Monday, March 11, 2013

Pregnant? Get Motivated to Drop the Junk and Try These Granola Bites

Did you read the latest news about eating junk food during pregnancy?  It made me think that perhaps both my mom and Nick's mom binged on junk food throughout their entire pregnancies with both of us.    Why? Because the study showed that eating a lot of junk food (typically really sweet and fatty foods) during pregnancy can cause changes in the opioid signaling pathway of the unborn child, therefore making it difficult for the child to get that "feel good" feeling from eating certain foods (like high fat and sugar foods).  So in theory this would mean the child would need to eat more of the food to get that "feel good" feeling.  Do you have a sweet tooth? Do you like high fat junk foods? Nick and I both have major sweet tooths (although his is much, much worse than mine, can you believe I got blessed with marrying one of the few men on this planet who actually likes chocolate more than his wife?  Yeah, I'm a lucky women).

While I'm not pregnant, I do have many friends who are expecting and who have complained to me that their sweet tooth is just insatiable.  That scares me.  I can't imagine what mine will be like when the time comes......yikes.  This recipe is for anyone who is pregnant and wants a sweet treat that is actually packed with nutrition (and for those of you who aren't pregnant, you can enjoy this too, it's just a healthier treat for any occasion!).

Evan (the initial creator of this recipe) makes some of the most amazing recipes I've ever seen, and I know this not just because I look at his wonderful photos, but I have probably made at least a dozen of his recipes.  I saw these granola bites on his blog not too long ago and thought they sounded, as always, wonderful. But the best part was that they sounded easy.  Of course, I did make some modifications in order to make them low FODMAPs, and to appeal to my "spicy" side (I'm obsessed with adding cayenne to anything even slightly close to granola).

Spicy Granola Bites
Makes ~18 bites
Modified from a recipe found on The Wannabe Chef's Blog


1.5 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 Tbsp. maple syrup (or cane syrup)
1/4th cup dark chocolate chips (semi-sweet)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cayenne (or more for extra heat!)
1/4 tsp. nutmeg


1.  Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

2.  Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and form a sticky dough.  Start forming 1-inch balls with your hands, adding more peanut butter if the dough is too dry.

3.  Place the balls on a non-stick cookie sheet.

4.  Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the outsides have browned a bit.

5.  Let the granola bites cool and then store them at room temperature for 2-3 days (or in the fridge for a week).

The Candid RD
Pre-Oven baking

The Candid RD
Post-Oven Baking
So tasty right out of the oven!

Nutrition facts for 1/18th of recipe

Nutrition Highlights:  Under 150 calories, low fat, very low sodium (I used no salt added peanut butter), only 3 grams of sugar (because of the semi-sweet vs. milk chocolate chips)

But what if you want more protein in your snack?

-  Add some powdered peanut butter to your dough 
-  Add some chia seeds to the dough (they will soak up moisture so you may need more nut butter or cane sugar if you do this)
-  Add some more nuts/seeds of other types
-  Add whey protein (I thought about doing this....)
-  Serve your bites with some greek yogurt or a glass of milk

Want more ideas for "healthier indulgence" recipes? Check out my "raw" board on Pinterest, which contains plenty of delicious "bite" and "ball" options, also my "Healthy Snacks" board.  I also thought these larabar-like snack balls from Anna sounded really delicious.  I'll have to try them soon.

QUESTION:  What's your favorite healthy indulgence? Leave a recipe if you'd like to share!

Thanks for reading!

The Candid Rd

NOTE: I love comments!  But, be sure to come back to read any replies to questions or comments, as they do not go directly to your e-mail.


  1. I just pinned it! :) They sound really good, and I have all the ingredients to make them later today!

    I like all sorts of raw balls. My latest favorite combo is dates, raw almond butter, and hemp seeds.

  2. I remember hearing about this link between junk food and a sweet tooth and thinking wow, that explains so much! It's a little scary to think about something that happened so long ago when people didn't know there was such a link could affect me now and can affect our future kids.

    These granola bites look like a deliciously healthy indulgence! :)

  3. I make some very similar but I don't bake them. They really work well for a sweet tooth. And I pigged out on sweets with all 3 of my pregnancies but my kids turned out ok. They do enjoy their desserts but they aren't crazy about it and they also like healthy food. Phew.

  4. Yum, these sound tasty! So many things scare me about pregnancy, I'll just have to deal with the sweet tooth :) haha.

  5. Those look like a great portable snack for when I'm commuting home from internship - I always get starving on the way home, and want a sweet treat. It's far too easy to just stop in at a store to pick up some delicious baked good. I think I will make some tomorrow night :)

  6. Yummy and such good information about research on pregnancy and sweets. Thank you!

  7. these are great but they don't stick together too well. Just add more pb??

    1. Absolutely, if the "dough" is too dry, or doesn't stick together well, add more peanut butter. Also, be sure the peanut butter isn't the natural kind (that you make on your own) because I find that doesn't work well in recipes like this. I dunno, maybe I'm the only one that thinks that? I buy a brand that is just peanuts but is VERY smooth (and happens to be organic too).
      Thanks for your feedback!