Monday, 30 April 2012

Cranberry and Pistachio Granola Bars

You may have noticed that I like cooking with oats, and I particularly like turning them into flapjacks or granola bars. I tend to keep a tin full of some kind of oaty bar at all times for taking out on walks or having as an afternoon snack. These are uncannily like the Starbucks granola bars but a good bit healthier. 

2 1/2 cups oats
1 cup light brown soft sugar
1 egg and 1 egg white
1/4 cup skimmed milk powder
1/4 melted olive oil spread or butter
2 tablespoons pistachios
2 tablespoons seeds (I used sunflower, pumpkin and sesame)
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
2 tablespoons dessicated coconut

Makes 16

Beat the eggs, sugar, milk power and melted spread together in a large bowl using a whisk or hand blender. Stir in oats, nuts, seeds, coconut and cranberries. Make sure everything is evenly mixed and then pour into a well-greased 8"x8" tin. Bake for 20-25 mins at 180c or until lightly browned on top. Allow to cool and cut into 16 squares.

Arthritis diet notes
These bars are a great snack for when you need a lot of energy fast. The recipe is high in healthy fats from the nuts and seeds, whilst being low in unhealthy saturated ones. The oats boost the fibre content to help keep you going for longer. Skimmed milk powder and eggs also increase satiety by making the protein content higher than most commercial bars.

Some studies suggest that as many as 1 in 8 patients with rheumatoid arthritis are underweight. This can be due to the inflammatory effects of the disease, difficulty shopping and cooking and side effects such as nausea from medications.  If your arthritis has left you in need of gaining weight, granola bars like these are a great way of getting in some extra energy easily. You can throw a couple wrapped in foil into your bag to eat when you are out or nibble a couple before bed. If you like nuts, throw in a few more and a tablespoonful of nut butter before baking to make them even more energy dense.

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