Up until few years ago the only chocolates I knew of had, well, chocolate. It could be crunchy, have almonds or other nuts or flavours like mint and orange, but chocolate it essentially was. We could associate only the lovely brown colour with sweets that came packed in colourful shiny wrapping paper. Imagine the rude shock I got when I opened an energy bar and found out that it had groundnuts, sesame and other stuff, but no chocolate. What has this world come to, I thought dejectedly. 🙁
I picked a fight with the grocery shop owner who slipped that new chocolate a.k.a energy bar to me and reprimanded him for duping unsuspecting girls. This was followed by a temporary (and melodramatic) phase of suspicion and loss of trust for everything around me. I swore undying love to my Cadburys and Bournvilles and sought their forgiveness for finding my pleasure elsewhere. However, reality (and sense) soon dawned upon me and I was able to comprehend just how interesting these bars really were.
Energy bars, commonly known as granola bars, are sweet treats that are loaded with cornflakes, oats, dry fruits etc. The best part about them is that they don’t have any specific ingredients. All kinds of nuts, muesli, wheat flakes etc can be added to them, whole or crushed, depending upon choice. They’re great quick fixes for sugar cravings and can be easily made at home too.
My first encounter with them notwithstanding, energy bars are now a treasured acquaintance. Yes, we’re still not thick. My family can eat sweets for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even between them. I indulge them, and myself, in moderation but when I started my weight loss journey; my hankering for sweets hit me badly. Sometimes the sight of gulabjamuns or the smell of gajar ka halwa made me feel like kicking myself for going on diet! 🙁
I then discovered that energy bars, astonishingly, are no different from the healthy laddoos Mom made for us. They were rich in fibre, minerals, vitamins, iron and many other essential nutrients. The argument about their ‘health’ quotient was owing to the crazy amount of sugar content in them. I hence had my doubts about buying them from stores, thanks to Rujuta Diwekar and her books.
My curious self got lured into finding and trying out granola bar recipes online. Little surprise, huh? 😉 Admittedly, most of them had a large helping of sugar hidden in them. I did some trial and errors of my own and replaced sugar with brown sugar, jaggery and honey wherever I could. Dates, figs and raisins imparted a lovely flavour and were full of good natural sugars. I hence used them extensively.
I was immensely proud when my first batch turned out quite well. A and Angel loved them but A Jr is my fidgety son in every respect. “You said you’re making chocolate. This is not chocolate!” he threw a huge tantrum. A flicker of a smile escaped my lips then. The next time I added cocoa powder and choco chips to the mixture and he gulped them down happily. 🙂
Amaranth, puffed rice, melon and sunflower seeds, chia seeds, etc are now frequently making their way to our tummies. I store them in an airtight container and they easily last for a week or two. My kids carry them in their lunchbox and have them after coming back home from their activity classes. I usually have one after my workout and feel instantly rejuvenated.
Do you like energy bars too? What are your healthy alternatives for your sugar cravings? Please do share with me.
This post is written for #BlogchatterA2Z and #AtoZChallenge for April 2019