Sunday, June 30, 2013

Recipe: Healthy Oatmeal Bars

I recently had a bunch of tests run, and despite the fact that I'm a vegetarian, my cholesterol levels came back high.  I was totally shocked by this.  I do eat eggs and cheese, but not in an overabundance.

So my doctor suggested a few things to help me lower the cholesterol.  The first is that I must exercise daily about 1.5 hours.  Doing so will lower my cholesterol 5-10 points.

And the second is to eat oatmeal EVERY DAY!  He said that doing so will lower my cholesterol 5-10 points.  Now that can be as cereal or in the form of a "healthy" cookie.

So I started looking at cookie recipes.  As you know by now, I follow Weight Watchers.  And with only 26 points to eat in a day, the last thing I want to do is waste too many on a cookie.  Most recipes were filled with sugar and nuts.  So I decided to try my own recipe.

This recipe will make about 20 oat bars.  They do NOT taste like your typical oatmeal cookie.  They're not sugary sweet but have a natural sweetness.  Each bar has only 2 points plus.

Healthy Oatmeal Bars

3 cups oats (I used Quaker Oats but any good oatmeal is fine.  You just don't want to use instant.
1 ripe banana (ripe, like yellow skin wih a few brown freckles)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup egg whites (Or I suppose you can use a whole egg or two but i'm tryin to cut cholesterol.
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped unsweetened organic turkish apricots (I bought these at Trader Joe's)
1/2 tsp salt  (I didn't use any, and I felt that it needed it)

OPTIONAL: Now, if you would like to add sugar, I'm guessing that 1/2 cup brown sugar would probably be plenty.  You can also add chopped walnuts.  Because I'm trying to keep these low calorie/low points, I didn't.  But feel free to experiment.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9x13" baking pan with cooking spray.
Use parchment paper and cut it to the size of the bottom of your plan.  Place parchment in pan.
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl until moist.   Pour on top of the parchment and press into the corners, keeping the whole thing even.  Bake for 30 minutes or golden.

Remove from oven.  At this point, I free the whole thing from the pan and remove the parchment backing placing the whole slab onto a cooling rack.  When warm, use a large knife to cut into 20 pieces.  Enjoy.
Cut into 20 pieces - 2 points plus
Cut into 16 pieces - 3 points plus

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