These healthy chewy puffed cereal bars are great for breakfast or any time you need a quick snack! They are chewy, raw, packed with nuts, fruits and seeds.

Granola bars are such a phenomenon and there are so many things to love about them! There are endless varieties (chewy, crunchy, raw, baked) and unlimited ingredients to put into them (nuts, fruits, seeds, chocolate, grains). They also go by an array of names — granola bars, energy bars, cereal bars, muesli bars, and flapjacks (anything I missed?).

These puffed cereal bars are healthy, chewy, raw, packed with nuts, fruits and seeds, and perfect for breakfast

Call them whatever you want to call them, but so there’s no confusion, I’m going to name these little guys “healthy puffed cereal bars”, and they are the chewy and raw kind, with grains, nuts, fruits and seeds.

Cereal bars are perfect for breakfast because:

  • Cereal bars are so delicious and you can get sweet, crunchy, chewy and savory all in one bite.
  • Cereal bars are so healthy and packed with fiber and protein.
  • Cereal bars can so easily be tossed in a bag for those days you are out and about.
  • Cereal bars fit so well in a jacket pocket, especially if you’re out hiking, running or skiing the slopes and need a quick energy boost.
  • Cereal bars can be eaten so quickly, just in case you are ever running late (erg, as I often am!)!

These Healthy Puffed Cereal Bar are made from puffed oats, unlike many other cereal bars that are made with rolled oats. Puffed oats give these cereal bars a softer texture, and don’t feel as dense as some other bars made with rolled oats.

Puffed oats give these cereal bars a softer texture

I used Rude Health Puffed Oats, but if you can’t find puffed oat cereal, you can try looking in the cereal aisle for other puffed whole grain options, such as Kashi 7 Whole Grain Puffs Cereal or Nature’s Path Organic Kamut Puffs.

With homemade cereal bars, you can control exactly what you want to put in it (meaning no weird ingredients or extra sweeteners!). For this cereal bar recipe, almond butter, dates and honey (sub with maple syrup to make it vegan) help everything stick together. Once you get that sticky mixture together, you are free to throw in whatever you would like.

Feel free to tweak this recipe for Cereal Bars by adding your favorite nuts or dried fruits

I used puffed oats, almonds, pecans, sesame seeds, sour cherries and white chocolates. But as long as you keep the proportions the same, you can sub in other ingredients as you fancy. Just to give you a few ideas, I love using any of these ingredients: peanuts, walnuts, flaxseeds (linseeds), hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, and goji berries. It’s very customizable, so take this recipe and make it your own!

Healthy No-Bake Puffed Cereal Bars (Vegan, GF)

4.72 from 7 votes Serves: 8 large bars Prep: 10 mins Total: 10 mins These healthy chewy puffed cereal bars are great for breakfast or any time you need a quick snack!

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Line an 8×8-inch (20×20-cm) pan with parchment paper.
  • Add the dates into a food processor and run the food processor until the dates are well chopped. The dates might form a large ball in the process. If so, stop the food processor and break apart the ball to make sure there aren’t any large pieces of dates remaining. Do not overheat your food processor and stop to rest it as needed.
  • In a small microwave safe bowl, stir together the almond butter and honey. Microwave the mixture for 30 seconds. Remove it from the microwave and give it another quick stir. Microwave the mixture for another 10 seconds, or until the mixture is warm and runny.
  • In a large bowl, add in the dates, almond butter and honey mixture, puffed oats, almonds, pecans, sesame seeds, and sour cherries (this is everything except for the white chocolate chips), and mix well. I started mixing with a spatula, but finished mixing it with my hands and fingers to make sure there were no clumps of dates. Get ready for an arm workout!
  • Add in the white chocolate chips and mix again. You want to add in the white chocolate chips last to make sure they don’t all melt in the mixing process. A little bit of melting is perfectly fine (and beautiful)!
  • Using a small piece of parchment paper to prevent the mixture from sticking to your hands, press everything evenly into the pan.
  • Freeze the pan for 30 minutes. Remove from the freezer and cut into pieces.
  • Store the granola bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Notes

If you cannot find puffed oat cereal, you can try looking for another type of puffed cereal in a health supermarket (use gluten free option for a gluten free recipe). This recipe is adapted from recipes by Minimalist Baker and David Lebovitz. Course: Snack Author: The Worktop Cal : 331kcal Note: Nutrition information is a rough estimate. Tried this recipe?If you loved making this recipe I would appreciate it so much if you would give this recipe a star review! I’d love to see it too – snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using #theworktop and tagging me @theworktop.

Rude Health provided me with the puffed oats and compensated me for the ingredients used in this post.

The question: What’s the best breakfast cereal for weight loss?

The answer: I’m afraid there is no breakfast cereal specifically designed for weight loss. Compared with other breakfast choices, most cereals are relatively low in calories and low in fat. But it’s not all about calories. Some low calorie breakfast cereals (e.g. Special K, Rice Krispies, Puffed Wheat) are made from refined grains that are quickly digested. In other words, starting your day with a bowl of refined breakfast cereal could cause you to feel hungry midmorning and overly hungry by lunch time. Both are recipes for overeating.

The healthiest breakfast cereal is made from whole grains and is high in fibre and low in added sugar. Choose a cereal that lists whole wheat, whole oats, whole rye or whole brown rice as the first ingredient. One-hundred-per-cent bran cereals aren’t truly whole grain cereals, but you can consider them as such since they are a concentrated source of bran that’s missing from refined grains. And because fibre slows down the rate at which food leaves your stomach, it helps you feel full longer after breakfast.

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Look for cereals that have no more than six grams of sugar for each serving. There’s one exception to this rule: Cereals with dried fruit such as raisins, blueberries and cranberries will have more and that’s okay. Dried fruit adds more fibre to cereal, which is a good thing.

Now that you’ve chosen a nutritious cereal, keeping your portion size in check will help you lose weight. Of course, that’s provided you’re following a calorie-reduced diet designed for weight loss. Read the serving size information on nutrition labels. I encourage you to do this for all packaged foods, not just ready to eat breakfast cereal.

By dry weight, a food guide serving of ready to eat cereal is 30 grams. In household measures, 30 grams of dry cereal will vary depending on the density, or weight, of the cereal. In general, a serving size of cereal is typically 3/4 to one cup. The serving size for denser cereals such as granola and muesli is 1/3 to 1/2 cup. If you’re counting calories, manage your portion size by reading the nutrition label – and then measuring out the stated serving size.

Send dietitian Leslie Beck your questions at [email protected] She will answer select questions, which could appear in The Globe and Mail and/or on the Globe website. Your name will not be published if your question is chosen.

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Picture this: waking up in the morning after a long night out in search for that perfect bowl of cereal. Who doesn’t love a nice big bowl of cereal to start you day off right? What we don’t know about these delicious grains is what they are really made out of.

Cereal is made by a process called extrusion. An extruder is a machine that produces cereals with high temperature and pressure. Puffed cereals and rice cakes are prime examples of the cereals that are made from these extruder machines. The Weston A. Price Foundation claims that the cereal industry has convinced the United States Food and Drug Administration that extruded grains have no effect on human health or animal health. But new studies show that these extruded grains DO indeed effect our health, and are extremely toxic.

In the book Fighting The Food Giants by Paul Sitt, this phenomenon is proven. The study included four sets of rats that were put on diets, in order to see how they reacted to the extruded grains. One group was given wheat, water, vitamins and minerals, the second was given puffed wheat, water, and the same nutrient solution, the third received water, and white sugar, and the fourth was given nothing but water and chemical nutrients. As a result, the rats that were given Puffed wheat died in two weeks. This proves that something in the puffed wheat is very toxic.

Another study was described in Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon Morell and Mary Enig, performed at the University of Michigan.18 rats, in groups of 3, were studied, and they were given different foods, as well. First group was given cornflakes and water, the next was given a cardboard box that the cornflakes came in, and the last was given rat chow and water. As a result, the rats that ate the cornflakes died first, and the rats that received the cornflakes box died directly after. The other rats lived on.

Clearly, we should stay away from cereals made with these toxins. Although these studies were not proven on humans yet, I feel as if rats are a great way to test experiments. Also, we should always account for chance in situations like these. There could have been many different experimental effects that occurred, as well. As a result, we should stay more cautious to the types of cereals we are consuming from a day to day basis, in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle!

Now that Miss G is a little bit older, we’ve definitely loosened up a little in terms of what she eats. While ‘treats’ in the past may have included roasted chickpeas, kale chips, or popsicles made with almost strictly mango and yogurt (all things that pack a pretty decent nutritional punch), nowadays, some ‘treats’ are simply treats… Things that are yummy and not oozing in nutritional value. That being said, we do try to keep them on the healthy side, using whole, organic ingredients whenever possible.

After fairly successfully creating a yummy and healthier crispy rice treat recipe, I decided we would try to redo another classic children’s treat… Chocolate puffed wheat squares. It took a little bit of experimenting, but I think we found a pretty awesome alternate recipe. Here’s how we made them…

First, the lineup of ingredients… Coconut oil, unsweetened cocoa powder, kamut puffs, pure vanilla, pure maple syrup, brown rice syrup, and cashew butter. {Edited to add: I find that this is an incredibly forgiving recipe and have now tried it many ways, so I’ll list a few alternatives in the recipe at the bottom of the post.}

To start off, we added our coconut oil, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, and cashew butter to a large pot.

Of course finding a spoon licking volunteer wasn’t hard.

Then Miss G measured out the kamut puffs into a large bowl…

While I stirred the wet ingredients over at the stove. Just as it started to form slow bubbles, I turned off the heat, added the vanilla, and gave it another quick stir.

Then we poured the wet mixture into the kamut puff bowl and Miss G mixed everything up well.

When it was mixed well, we poured the mixture out onto a parchment-line baking pan (my smaller one was already in use and this one was too big so we only used half of it) and used slightly wet hands to press everything down firmly.

After about 30 minutes in the fridge, we took our chocolately dessert out of the pan and cut it into squares.

The verdict? Gracen LOVED them (as did I). When I asked her how they were, her response was, “So, so, sooooooooo yummy!”

The other way I know they are decent? When I left for a 30 minute run around the neighbourhood, there were 10 squares sitting on parchment paper on the butcher block. When I got home? 3 and some crumbs – THREE! (Proof is in my Instagram feed – mamapapabububa). Apparently they are husband approved also.

Healthier Chocolate Puff Squares

  • 1/2 cup of organic brown rice syrup (or honey or pure maple syrup)
  • 1/2 cup of cashew butter (or peanut butter)
  • 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup (not needed if using honey or maple syrup in place of brown rice syrup)
  • 3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon of pure vanilla
  • 4 1/2 cups of kamut puffs (or other puff cereal)

Measure the brown rice syrup, cashew butter, maple syrup, cocoa, and coconut oil into a large pot. Warm over medium heat, stirring almost constantly. Allow the mixture to come to a bubble, turn down the heat slightly, and continue stirring while it thickens up a little. When done, turn off the heat, add the vanilla, and give it another quick stir.

Add in the kamut puffs and mix well to ensure the cereal is evenly coated with the sticky mixture.

Dump the mixture into a parchment-lined baking pan or scoop into a greased muffin cups and press it down firmly. Pop the pan into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to allow the treats to set.

Cut and enjoy!

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For a vegetable, corn sure does get the side eye from healthy eaters a lot. Ketogenic dieters steer clear of it because it has carbs. And isn’t pretty much all corn genetically modified? That can’t be good for you.

That’s why registered dietitian Kim Melton, RD, is here to set the record straight. She firmly believes corn absolutely has a place in a healthy diet, especially right now when it’s in season and readily available at the farmers’ market. “Corn is part of the grass family, is a whole grain and can be eaten as polenta, popcorn, corn on the cob, or cornmeal,” Melton says. The most popular variety is sweet corn (it’s the yellow kind you’ll most likely find at the grocery store) but Melton says there are other varieties including red, orange, blue, and purple. But is corn good for you? Keep reading for everything you need to know.

Is corn good for you? Here’s what its nutrition facts have to say

Many believe corn is high in sugar—especially sweet corn—and therefore unhealthy, but Melton says this isn’t the case. “Although corn is high in sugar, it does not cause an unhealthy spike in blood sugar as some believe,” she says. “It is actually a low to medium glycemic index food and can be a part of a healthy diet when eaten in reasonable portions.” In general, one medium ear of corn has 6 grams of sugar. (BTW, this goes for sweet corn, too.)

Besides not spiking blood sugar, Melton says corn is full of good-for-you nutrients, too. “In about half a cup of corn, you get four grams of protein , two grams of unsaturated fat, and 2.4 grams of fiber ,” she says. The numbers may seem small, but they’re still a nice drop in the bucket—especially if you’re incorporating corn into other nutrient-dense meals like salads, Southwestern-style protein bowls, or quinoa.

“Corn also has manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, folate, potassium and some B vitamins,” Melton adds. Of these, it offers the most potassium, with a medium ear containing 90 milligrams (just over 3 percent of your recommended daily intake.) Because corn has potassium and carbs, it makes for a great—and totally underrated—post-workout recovery snack.

Speaking of carbs, it’s another reason why many avoid corn, but Melton again says this is unnecessary. On average, a medium ear of corn has 19 grams of carbohydrates, and these whole grain carbs play an important role in providing energy and even boosting happiness.

Wait, but what about corn’s GMO problem?

In Melton’s opinion, the fear over GMOs is unfounded (in corn and otherwise). “There is no need to avoid GMO corn,” she says. “The National Academy of Sciences has concluded that GMOs are safe to eat and the same conclusion has been reached many large scientific organizations. We have had GMOs in our food system for over 20 years and there has never been any negative health issues associated with them.” Indeed, a 2018 study in Europe looked at 20 years of research on GMO corn and concluded that GMO corn was likely safe because of the higher quality of grain compared and the “reduction in human exposure to mycotoxins,” which are harmful, naturally-occurring chemicals created by fungus and mold in certain foods. (Insects often carry fungus or facilitate fungal growth; because the GMO corn was insect-resistant, the study found it had less insect damage, which was associated with lower levels of mycotoxins.)

Of course, this is a somewhat controversial stance in the wellness world. Again, while lots of scientific research backs up the safety of GMO products, certain other experts argue that it’s still too soon to know any potential long-term effects of GMO consumption. (Some believe that they could be triggering food sensitivities and gut issues, for example.) If GMOs in corn are something that concerns you, look for a Certified Organic food label when purchasing corn, and if you’re buying it at the farmers’ market, use this opportunity to talk to the farmers about how it’s grown.

The short version: Despite some of the not-so great rumors about corn out there, like all vegetables, corn is good for you and can play a role in a healthy diet. So go ahead and throw some on the grill. ‘Tis the season!

If you’re trying to eat more vegetables, here are some easy ways according to registered dietitians. Plus, try this sauce on top of your corn.

Many of us have great summer memories surrounding sweet corn. In the Midwest, when sweet corn is ready, our meals take on a different look as ears of corn make their way to our plates. Some families even have an annual event where several generations get together to spend a day canning or freezing corn. But there’s more to corn than just the version on the cob.

The four main categories of corn are field, popcorn, sweet and ornamental. More than 200 varieties of corn can be found growing in the United States today. Corn is very versatile since the entire corn plant can be used. You can use the husks for making tamales, the silk to create a medicinal tea, the kernels for food and the stalks for livestock feed. You can find corn in products like tortillas, tortilla chips, cornmeal and corn oil. Miniature ears of corn, known as baby corn, can be used in appetizers, soups, chowders, stews and stir fry dishes. Baby corn is particularly popular in Thai and Chinese cooking.

Corn is typically yellow, but comes in a variety of other colors such as red, orange, blue, white, cream, pink, purple, brown and black.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF CORN

Corn has several health benefits. Because of the high fiber content, it can aid with digestion. It also contains valuable B vitamins, which are important to your overall health. Corn also provides our bodies with essential minerals such as zinc, magnesium, copper, iron and manganese. Corn is a good source of the antioxidants carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, which promote eye health. Since corn is considered a starchy vegetable, people with diabetes need to keep in mind that a ½ cup of corn (or a small ear of corn) contains 15 grams of carbohydrate and counts as one carbohydrate food choice.

CHOOSING AND PREPARING CORN

Corn can be roasted, boiled, broiled, steamed, grilled or microwaved. You can add it to stews, casseroles, salads or salsa. Try adding corn kernels to cornbread batter for enhanced texture and flavor.

Fresh corn on the cob is best if cooked as soon as possible after picking, but that’s not always practical. Once you have brought the corn home, place the ears in your refrigerator as soon as possible. Cold temperatures slow down the chemical reaction that causes corn to lose its sweetness. Leave the husk on, and let the corn sit in the refrigerator uncovered instead of wrapped up tightly in a plastic bag. It’s best if cooked within three days. Once cooked, corn will stay good for three to five days in the refrigerator and 10 to 12 months in the freezer.

CORN CHALLENGE

If you’re accustomed to boiling your sweet corn, try a new cooking method. Sweet corn on the grill can be a delicious addition to your meal.

RECIPE

Sweet peppers stuffed with scalloped corn

Ingredients

  • 4 red or green bell peppers
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels, cut from about 4 large ears of corn
  • 1/8 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions

  • Heat the oven to 350 F. Lightly coat a baking dish with cooking spray. Cut the tops off the bell peppers and remove the seeds. Place in the prepared baking dish and set aside.
  • In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, chopped green pepper and corn. Saute until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chili powder and cilantro or parsley. Reduce heat to low.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the egg whites and milk. Add to the corn mixture and stir. Increase heat and continue stirring until egg whites begin to set, about 5 minutes. The mixture should be moist, not dry. Spoon 1/4 of the corn mixture into each pepper. Add the water to the bottom of the baking dish. Cover the peppers loosely with aluminum foil. Bake until the peppers are tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer to individual plates and serve.

Serves four. Serving size: 1 stuffed pepper

Nutritional analysis per serving: calories 197, Total fat 5 g, saturated fat 1 g, trans fat Trace, monounsaturated fat 3 g, cholesterol 1 mg, sodium 83 mg, total carbohydrate 29 g, dietary fiber 5 g, total sugars 14 g, added sugars 0 g, protein 9 g

Linda Carruthers is a registered dietitian-nutritionist in Springfield, Minnesota.

Health benefits of sweetcorn: 6 amazing reasons you should add it to your diet

On a warm summer’s evening, nothing beats the first crunchy bite of corn on the cob, smothered in melting butter. But sweetcorn has been vilified recently by those who fear it’s too high in carbohydrates – or has no nutritional benefit.

Well, we can set the record straight once and for all – so you can feast on as much corn as you like, absolutely guilt-free.

1. It is one of your five a day

Nutritionist and co-author of The Detox Kitchen Bible, Rob Hobson says: “I hate all these things where people tell you not to eat certain starchy vegetables. As a vegetable, it’s one of your five-a-day to start with, and it has plenty of nutritional value.”

2. It is nutrient rich

Hobson says corn, along with yellow and orange veggies, is rich in nutrients, including the antioxidants beta-carotene and lutein, the carotenoids which give the vegetables their distinctive colour.

These are essential for preventing eye diseases, which is why we say carrots help you see in the dark. Corn also contains certain B vitamins and vitamin C, as well as magnesium and potassium.

3. It has less sugar than an apple

The clue’s sort of in the name – sweet corn tastes sweet, so you’d think it was full of sugar. But apparently, an ear of corn has about the same number of calories as an apple and less than a quarter the sugar.

4. It is fibre boosting

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) recently reported that we’re not eating enough fibre, with around 20g being consumed each day, compared to the recommended daily intake of 30g.

Hobson says: “Most of us don’t get anywhere near enough fibre in our diet. Like all vegetables, sweetcorn is a source of fibre, which is good for digestive health.”

5. It is good gut bacteria

Sweetcorn does have high amounts of insoluble fibre – which is why the husks of the corn kernels don’t get broken down – but apparently that’s good for your gut, as it feeds the good bacteria in your tummy.

6. It is gluten-free

Many people are gluten-intolerant and sweetcorn is naturally gluten free. In its flour form, maize is used to make gluten-free pasta, which is a healthy alternative to the wheat version.

Puffed wheat cereal healthy

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