Bars of every make and model are causing gridlock in the supermarket aisles.
There are energy bars, cereal bars, breakfast bars and snack bars. Still others are designed as a meal replacement.
But buyer beware: Your favorite "healthy" granola bar may actually be a hybrid candy bar fueled by sugar, saturated fats and trans fats. According to calorie-count.com, a typical 1.5-ounce soft granola bar with chocolate chips contains 181 calories, 7.1 grams of fat (4.4 grams saturated) and 117 milligrams of sodium.
These Homemade Granola Bars also are soft and chewy and sprinkled with mini chocolate chips. But there's a difference: They're heavy on whole grains and light on fat and sodium. Instead of high-fructose corn syrup, our testers used honey, a natural sweetener.
Homemade Granola Bars
Makes 22 bars
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup wheat germ
2 cups crispy rice cereal
1 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons canola oil
4 egg whites, lightly beaten
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9-by-13-inch pan with aluminum foil. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Stir well, using hands if necessary, and be sure all ingredients are evenly moist. Press mixture firmly into the prepared pan using the back of a spatula.
Bake 18 to 22 minutes or until nicely browned. Place on rack to cool. While pan is slightly warm, carefully cut into small bars. Store in a sealed container for up to a week or place in plastic freezer bags and freeze.
Per bar: 107 calories, 3 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 1 milligram cholesterol, 16 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams protein, 1 milligram cholesterol, 61 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber
Recipe analysis provided by The Kansas City Star.