Living on a special diet, no matter if it’s for diabetes, IBS, or other reasons brings it’s own special challenges. Once I was able to figure out WHAT I could eat safely (this took me about 2 years), I was then left with the challenge of making sure that I could have safe foods easily accessible. One thing I really missed was being able to toss a granola bar into my purse. I needed to discover a FODMAP free granola bar!
Most easily available granola bars are filled with ‘healthy’ ingredients that don’t sit so well with my tummy. Apples, honey, dairy, wheat and even sometimes ingredients that I can’t pronounce, let alone try and spell!
I did discover the granola bars from Nature’s Path, and found two types that are safe – but one of them is pumpkin flavoured, and I’m not a real fan of pumpkins in anything except pie (and that will now be a memory from my pre-IBS days).
So I checked out recipes on the internet and from my cookbooks. I mucked about in my kitchen. My biggest disappointment was ending up with a crumbly mess that didn’t stick together – I made the mistake of putting one of these (wrapped in saran) in my purse and it didn’t survive the morning before disintegrating.
After some experimentation, I did end up with my go-to recipe, that I’d like to share with you.
There are three secrets to making a granola bar that sticks together and doesn’t fall apart:
- I use Organic Brown Rice Syrup by Lundberg (no doubt there are other suppliers of this product). I can find this at both my local health food store as well as Safeway, and it is a FODMAP free substitute for corn syrup.
- Be cautious of how many ‘dry’ ingredients (particularly the oats) that you add to the recipe. Adding a little ‘extra’ can result in a dry bar with not enough ‘stick’. The total amount of dry ingredients should not exceed 6.5 cups.
- Boil the ‘wet’ ingredients for about 2 minutes, before adding dry ingredients. If you’ve ever made candy, you know this is an important step.
The nice thing about this recipe is that it’s really flexible. I change it up all the time.
- 1/3 cup Earth Balance or other margarine substitute
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup Brown rice syrup
- 3 cups rice crispies
- 1.5 cup quick oats
- 1 cup coconut
- 1 cup diary free chocolate chips
In a large, heavy pot set on medium heat, combine the margarine, brown sugar and rice syrup. Stirring constantly, bring to a light boil and simmer for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in dry ingredients. Press into a 9×13 lightly oiled pan. Let set, remove from pan and cut into bars. Individually wrap bars in saran, store in freezer until needed.
As I mentioned, one of the key things to not having a dry crumbly bar is to control the urge to add too many dry ingredients (particularly the oats). I usually measure out the dry ingredients beforehand to make sure I’m not over the magic 6.5 cup amount.
The fun part of this recipe is that if you remember this rule, you can mix up the ingredients for variety. I’ve removed the chocolate, increased the coconut and added chia seeds:
I’ve added the candied orange peel that I’ve had left over from my Christmas baking:
- If you don’t want your chocolate chips to melt into the bars, you can add them just before you turn the batter out into the pan.
- If you add peanuts, be aware they may be oily and not stick to the bar. I find if I use Spanish peanuts and chop them up they stay put.
I take large Ziploc bags of these whenever I travel. One of these and an orange or banana will do me for lunch if there’s no other safe options available. They keep well, are convenient to have on hand and are definitely a sanity saver!