DIY heart-healthy snack: Providence Coconut Granola Bars

April 3, 2017

Recipe for Healthy Coconut Granola Bars by Providence Health

By Kay MacInnis, Registered Dietitian

This is the week of the American Heart Association Heart Walk, an event that brings together the things we’ve been talking about in Heart Month (February) and Nutrition Month (March).

But it’s always important to take care of our hearts. I take a three-pronged approach: Mind, Body and Spirit!

Of course, as a nutritionist I am all about the body. But you can’t just think about the body without the mind and spirit. Eating healthy affects all three, as does physical activity. I hope I will see you at the Heart Walk! It starts at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 1, at Colonial Life Arena in Columbia – check-in is at 8 a.m.

By the way, not only does exercise help decrease blood pressure and promote an increase in HDL cholesterol (“good cholesterol”) it also plays a major role in lowering blood sugars.

As Nutrition Month closes, be sure to put your best fork forward by trying this healthier version of a granola bar. The recipe was developed in the hospital by our Chef Brandon Carn, who is always willing to experiment and find a healthier way to prepare food!

Providence Coconut Granola Bars


  • 4 cups oats
  • 4 cups coconut flakes
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 oz. (about 2 tbsp.) chia seeds
  • 1 cup agave nectar
  • 3 oz. almond butter
  • Nonstick cooking spray


  • In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients.
  • Stir in the agave.
  • Add the almond butter and mix by hand.
  • Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and press the granola mixture until tight.
  • Bake at 300 F for 10-12 minutes.
  • Refrigerate 1 hour before cutting.

Serves 25.

Nutrition Information: 197 Calories, 13 grams fat, 0 mg. cholesterol, 47.68 mg. sodium, 18.93 grams carbohydrate, 4.8 grams protein.


This is another in a weekly series of healthy recipes from Kay MacInnis, registered dietitian at Providence Health in Columbia, S.C.

Kay promotes health and wellness, helping cardiac and diabetes patients eat their way to healthier lives. She works in consultation with the trained chefs at Providence, combining her nutrition knowledge with their food prep know-how to create delicious, healthy dishes for patients and the public. She also conducts a number of health and wellness events for the public, including the monthly Providence Cooks! classes.

"She doesn't just give you the fish, she teaches you how to cook it."

 – a Kay MacInnis fan and Providence Cooks! regular.