A (Yummy but Healthy) Recipe for Breaking A Bar Habit

A good part of my diet lately consists of store-bought bars. As I have a major sweet tooth, am often in a hurry, and usually am trying to make some semblance of a healthy choice, bars are my go-to breakfast, snack, and dessert. I eat up to three a day:  Luna, Lara, Kashi, Zone—whatever I have on hand or whatever is in stock at the gas station on my way to work.

In saying I want to break away from bars, I realize that they aren’t really that bad—most of the ones I eat contain natural ingredients and a good amount of protein and fiber. However, in reflecting lately on what is healthy eating and the fact that I often spend over $20 per week on my bar habit, I figured I could maybe make some better choices…but what?

Well, I guess, my breakfast bar (my new favorite Luna bar—Chocolate Dipped Coconut—say my name! http://lunabar.com/products/bars/chocolate_dipped_coconut/) could be replaced with a hard-boiled egg and a banana, my pre-lunch snack bar (more Luna—this time Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough: http://lunabar.com/products/protein/cookie_dough/) could be replaced with trail mix or a couple string cheeses, and my post-lunch dessert mid-afternoon slump bar (moving into the Zone with dark chocolate strawberry: http://zoneperfect.com/products/ZonePerfect-Dark-Chocolate-Strawberry) could be replaced with an apple with peanut butter. But, let’s be honest: I understand my options, people. And, there are days I go for the real food—I bring yogurt, fruit, cheese, and nuts to work with good intentions. I just…like…bars, especially chocolate covered ones! When they’re handy, that’s what I eat.

But, instead of continuing to justify my habit, tonight, after I put baby to bed, I decided to explore other options—to make my own bar. I wanted something with protein, fat, and fiber to keep me full, but with chocolate coating on the outside to keep things yummy. After searching online for about 30 minutes, when nothing really was jumping out at me, I made up my mind to do a little experimenting. Fortunately, things worked out! Here’s what happened:

(Healthy!) Ingredients:

I forgot the eggs in the picture but not in the mixture!

1 cup sliced almonds

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup pecans

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

3 eggs

1/3 cup almond butter

1/2 cup unsweetened dried blueberries

Canola oil cooking spray

3 cups (1.5 bags) of chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli 60% Bittersweet Baking Chips)

(Pretty simple!) Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Ground nuts (including coconut) in food processor until fine.
  3. In medium bowl, combine nuts with eggs and almond butter until a well mixed batter.
  4. Stir in blueberries.
  5. Spray 8” x 8” baking pan with canola oil cooking spray.
  6. Mash mixture into pan.
  7. Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes.
  8. Cool by either refrigerating overnight or putting in the freezer for an hour. (The goal is to get them nice and hard and cold so they don’t fall apart when you cover them with melted chocolate.)

    before the chocolate...

  9. Cut into bars. (I cut into 40 mini-bars. That’s one thing I’ve always disliked about store-bought bars—they all are roughly the same size, which of course I always finish, even if all I want is a taste of something sweet. With my own bars, I went with smaller so I have the option of stopping there.)
  10. Melt 1/2 of chocolate in microwave safe bowl (I do 30 seconds, stir with a fork, 30 more seconds, stir with a fork, and then a final 15 seconds.)
  11. Coat bars by dropping into bowl of chocolate and flipping with fork until covered.
  12. Place chocolate coated bars on wax paper until hardened. (Note: do not refrigerate bars after they are covered with chocolate—I did this with a few and the chocolate separated and turned into a weird texture. Room temperature—70 degrees at my house—hardened the rest just fine.)
  13. (Repeat steps 9 through 11 with second half of the chocolate)
  14. Eat now or wrap each bar in foil and take with you wherever you go!

I imagine you could get creative with this and add spices, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, or substitute different types of nuts or dried fruit….but these ingredients are what I had on hand. Please try this out and let me know what you think!

Oh, and in case you’re counting…Nutrition info:

Bite-size bar (1/40th of the batch): 128 calories, 10 grams fat, 3 grams protein, 2 grams fiber, 6 grams sugar.

And, one more thing, these taste great with coconut coffee! (That is, if you’re the kind of person who likes flavored coffee—I’m a HUGE fan!)

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Posted on April 21, 2011, in Nutrition & Recipes and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I have a recipe for breakfast bars from Nigella Lawson, if you want it! It’s also got coconut, dried fruit, oats and lots of nuts, so I tell myself that that makes up for the sugar in the condensed milk. No chocolate, so maybe a good trade off? They keep really well, too! Let me know if you want it, and I’ll copy it down for you!

  2. Thanks, Anne-Marie! I saw some recipes like that online– I was going for something without any added sugar except the chocolate…which unfortunately for me, I can’t go without!

  3. these bars were SO good, and I love the idea of adding protein powder to them. Thanks for sharing the other day! I’m excited to get my food processor so I can whip some up

  1. Pingback: Killing two birds with one ball: Two gross stories and a healthy recipe « On Becoming Mommy

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