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Homemade Protein Bars

IMG_1516Dr. Marsha Hamilton

I have been trying out various recipes on my quest to find a perfect, or at least a better, protein bar. There has been a steady increase of pretty good options on the market, but it hasn’t deterred me from creating my own. My goals were simple: it had to be easy on my stomach, free of my (numerous) food allergies, taste good enough to eat when your exhausted from moving all day, have a good balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats for endurance activities and pack well. Since I am unable to eat eggs, getting things to stick together has been challenging, and I quickly became frustrated with melted coconut oil all over my hands, face and backpack. So far, this version has been working out well, fueling my body and mind, and those pieces that I didn’t eat even survived the day in my pocket. I use flax seeds instead of chia seeds, as the chia tends to stick in my teeth creating a small, yet persistent distraction.

The recipe is below, feel free to mix it up but know that you may need to adjust the coconut flour to accommodate a dryer or oilier nut/seed butter.

1 cup roasted almonds
1 cup roasted walnuts (or two cups total of roasted nuts/seeds)
1/2 cup total: ground flax seeds, chia seeds, or hemp seeds (or a mixture of all three)
1/2 cup total: raisins, currants, dried dates, figs
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup nut or seed butter (almond, sunflower, cashew or hazelnut butter)
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. sea salt
3 Tbsp. Honey
¼ cup coconut flour
* Optional 4 ounces dark chocolate
1 tbsp almond, hemp, or coconut milk.

– Preheat your oven to 355’ F.
– Place the nuts, seeds and shredded coconut into food processor and process until coarsely ground.
– In a saucepan, melt the coconut oil, nut/seed butter and stir in the honey and vanilla.
– Add the melted mixture to the food processor, working with a few pulses until it forms a coarse paste.
– Add the coconut flour and pulse until well mixed.
– Spoon the mixture into an 8 x 8 inch baking dish and pack down firmly.
– Bake for 10-15 minutes. Watch edges for browning to reduce chances of over baking.
– If you want to have a chocolate topping, melt the chocolate and milk alternative over low heat, stirring frequently.
– When melted, spread over the bars and place in the refrigerator until the chocolate hardens.
– Cut into bars; wrap individual bars in freezer paper, wax paper or just throw in a ziplock. Store in a cool, dry area, or freeze.