These no bake bars are super simple to make, taste great and are good for you. Not to mention you'll be saving some dough by making them yourself rather than splurging on those store bought bars. Considering some bars can cost upwards of $3 apiece I'd say you're crazy if you don't give this recipe a try! After I cut them up I like to individually wrap them so that they are easy to grab-and-go when life gets crazy busy. Umm.. seems like that is just about every day now that I have a kiddo!
If you must buy your bars then try to find a bar with as few ingredients as possible. You should be able to pronounce and recognize each of the ingredients listed (soy lecithin, anyone?). Look for bars made with real/whole foods (dates, fruits, nuts, seeds), filling fiber, healthy fats and protein. If you're consuming a bar as a snack then try to look for one with less than 200 calories unless you're doing a significant amount of training (marathon, Ironman, etc.) that requires an increased caloric (and carbohydrates in the form of sugar) intake. You'll also want to pay attention to the amount of sugar in your bar so you don't end up with a sugar high followed by the inevitable crash. How do you decide how much is too much when it comes to sugar? Keep in mind that the American Heart Association recommends women consume no more than 100 calories or 6 teaspoons of sugar per day (men are allowed up to 150 calories or 9 teaspoons per day). While nutrition labels don't list the amount of calories from sugar (typically only grams of sugar are listed) you can easily calculate the amount of calories from sugar by multiplying the grams of sugar by 4 (there are 4 calories per 1 gram of sugar). For instance, if a bar has 15 total grams of sugar that equals 60 total calories from sugar.
I've made these bars with rice syrup before, but I prefer to use raw coconut nectar (found in health foods stores) because it is naturally-sweet, nutrient rich and is lower on the Glycemic index meaning it won't cause as large of a spike in your blood sugar and thus, response from insulin. You can easily swap dried unsweetened cranberries (or other fruits) for the goji berries and/or cacoa nibs. Use this recipe as a starting point and customize it using your favorite nuts, seeds, etc. If you come up with your own tasty creation be sure to come back and share!
Makes 12 servings
1 cup puffed rice cereal
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds (or both)
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 up unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup cacoa nibs
1/4 cup goji berries
1/8 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup raw coconut nectar (or brown rice syrup)
1/3 cup almond butter (or nut butter of choice)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1) Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl and mix to combine.
2) In a separate smaller bowl (microwave safe) add wet ingredients then microwave for 20-30 seconds until warm. Mix well.
3) Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and keep mixing until well incorporated and starting to bind together. Use some muscle! It will look/seem like there isn't enough "wet" ingredient to bind all of the dry, but there is. Just keep mixing!
4) Use olive oil or coconut oil spray to lightly grease a square shallow pan. Press mixture into pan (using greased fingers) and place in refrigerator for 30-60 minutes to bind. Cut into 12 bars. Store in refrigerator.