Protein bars. Energy bars. Nutrition bars. We have all bought them at one time or another. They are a great snack or meal replacement if you can’t quite sit down for a meal at that time. The problem is, the ingredient list on these bars is usually bigger than the number of dudes watching the Victoria’s Secret fashion show! As a general rule, we want to buy products that have less ingredients. Why? Because the more ingredients a food has, the less likely it is to be natural and fresh from the source. Also, many bars are filled with additives and preservatives that we know are harmful to our bodies. Not to mention artificial sweeteners that have been found to cause disease. Ew, disease. Wahh wahh wahhh.
What if you were able to make this type of bar yourself? Now that would be awesome. You would know exactly what ingredients went into the bars, because you were the one controlling them! This way, you get the job done with good food that didn’t have unknown ingredients from random parts of the world.
I recently had a chance to catch up with my good friend Sham Sanghera, CEO of Inspired Wellness. Sham has been a big inspiration on my journey of learning about nutrition and fitness and he has changed many lives through his company. We have worked with each other to trade info about fitness, nutrition and wellness since we both worked at the ARC Fitness Center at UC Davis. We met up a couple weeks ago and he introduced me to a recipe that he personally uses, as well as shares with his clients. FitMentality and Inspired Wellness will collaborate in the future, so we figured sharing a recipe here and there would be a great way to combine forces to bring wellness to the world. Kind of like super heroes. Yup, very similar to super heroes. Our capes are in the mail; just bought them from Amazon.
So here we go, homemade bars. They are awesome. I’m not sure if they have an official name, therefore, for now I will call them
2 cups almonds
1/2 cup flax meal (ground flax seeds)
1/2 cup dried fruit
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup coconut oil
stevia (sweet plant extract, wayyy better than artificial sweeteners that have been found to cause cancer!)
1 table spoon vanilla extract
The stevia you can get at health food stores, such as Whole Foods. I bought the coconut oil and almonds/almond butter, sea salt at Trader Joes. However, other stores carry these products as well.
Blend the almonds, flax, fruit (I liked blueberries, Sham was a fan of dried cranberries), almond butter, sea salt in a food processor. A regular blender may or may not be able to handle the thickness of the almonds and almond butter. We have found that either a food processor or high powered blender (BlendTec or VitaMix) worked the best.
Take this combination of ingredients and put into a mixing bowl. Put the coconut oil into a container and microwave it for a few seconds. This helps because it turns it into liquid form, which is easier to mix. Mix in the coconut oil, sea salt, 5 or so drops of stevia (liquid or powder), and vanilla extract all together with the rest of the ingredients. The product is a bit thick so it may take a bit of elbow grease to mix it all together by hand. But hey, exercise is good! Or, if you randomly have a mixer used for baking, that can really help. I tried this recipe at home and used my dad’s mixer. It was much easier than mixing it by hand.
Once everything is all mixed up, spread it out onto a casserole type pan or container and let it sit in the fridge for a while (a half hour or so would be fine). The size of the pan you use and how thin you spread the ingredients will determine how thick your bars will be. Once the awesome bars have sat in the fridge for a bit, you can begin to cut them into the size you prefer.
They taste great and have great nutritional ingredients. You get the protein, calories, fat and fiber that your body needs to stay strong and healthy. The great thing about these bars is that they pretty dense. If you wanted to lose weight, one of these bars can keep you full for an extended period of time. Therefore, helping you to fight cravings or unnecessary food. If weight loss is not your goal, these still work great as part of a meal or quick snack throughout the day. Careful, just like with anything, don’t go overboard all in one day. Try to make them last, killer 😉
I like to keep them in tupperware so that I can take one or two out to take with me to work, as well as snack on when I’m at home.
Go ahead and try them out. Good for you and good tasting. Doesn’t get much better. Brought to you by Inspired Wellness and FitMentality.com.