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Have you been to the energy bar section of the grocery store lately? There are literally hundreds to choose from, and many contain ingredients that we don’t necessarily want to eat (or worse – can’t pronounce!). While a few undesirable components won’t kill us, things like ‘natural flavors’ and ‘citric acid’ aren’t whole food items we’d keep in the pantry. We want to keep our food as simple and as close to nature as possible so that our bodies can use our energy reserves for regeneration rather than prolonged digestion.

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Usually, energy bars are more of a grab-and-go ‘fast food”, but it doesn’t have to be this way! Instead of spending $2.29 on one serving (that’s been sitting in a package for a while), you can make a whole batch of fresh bars yourself, right at home. This will save you money and cut down on the plastic waste that packaged products tend to accumulate. Plus, you’re guaranteed to love these recipes!

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The best way to get the most bang for your buck when making these is to shop in the bulk dry goods section of your local natural market. If you bring your own mason jars, they’ll often give you a discount for using your own packaging. You can fill up your jars with items like nuts, figs, coconut, etc. and store them in your cabinet so that you can make several batches throughout the month. Enjoy!

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    Recipe: Fig & Prune PistachiOat Bars
Adapted from: Bon Appetit

Benefits: Naturally high in fiber, figs and prunes provide us with a feeling of fullness and keep our bowels moving – an action that is essential to overall health and mood. Figs also contain prebiotics, which feed the pre-existing good bacteria in the gut. Good bacteria has been shown to increase activity within the sensory cortex regions of the brain, along with tons of other incredible feats (source).

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Ingredients:

– 2 tablespoons coconut oil
– 1½ cups rolled oats
– 3 tbsp + 1 cup pistachios
– 1/4 tsp vanilla bean powder
– 1 cup chopped dried figs
– 1 cup chopped prunes
– ½ tsp orange zest
– 1 tbsp fresh orange juice
– 1 tsp sea salt
– pinch of cinnamon (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 200°. Line an 8×8 baking tray with parchment paper (make sure that the paper has a little overhang on the sides). Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the oats to the pan and cook, stirring frequently until they’re golden brown. Pop them on a plate in the freezer to chill.

While the oats are cooling, grind 3 tbsp. pistachios in a food processor until finely ground and set aside.

Food process vanilla bean, figs, prunes, salt, 1/2 cup pistachios, orange zest, orange juice, and 2 tbsp. filtered water until smooth. Transfer your smooth mixture to a mixing bowl. Coarsely chop the remaining (1/2 cup) pistachios and add to the mixture along with the oats. Mix until combined. Wet your hands (so that the mixture doesn’t stick) and press it into the baking pan. Sprinkle with the ground pistachios that you set aside, and bake for 25 minutes. This recipe makes 12 bars and can be stored for 2 weeks in an airtight container.

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Recipe: Coconut Date Bars
Adapted from: Bon Appetit

Benefits: Did you know that dates contain edible nicotine?! This isn’t a bad thing – the small amount of naturally occurring nicotine in fruits and vegetables (dates, peppers, tomatoes and potatoes) has been found to help prevent Parkinson’s Disease (source).

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Ingredients:

– 2 cups pitted dates
– ¾ cup raw cacao powder
– 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut or coconut chips
– 1 tbsp honey
– 1 tsp sea salt

Directions:

No oven preheating needed! Line an 8×8 baking tray with parchment paper. Process dates, cacao powder, ¾ cup coconut, honey, salt, and 2 tbsp. water in a food processor until smooth (you’ll have to scrape down the sides a few times). Press mixture firmly into prepared pan.

Process the remaining coconut in a food processor or coffee grinder until fine. Scatter the coconut over the top of the bars and press it in until it’s adhered. Chill in the fridge until firm. This recipe makes 12 bars and can be stored for 2 weeks in an airtight container.

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Recipe: Flaxseed Sesame Bars
Adapted from: Bon Appetit

Did You Know?: King Charlemagne of the 8th century believed so strongly in the health benefits of flaxseed that he demanded his loyal subjects eat the seeds and passed laws to make sure of it. Flaxseed is thought to prevent the growth of cancerous cells because its omega-3 fatty acids disrupt malignant cells from clinging onto other body cells (source).

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Ingredients:

– 1½ cups cashews
– 6 tbsp sesame seeds
– 5 tbsp flaxseed
– ¼ cup oat bran
– ¾ teaspoon sea salt
– ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
– ½ cup grade b maple syrup
– 1 tbsp coconut oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper, making sure to leave overhang on all sides. Toast the cashews, sesame seeds, and flaxseed in separate areas on a different baking sheet until golden brown (10–12 minutes). Let them cool while you process the main mixture (directions below). Set aside 2 tbsp sesame seeds and 1 tbsp flaxseed after they toast.

Process cashews and remaining seeds with oat bran, salt, and cardamom in a food processor until finely chopped. Place in a mixing bowl.

Bring the maple syrup and coconut oil up to a boil in a small saucepan. Once boiling, cook them for another minute while stirring. Pour the maple syrup mixture over your cashew mixture and stir to coat.

Press mixture firmly into prepared pan with wet hands (since it will be sticky). Top with the seeds you set aside and press to adhere. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. This recipe makes 12 bars and can be stored for 2 weeks in an airtight container.


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