Happy Tuesday morning!  Did you know that Tuesday is the most productive day of the week.  You have to get over your Monday is so rough attitude and then you are ready to totally kill it on Tuesday!  I’m bringing you recipes for homemade bars that are great for a post-workout snack or to satisfy your sweet tooth…or to eat anytime, really.  Get productive today and make these!

Tuesday is my favorite workout class, my mid-morning Barre Express class. Express means 45 minutes instead of 60 minutes and who doesn’t love to get their workout done in express fashion?  I do!  It is a fun, muscle focused class without any jumping! That’s what I’m talking about!

I don’t love eating my usual breakfast right before I workout so I usually stick to some fruit and peanut butter or a small bowl of oatmeal about 1-2 hours prior. The one small problem is that on my way home I am pretty hungry.  My tummy wants all the quick, easy snacks while my brain says “don’t ruin those 45 minutes”.  Post workout I like to incorporate protein and carbs in a small snack or mini meal for energy and tissue repair.

I discovered Larabars® when we did the Whole 30 challenge last year.  We meaning my husband, Dan, and I – bless his heart.  I know they are not technically approved because they encourage meals only and no snacking.  But I workout hard usually 6 days a week and I sometimes needed something between meals or on the go.  Dan liked them as an easy snack at work because he was constantly in and out of meetings. These suckers were getting pretty pricey when we would each have one most days of the week so I found some inspiration to come up with my own.

These bars are great because they are real food and don’t have additives like a lot of other bars do.  They are sweetened naturally with dates and contain no added sugar or artificial sweeteners.  Whole 30ers make sure to opt for ones without chocolate chips, peanuts, peanut butter or flavor extracts. Flavor extracts are made with alcohol and alcohol is a big, fat NO (insert angry emoji here).

IMG_7261

These homemade bars are super simple.  You just need a food processor and a few ingredients.  The variety options are endless with different add ins and flavors. My favorite flavors to make right now are cashew chocolate hazelnut and a take on Almond Joy with coconut, almond and cocoa.  I usually have these ingredients on hand so it’s easy to make a batch.

Let’s talk about nutrition in these bars.  Dates contain magnesium, fiber, potassium and vitamin B6.  They are great for your digestive system! Dates do contribute a significant amount of sugar, though it is a natural source.  They are low on the glycemic index meaning they don’t cause as high of a spike in blood sugar.  Cashews and almonds are good sources of healthy unsaturated fats as well as vitamin E, copper and magnesium. The best part about these bars are they contain only a few ingredients and all ingredients are recognizable.  Check out the ingredients on a “nutrition” bar next time you are at the store and see how many ingredients there are and how many you don’t recognize.

I hope these bars give you another snack option to keep on hand and maybe inspire you to DIY more often.  It’s so nice when we can control what goes in our food and ultimately in our bodies!

IMG_7280Homemade Larabars

Makes 6-9 bars depending on thickness

Almond Joy

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 15 pitted dates
  • 2 T cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut
  • ¼ t almond extract (use less or omit if you don’t like almond flavoring)
  • ¼ t vanilla extract
  • 1oz water

Directions

  1. Process almonds in food processor until they are small crumbles.
  2. Add remaining ingredients, except for water, and process until smooth and well combined.
  3. Add water in small amounts to allow ingredients to come together but not be too moist.
  4. Line 8X8 or smaller pan with parchment paper. Pour mixture into pan and press down with spoon or fingers until flat and smooth.
  5. Refrigerate to firm up. Slice into bars and keep in airtight container in fridge for 1 week.

Cashew Chocolate Hazelnut

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cashews
  • 15 pitted dates
  • 2 T cocoa powder
  • ¼ t hazelnut extract (or extract of choice)
  • 1oz water

Follow above directions replacing almonds with cashews.

Enjoy!

Lin

Disclaimer – I am not promoting whole30.  I am simply stating my love for these bars, how I found them and why they are a good choice as far as snack bars go.