If there is something I’m always doing, it’s snacking! Going on a Target run and I pack a snack or two. I just love snacking, I just like having something to munch on while I’m doing something — or not doing something. So no matter where I go, I always have my stash of snacks in my bag or car. One thing I love to have with me is some kind of energy/granola bar or ball (try my easy granola energy balls). When I was in college, bars were something I always picked up when I was grocery shopping, because they are easy to eat and if they get squished in your backpack they still taste good! However, after my first nutrition and metabolism class, I started to pay more attention to the food labels and quickly found out how many extra ingredients there were in all the bars I was buying. And the amount of sugar per bar was just crazy!
It wasn’t until my 3rd year of college that I started to make my own energy bars and balls, experiment after experiment, I think I have finally found a recipe that I really like! These bars are full of simple delicious ingredients that are all great for your body! And the best thing about these is that you can make them whatever size or shape you like. If you like the small ball-shaped raw or granola balls better, you can roll this mixture into balls instead of pressing the mixture into a glass pan.
What I love about making your own bars is that you can customize it to whatever flavor you like! And the health benefits are a super plus to the simple preparation of these bars. Below you can see the different health benefits you could gain from eating the ingredients from these raw bars:
- Dried coconut: great dietary fiber, could promote brain function and strengthen connective tissues, it has fat — but it’s a healthy fat which can lower your LDL and increase your HDL levels, and a good source of iron to prevent anemia.
- Raw Cacao powder: has the highest antioxidant value, high in magnesium which could help calm the body’s nervous system, and a good source of sulfur to help strengthen nails, make your hair shine, and improve the health of your liver and pancreas.
- Walnuts: good source of omega-3, iron, selenium, calcium, folate, zinc, vitamin E and some B vitamins.
- Almonds: healthy fats, a good source of iron, magnesium, protein, and vitamin E. Could lower blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels, as well as, reduce hunger and promote weight loss.
- Coconut oil: high in healthy saturated fats, that could improve weight loss and boost brain and body energy levels, could also improve HDL levels and lower LDL levels, but still, an oil so watch how much you consume.
- Peanut butter: high in healthy monounsaturated fats, rich in antioxidants, protein, fiber, and potassium. But it’s high in fat and calories so don’t go over the 2 Tbsp serving size.
- Figs: rich in fiber, vitamins A, B1 and B2, manganese, potassium, iron, magnesium, copper, and phosphorus. I’m lucky to have two fig trees in my backyard, to eat fresh figs during its season.
- Dried Dates: good source of fiber, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and zinc. Could also lower cholesterol, improve bone health, and strengthen your nervous system.
- Chia seeds: good source of omega-3, fiber, antioxidants, iron, and calcium.
So here it is: Coconut Cacao Raw Energy Bars!
Coconut Cacao Raw Energy Bars
makes: 12 raw bars
1/4 cup dates, pitted and sliced in half
1/4 cup fresh figs, sliced in half
1/4 cup almonds
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup dried coconut
1/4 cup toasted dried coconut (optional, but I like to sprinkle this on top)
2 Tbsp chia seeds
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 1/2 Tbsp peanut butter (I used creamy, but crunchy works nicely too!)
1 Tbsp cacao powder
- In a food processor add, dates and figs. Keep pulsing until they start to break down, then add in the dried coconut and pulse to mix together.
- Add in the almonds, walnuts, coconut oil, and peanut butter and pulse to combine.
- Transfer to a mixing bowl, and add in the chia seeds and cacao powder
- If you don’t have toasted coconut, just sprinkle your dried coconut on a tray and toast in your oven or toaster oven (make sure to watch it so that it doesn’t burn)
- Line a glass dish with plastic wrap and press mixture into the dish with a spatula or another piece of plastic wrap
- Sprinkle the toasted coconut on top and lightly press it into the mixture to stick
- Refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours or overnight at best
- Later, cut into rectangles or whatever size you to eat
- Keep refrigerated for up to 1 month or store in a cool place in an air-tight container for a week
Once it’s cut up, I like to wrap each piece individually in a plastic wrap and store them all in the fridge inside a container. I love how there are bits of coconut, almonds, and walnuts all throughout the raw bar. If you aren’t a fan of having to chew your bars a lot, just pulse the mixture until it’s completely smooth.
These are great on the go or if you are doing a little work on your computer at home. Sometimes when I’m feeling peckish between lunch and dinner, I’ll snack on one of these to keep me going until dinner time. And I love bringing these to work because they aren’t messy to eat and in 3-4 bites I know I’ll be full of energy for the next couple hours. Try these and let me know what you think!
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Every day, Lai day! Create some magic in your kitchen!