When I first started this healthy living journey, I had a few struggles along the way. One of my biggest hurdles was giving up my beloved “breakfast bars” that were anything but nourishing. I was starting my mornings off with a bar of many different kinds of added sugars and about twenty other ingredients you would not find in a granola bar had you made it yourself. I finally beat the store bought bar but for some reason until recently; I have not yet replaced it with a healthy homemade version of my own. I loved the convenience of granola bars. I have already confessed to you guys that I’m far from a morning person. I’m the type to lie in bed minutes past the time that I should and due to that daily mishap, every morning is a shit show. What a girl like me needs in the morning is quick and easy, but healthy of course. This is why I generally have a smoothie in the morning. If nothing is ready and made, what is quicker than throwing produce in a blender with some liquid and hitting that green go button? This has become almost my only consistent ritual in the morning (aside from taking forever to wake up) and I have now, fallen in love with smoothies. You can check out my favourite morning blends [here].
Even though I have surpassed shoving a bar down my throat (as crumbs fall into my hair and down my non existant cleavage) as I drive to work in the morning, it doesn’t mean the convenience of a granola bar has escaped my wants and needs. A good old homemade granola bar fits into everyone’s life. They make a fabulous snack full of nutrient dense ingredients which also make them ideal for those mid-morning or afternoon slumps or even before or after a workout. The granola bar has been the go-to snack for both adults and children for decades. The bad news is, we have been mistakenly “fuelling” ourselves with empty calories. The good news is I’m here to share a recipe that will give you energy and health provided by nature alone. Enjoy the recipe my loves, and be sure to refer to the end of the recipe where I share modifications to the ingredients with the asterisks beside them.
Chocolate Chip Energy Bars
- ½ cup dates soaked in water for 10 minutes
- 2.5 cups rolled oats
- ½-3/4 cup dark chocolate chips (I used dairy free Enjoy Life chips)
- ½ cup nuts and seeds of your choice* (I used ¼ cup sunflower seeds and ¼ cup crushed pecans)
- 1/3 cup chickpea flour**
- ¼ cup ground flax
- 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
- ½ tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. sea salt
- ¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ¼ cup all natural almond butter***
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
- 2 Tbsp. raw honey (or coconut nectar for a vegan recipe)
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- In a food processor, pulse your soaked dates until they are finely broken down.
- In a large bowl, combine the pulsed dates with all the dry ingredients (oats, chocolate chips, nuts and seeds, flour, flax, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt) and mix.
- In a separate bowl, mix together all the remaining wet ingredients until thoroughly combined.
- Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir together.
- Line a 9x13 inch baking dish with parchment paper and make sure to leave an overhang. This will allow for easy removal of your granola mixture once it's cooled.
- Place the granola mixture in the baking dish and press down firmly creating a flat and even surface across the pan.
- Bake in the oven for approximately 25 minutes or until the granola edges have turned golden brown.
- Remove and let cool before removing and cutting.
- Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut the baked granola into 12 even bars.
- Store in an air tight container and enjoy!
*Play around with different nut and seed combinations to create different taste and textures in your bar. Should you need a nut free snack, use sunflower and pumpkin seeds!
**I used chickpea flour due to its fine texture and extra protein. Quinoa flour would also provide that extra boost of protein but any grain based flour will do here.
***Instead of almond butter you can try any nut or seed butter here. Should you not have any nut or seed butters on hand you can also try pumpkin puree or perhaps even extra applesauce.
What is or was your hardest convenience food that you have given up or are struggling with giving up? I know granola bars might be a strange one considering all the choices out there, but that was my weak spot. What is yours? Maybe I can help :)