Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Homemade Energy Bars *Allergen-free*

I am always trying out different sources of nutrition for workout mornings, but, the options at the grocery store are slim when you have food intolerances.  My favorite bars are Zing, but they are pretty pricy.  I have been eating these for the past two months, but decided it was time to try something new.  I also wanted something with a little more protein without sacrificing the flavor.  I think I succeeded!

Keeping in mind this will vary depending on the size of your bars (I cut 18 bars out of one batch) here's the nutritional breakdown per bar according to
Calories: 228
Carbs: 28
Fat: 8
Protein: 10
Sodium: 32
Sugar: 9

My bars have the same amount of protein as my favorite Zing bar.  A little less fat, almost the same calories, and less sugar.  You could also omit the chocolate topping for fewer calories, sugar, and carbs.  But what's the fun in that?!  Now I just have to figure out how much an individual bar actually do I do this?  Lol.  Whatever it is, I am certain it is far less than what I pay at the health food store.  And I had all the ingredients on hand.  

I will say that these require a bit of elbow grease.  In fact, I could have used a protein bar before making these, ha!  The batter is really sticky and thick, and I ended up giving up on my wooden spoon and diving in with both hands.  

*I have to state my allergy disclaimer here - I made these with almond butter and almonds for myself.  However, these could easily be substituted for any other nut or sunflower seed/butter, and if I were making them for my kids, I would do that (except they won't eat sunflower butter, so it's a lost cause). The quantities would be the same, and the nutritional info I provided is for the allergen-free bars.  Because I claim to be an allergen-free blog, I will provide the allergen-free recipe.  Feel free to adapt as you see fit (and let me know how you like them!).

 Homemade Energy Bars
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
1/4 cup sunflower seeds*
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup sunflower butter*
1/2 cup flaxmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt

Chocolate Topping:
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon agave nectar

1.  Place uncooked quinoa and oats in a blender until they have formed a flour.  This will take several minutes.
2.  Add sunflower seeds and blend for another 1-2 minutes.  
3.  Transfer to a large bowl and add maple syrup, sunflower butter, flaxseed, and salt.  
4.  Mix with a wooden spoon if you wish, but preferably with your hands.
5.  Press into a 9x13 dish lined with parchment paper.  Press down evenly with your hands.  Set aside.
6.  In a saucepan, melt coconut oil over medium heat.
7.  Add cocoa powder, vanilla, and agave.  Stir thoroughly.
8.  Pour over bars and spread evenly with a spatula.
9.  Refrigerate for an hour or more until hard.
10.  Remove from pan and cut into bars.

These are pretty good.  The quinoa is a great source of nutrients, however it does give that bitter taste that many don't care for.  I don't mind it, myself.  I may add a little cinnamon or chocolate chips next time.  I plan on keeping these in the fridge for about a week, freezer for about a month (could be longer, but I'll eat them before then!).

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