Granola Bars: Buy It vs. Make It
I’m in deep mourning this week because I thought for sure I had come up with a money-saver that would revolutionize my family’s finances. We go through a lot of granola bars in this house. A lot. Basically, when I start to worry that there should be more to my daughters’ diets than unspecified-berry-flavored live-active culture served in a tube, granola bars are often the only other food they’ll accept. (This is a curse that was laid upon me by an old crone who heard me making fun of my picky nieces back when I was kid-free. It will only be lifted by a true love’s kiss. Hershey’s Kiss.)
The point is, we go through a lot of granola bars in my house. If they were plentiful and free, I could finally start that college fund. I figured if that Quaker guy can make them, how hard could it be?
Well. Harder than I thought. I went through a couple of different recipes: a standard granola bar (flaxseeds? seriously?), and a much more fun version with marshmallows and cereal. They were both sort of tasty to me, but didn’t get anywhere with my kids. They also didn’t hold together in bar form, and I couldn’t figure out how to make them as portable and long-lasting as the Power Bar that’s been fermenting in my glove compartment.
I think we can all see where this is going.
Making granola bars isn’t difficult, but you have to come up with a lot of weird ingredients and touch mushy things. I’d rather not. Also, most recipes include store-bought granola, and I feel compelled to make my own, which adds to the effort. It’s still not onerous.
I guess these were fine. It’s not like granola bars are transcendent in the first place. But I wasn’t making these for me: they were for the very small people who ask for sandwiches and then cry because they hate sandwiches and why am I making them eat sandwiches. Those people were not interested. Their moms were! I brought my homemade bars on a hike, and the other moms finished off everything in my baggie. But they’d have been just as happy with trail mix, which is essentially these granola bars without the marshmallows.
I’m not doing math this time. There are too many weird ingredients in these granola bars, and they didn’t work anyway. Plus, part of the joy of snack bars is that you throw them in your purse and have them for an emergency. Which means you will end up using a precious snack-sized baggie for each one, and that’s a massive money-suck. Meanwhile, if you buy granola bars, in bulk they can be as cheap as $.50 a bar and they last longer than Wall-E.
If you’re buying snack bars for yourself — to put in your lunch — you should make it, because you’ll be able to fine-tune the taste, add protein powder or subtract sweetener as desired, and probably save some money. If you’re buying them for picky eaters, you’re out of luck. Buy it!
What’s the verdict? Check out all our Buy It vs. Make It comparisons!