‘Round the Table: Healthy Options for Hearty Foods

Who doesn’t love granola bars, quick breads and muffins? But sadly, these “health foods” are often loaded with simple carbs, unhealthy fats and too much sugar. This collection of granola bars, quick breads and muffins relies on healthy ingredients such as whole wheat flour, fruits puree and nuts. Best of all, these recipes make it easy to slip in a serving of veggies and no one will mind!

These Strawberry Granola Bars are a healthier version of a popular Strawberry Oatmeal Bar. This recipe relies on whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose and fresh strawberries instead of strawberry preserves. Glaze these lightly for best results.

Strawberry Granola Bars

Yield: 16 bars

The fresh strawberries melt into a delicious jammy layer. You won’t miss the sugary preserves.

For the bars:

  • 1 cup of old fashioned rolled oats
  • ¾ cup of white whole wheat flour or gluten free baking mix
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 cup of diced strawberries
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar, divided

For the glaze:

  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon milk

Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Line an 8×8” baking pan with 2 sheets parchment paper to create a sling and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine oats, flour, brown sugar, ginger and salt. Pour in melted butter and stir until dry ingredients are evenly moistened. Reserve ½ cup of mixture. Press remaining crust mixture into an even layer in the bottom of the prepared baking pan.

Sprinkle half the strawberries over the crust. Sprinkle the cornstarch evenly over the berries and then drizzle the lemon juice over the berries. Finish the layer by sprinkling ½ Tablespoon of the granulated sugar over the berries. Top with the remaining berries and remaining sugar. Sprinkle the reserved crust crumbs evenly over the top.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until fruit is bubbly and crumb is golden brown.  Place the pan on a wire rack to cool completely.

To prepare the glaze: add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract to a medium sized bowl; whisk in the milk and continue whisking until the glaze is smooth.  Add more milk if you desire a thinner glazer.

Use the parchment paper sling to remove the bars from the pan; drizzle with the glaze, cut into squares and serve.

This Sweet Potato Crunch Bread is as good as your favorite Sweet Potato Casserole without the excess sugar and no butter! Applesauce makes the loaf moist while oats and whole wheat flour up the fiber of this delicious treat.  This is one quick bread recipe that won’t supply quick guilt!

Sweet Potato Crunch Bread

Yield:   8-inch loaf

Sweet Potato Crunch is lower in sugar and higher in fiber than traditional recipes.

For the loaf:

  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup cooked mashed sweet potato
  • ½ cup quick cook oats
  • ½ cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

For the topping:

  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons white whole wheat flour
  • 2 Tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Spray 8 x 4” loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together applesauce and brown sugar until smooth. Then add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Add sweet potatoes and oats and stir until combined.  All at once, add white whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg.  Stir until just combined, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Turn the batter out into the prepared pan.

In a separate bowl, combine the pecans, brown sugar, and flour; work in the butter with the tips of your fingers or a pastry cutter until coarse crumbs form. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the batter.

Bake for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool on wire racks until cool.

These hearty, healthy muffins are just the thing to fill you up when you need a quick breakfast or easy snack. They are moist and dense; chock full of fruits, veggies and nuts and sweetened with just a kiss of brown sugar. You won’t find anything this delicious and healthy in a coffee shop!

Good Morning Sunshine Muffins

Yield: 12 muffins

Make mornings special with these healthy Good Morning Sunshine Muffins!

  • 1 ½ cups of white whole wheat flour
  • ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup of unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup melted coconut oil
  • 2 carrots, peeled, and shredded
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup of raisins
  • ½ cup flaked coconut
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped

Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Line a muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.

In a large bowl add flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt; whisk to combine.  Stir in applesauce, egg, oil, and vanilla and stir until just combined. Fold in the carrots, raisins, coconut and pecans; stir until the ingredients are combined. Do not overmix.  Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin tins.

Bake at 400°F for 10 minutes and then reduce the oven heat to 350°F and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached.

Cool the muffins in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

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