How to make your own healthy granola bars

Victoria Evans
Nutritionist and Centre Manager at Bupa UK
11 October 2018

Walk into any local supermarket, and the chances are you’ll find an entire section dedicated to snack bars. These tasty treats can be a great way to curb your hunger and keep your energy levels up in between meal times. But they can sometimes be expensive, as well as high in calories and sugar. So why not try making your own healthy homemade versions of your favourite bars? It’s easier than you might think and gives you control over what goes in. Here, I’ll share my favourite no-bake recipe for you to try at home and also teach you how to identify healthier granola bars in the shops.

Healthy granola bar recipe

Whether they’re called granola bars, cereal bars, breakfast bars, energy bars, date bars or fruit and nut bars – the idea behind them is largely the same. They’re usually made of a combination of grains, nuts, seeds and fruit.

The recipe below will make the basis of your healthy granola bar. You can then mix and match with a variety of ingredients to create your favourite flavour combinations.

Makes: 10 bars

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup* of mixed nuts (unsalted)
  • 1 ½ cups of rolled oats
  • 1 ½ cups of pitted dates
  • ¼ cup of your favourite nut butter (such as peanut or cashew)
  • ¼ cup of honey

*You can use any size cup, just make sure you use the same one for the whole recipe.


  1. Pulse the mixed nuts in a food processor, or roughly chop them with a knife until they’re broken into chunks.
  2. Combine the nut pieces and oats in a mixing bowl. If you have time, roast the oats and nuts in the oven at 170 degrees for 10 minutes to release a delicious, toasted flavour. Set to one side.
  3. Add the honey and nut butter to a saucepan and stir gently over a low heat until they form a liquid.
  4. Blend the dates in a food processor until they form a paste (be sure to remove any stones first).
  5. Add the date paste, nut butter and honey mixture, and any other flavours or ingredients you might like to the oat and nut mixture and stir well (see below for flavour ideas).
  6. Line a 20cm x 20cm baking tray with baking paper and add your mixture. Be sure to spread it evenly and press the mixture down firmly into the tray so that it holds together.
  7. Place the tray into the freezer and leave to set for around 15-20 minutes.
  8. Once set, cut it into 10 slices and enjoy! You can store them in a container in the fridge for a couple of days.

Flavour ideas

  • Orange peel and dried cranberries.
  • Banana and walnut.
  • Dessicated coconut and fresh raspberries.
  • Dried cherries and cacao nibs.
  • Apple and cinnamon.
  • Pear and almond.

You can also add ingredients such as chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseed and goji berries to the mixture. These are a little more expensive, but you can buy them in bulk and they’ll pack your granola bar with an extra healthy punch.

Tip: If you’re adding fruit to your bars, using 1-2 tbsp of a dried variety works best. But if you’d like to use fresh fruit, such as overripe bananas or raspberries, use less dates in the mixture so the bars don’t become too moist.

Which granola bars are the healthiest?

If you’re grabbing a granola bar when you’re out and about, you may be faced with a huge selection to choose from. Take a quick look at the ingredients and nutrition panels on the packet to help you figure out which is the healthiest option.

Opt for the products with more natural ingredients that you recognise like dates, oats, raisins and nuts. That way you’re choosing a filling, healthy bar which can help to keep your energy levels up until your next meal.

If you’re trying to spot hidden sugars, it helps to know that the ingredients on food packaging  are listed in order of quantity. So, for example, if sugar is near the beginning of the list, that means the product is made up of mostly sugar. Finally, remember that sugar has lots of different names such as glucose, fructose, sucrose, maltose, molasses, dextrose, syrup and invert sugar – so keep an eye out for these too.

For more ideas on how to cut down on your sugar intake, take a look at our sugar swaps videos.

Are you interested in learning more about your health? Discover more about our range of health assessments.

Victoria Evans
Victoria Evans
Nutritionist and Centre Manager at Bupa UK