A Waste Free Snack – Part 1

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Many of those snacks we so conveniently drop in our bag to eat at work or school are packaged twice. People have multiple snacks in one day and each one creates unnecessary waste. Here is one simple granola bar recipe to help you start moving away from double packaged snacks. The first thing you will need to do is gather your ingredients/materials and stay as waste free as possible while doing it. The great thing about granola bars is that you can create almost any flavor you wish. Here are a few basic ingredients but there are endless opportunities for modifications.

  • Oats: Oats are the base of my granola bars and pretty much required. They can be found in bulk at many different stores so make sure you save those containers to refill time and time again.
  • Honey: Honey is another key ingredient in my granola bars because it provides a strong binding. There are many people who keep bees and sell their very own local honey. This is a great way to support small business and limit your footprint. When you buy honey from a family, they will typically use glass jars rather than plastic, and they will typically accept them back when you are done even if they don’t advertise it that way. Also, shopping local always reduces the environmental effects of transportation.
  • Nut Butter: This is also a binding ingredient in the bars. Nut butters are commonly found in glass jars and at Whole Foods you can actually grind your own nut butter into the same jar many times over. Towards the city there are more options for zero waste nut butters but no matter where you live, you can make it work if you do a little research of the area.
  • Add-ins: When making granola bars, you can add pretty much anything you want. Chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruits, etc. It’s up to you to find the perfect balance of good flavor and waste free.
  • A pan liner: Typically you would use aluminum foil or parchment paper but in efforts to save waste, I would advise to invest in a reusable one. I have found simple reusable cookie sheet liners on amazon for as low as $8 but they also sell them in most stores with kitchen products.
  • A non-stick spray or oil: I typically use coconut oil which comes in a glass jar to be reused and recycled. Also, it is actually not that hard to make from a few raw coconuts.

Here is how to make the bars:

  1. Combine 1 cup nut or seed butter and ¾ cup of honey in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally and cook until the two are well mixed and thin.
  2. Option to toast the oats and any nuts you are using. However, I recommend to use them raw and save the heat/energy.
  3. Add the oats into a large bowl and pour the nut or seed butter mixture into the bowl. Add in any other ingredients you will be using and stir until well mixed.
  4. Choose a pan, I typically use an 8×8 or 9×9 but anything will work. The bars will just be thinner with a larger pan.
  5. Place the reusable liner in the pan and oil or grease the inside of the liner.
  6. Press the oat mixture into the pan and add any extra toppings to the surface of the bars.
  7. Refrigerate the pan for a least a few hours. 2 or 3 should suffice but more never hurts.
  8. Remove the hardened oat mixture from the pan and cut into bars.
  9. Store in the fridge for a harder bar or store in the cabinet for a softer bar.

Based on the amount of double packaged granola bars sold at the store, you would think granola bars were much more difficult to make. Save yourself some money, and limit your footprint too!

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