Sunday, February 5, 2012

Natural Energy bars

I am hungry right before my workout, but I don't know what to eat.

My day is so busy, I am rushing from work to the gym and then off to pick up the kids.  What should I eat while dashing between all of this?

Does any of this sound familiar?

There seems to be so many different energy bars, bites, cookies, you name it on the market these days.  And if you read the list of ingredients there are many items that either you can hardly pronounce or they are not really 'food'.  I like to enjoy real food; food that is simple, with names that I can pronounce and food that is created in my kitchen.  Another bonus to making your own energy bars at home is the cost!  Would you rather spend $3 on one energy bar with ingredients that are chemically enhanced or spend $15 and with a great afternoon in the kitchen and get 25 energy bars?!?  Yes, my thoughts exactly.

There are a few different recipes out there for energy bars, each one with its own claim to fame and benefits.  I like to keep it simple, healthy and delicious.  A small energy bite that is low fat, low in processed sugar and high in protein.

Here is my version of an energy bar, bite, cookie or whatever you want to call it.
I like to call them Ella bars and to be seasonally festive I have cut them into heart shapes.  Cute, I know.

Fruit & Nut Ella bars

1 c. chopped, toasted pecans
12 oz (about 2 c.) dates
6 oz (about 1 c.) dried fruit (cherries, cranberries, apricots)
2 T chia seeds
1/3 c. peanut butter (melted)

Using your trusty food processor chop the dates and dried fruits together.  Then add in the toasted pecans and process until the nuts are evenly minced.

Heat peanut butter over medium heat until it is soft and runny.  Add chia seeds to nut and dried fruit mixture and pour in melted peanut butter.  Gently mix all together and press evenly into a pan lined with plastic wrap.

Chill until firm and cut into bars (or shapes).  If you use a cookie cutter to make your shapes, you can roll the leftovers into balls!  Store in a covered container for 1 week, or keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.  You can also wrap each bar individually and freeze for up to 3 months.

Here are a few benefits to these wonderful Fruit & Nut Ella bars;
- great source of protein in the peanut butter & pecans
- healthy antioxidants found in the dried cranberries
- at least 30% of your daily iron requirements in the dried apricots and cherries
- chia seeds are a superfood filled with omega-3s and calcium

Now that I have the perfect snack, it is time to plan a new workout.  Who would have thought that food could inspire a new and exciting workout...?  Around here anything is possible.

That's all for now, see you around in the kitchen.

1 comment:

  1. These are so cute! I've got to try these. I have very few healthy recipes in my repertoire, and this needs to be fixed!