I'm posting this recipe because all too often, we just need something quick and nourishing to eat. Sweet, too. Did I mention we need something sweet? I originally wanted to have a quick snack that I could pack for Georgia in her diaper bag, as I'm trying to avoid the sugar-coated, highly refined foods that are all too often considered snack food. I've had a few people ask me about whole-foods snacks for kiddos, and thus far (I'm only a year in remember…) we've found that these snack options work great for G-baby on the go: – Dried fruit (homemade) cut into little pieces – Raw cheese, cut into little bite-size squares – Cucumber, skin removed, cut into bite-size pieces – Cherry tomatoes, quartered – Grapes, quartered – Soaked whole wheat bread or soaked waffles, torn into little pieces – Soaked & cooked beans (she loves these!) – Bananas, cut into pieces – …and introducing….homemade protein bars! I made these last week and we've all been enjoying them for the past few days (especially G baby…it's like dessert!). They also serve as a perfect snack in Stuart's lunches – quick, easy, & full of goodness. These took me approximately ten minutes to make – next time, I may even double it so we can enjoy them for even longer! Plus, it would save me dishes. Aren't I efficient?!
Homemade Protein Bars You will need: – 2 cups raw almonds (soaked & dehydrated is best) – 1/2 cup ground flax seed – 1/2 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened) – 1/2 cup almond butter or peanut butter (watch those added ingredients!) – 1/2 cup coconut oil or a melted high-quality butter – 1/4 cup raw honey or rapadura – 1 tablespoon vanilla extract – 2-4 tablespoons cocoa powder or carob powder OR 1 cup dark chocolate chips, melted
Step One: In your food processor, mix together the almonds, salt, ground flax seed, coconut, and peanut butter or almond butter. Pulse, pulse, pulse until just combined.
Step Two: Mix together the coconut oil or butter and vanilla together in a saucepan and gently melt. Then, pour this into the almond mixture…Pulse, pulse, pulse a few times to get it all mixed.
Step Three: Add in your honey or rapadura. If you use honey, the bars will be a little more gooey – though you could increase the amount of almonds & flax slightly to compensate for this. Feel free to decrease the amount of sweetener to your personal taste preferences. Pulse a few more times. Step Four: Pour the almond mixture into a greased baking pan, smooshing it down with the back of a spoon.
Step Five: After the mixture is spread evenly, sprinkle the top of the bars with either cocoa powder, carob powder, or smear the top with melted dark chocolate chips. Mmmm. Step Six: Refrigerate the bars for thirty minutes or so to help them set up. Then, cut them to the desired size and enjoy!
Next time I make these, I might even try shaping them into little individual bars on a cookie sheet! Or maybe I'll use a cookie cutter and shape them into hearts! Or clovers! Or rainbows! Ok. I probably won't do that. But what I will do is gladly eat these bars. They are rich in healthy fats and downright delicious. Just my style. Give 'em a try and let me know what you think! As usual, that's an order, not an option. And Amen.
For other great meal ideas, no matter what your dietary restrictions, check out the meal planning service I use: Real Plans.