common ingredients here!

For all of our favorite go-to snacks (like granola bars, for example) there is ALWAYS a healthy, homemade and vegan alternative. Ditch the long list of ingredients. Don't accept that garbage into your life. Plus, when you eat well, nutrient dense, simple ingredients you can eat in abundance!
 

I N G R E D I E N T S

2 cups of gluten free oats
1/2 cup of raw pecans, chopped
2 tablespoons of flax seeds
2 tablespoons of chia seeds
2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon of pink Himalayan salt
1/2 cup of pumpkin puree
1/4 cup of coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup of maple syrup
1/3 cup of vegan chocolate chips

R E C I P E

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a small baking pan (I used 8" x 8") with parchment paper

In a large bowl, mix together the oats, pecans, flax seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin pie spice and salt. 

In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, melted coconut oil and maple syrup. 

Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients and stir until it is completely mixed together. Then, add in the chocolate chips and mix again.

Next, evenly spread out the granola mixture into the baking pan with parchment paper, pressing down to make sure the granola is firmly in the pan.

Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting into small squares or rectangles. I like to store in the fridge so they will keep longer but I also prefer them cool than room temperature.

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