Munch on healthy crunch

Jul 13, 2014, 10:04 IST | Anu Prabhakar

A Breach Candy-based entrepreneur aspires to make healthy food fun and delicious with her range of flavoursome and tasty, baked granola bars

Diwali 2013 is not a time Aparna Dalmia intends to forget anytime now. For, while the rest of the country celebrated the festival by gorging on boxes of heavy-duty sweets and food, Dalmia spent her time making healthy granola bars for her husband.

Aparna Dalmia’s granola bars come in 10 different flavours
Aparna Dalmia’s granola bars come in 10 different flavours

She jokingly admits that it was a depressing sight. “My husband is really into fitness and used to have imported energy bars. One day, he asked me to make these bars. At first, I thought it was unrealistic.

I am a fashion graduate after all,” laughs Dalmia. “I can make Thai or Chinese food but I had never attempted making granola bars before. But my husband didn’t let me off so easily,” she laughs.

Getting started
The 32-year-old Breach Candy-based entrepreneur didn’t check into a baking class in panic. Instead, she experimented with basic ingredients such as oats, nuts, honey and mineral sugar and decided on the final recipes through trial and error.

“The good old Internet came to my rescue when I had to learn about baking,” she smiles. Soon, what started out as a mere exercise to satisfy her husband’s cravings for healthy food became a hit project among the couple’s circle of close friends.

“We started off by sending some samples to a few friends. One thing led to another and the business became very popular,” says the self-taught cook. The venture came to be called Quick Energy Bars. When she first started out, she made granola bars in just four flavours. But now, she offers 10 flavours including chia seeds, cinnamon, cranberries, coffee, chocolate and so on.

“The more high-end granola bars have chia seeds (which are a good source of Omega 3, fibre and protein) and holly berries, which are expensive. The chia seeds I use, for instance, are produced in Mexico,” explains Dalmia, who is looking to rebrand Quick Energy Bars in the upcoming festive season.

“These bars are healthy as the ingredients used are natural, have no added preservatives, no artificial flavours and colours. The bars, depending on the flavours, provide iron, vitamins, minerals, proteins and help reduce cholesterol levels. Berries are natural antioxidants,” she adds.

The proof is in the bar
A festive gift box of these bars cost Rs 550. Our specially packaged box of Dalmia’s granola goodies includes an assortment of bars.

The well-wrapped bars come in flavours such as Low Calorie, Coffee Crunch, Need for Seed, Cranberry, Very Berry (with both cranberry and blueberry), Hazelnut, Cinnamon and Choco-chip. The bars are crunchy, freshly made and cautiously sweet.

There are popular favourites, however. The cinnamon bar smells like Christmas morning the first bite is an explosion of flavours. The coffee crunch is a must try for black coffee lovers, as the strong flavour of coffee blends in seamlessly with the innate ‘oat-y’ taste of the bar.

The Low Calorie bar, in spite of the glum label, is delicious. The unadulterated taste of oats and honey cuts through each crunchy bite. Its nice, chewy consistency makes you chew slower, which is great, because there is that much more to savour.

“This is not diet food,” emphasises Dalmia. “This is just a healthy substitute for snacks such as biscuits. There are no artificial preservatives. Since children are heavily into outdoor games they can carry these health bars as a snack to school,” she points out.

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