Thursday, May 23, 2013

I Wanna Be A Brownie Snack Bar - But I'm Too Healthy

I am always looking for something to snack on during the day.  Ask my coworkers.  When I don’t eat regularly I can get a little grumpy.  Sometimes I bring in a small handful of nuts or a piece of fruit.  But sometimes I want something a little more substantial and that satisfies my sweet tooth.  But it also has to be easy to eat on the go as I usually have meetings all day long.  Protein bars were one of my usual snacks to turn to in these situations but sometimes I get a little nervous when I read the ingredients.

Did you ever think something was healthy for you only to look at the label and realize you don’t know what you are really eating?  There are a few protein bars that I will keep in my desk draw for emergencies but generally I prefer to make my own snacks. 

I love to cook.  But I have little children and I work full time outside of the home so I don’t have all day to play in the kitchen (I say play because I really do love to cook -- the kitchen is my playground).  Therefore, I am always on the hunt for healthy, delicious food to make from scratch that is also quick.  This recipe is all of those things!  I found it on 

Recipe: Snack Bar-O-Matic

Thanks to a date or prune base, these bars are rich in potassium, an electrolyte that is essential for healthy muscle function (including the most important muscle, the heart!). The nuts and seeds provide protein as well as good-for-you monounsaturated fats and/or omega-3 fatty acids. And the high fiber content will help keep you good. Want to really kick up the nutritional wow factor? Add a couple scoops of your favorite Shakeology.

Total Time: 1 hr. 10 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Yield: 12 servings, 1 bar each


1 cup pitted whole dates or prunes for the base
1 cup dried fruit
1 cup nuts and seeds
2 scoops Shakeology (optional)
Optional flair

Choose one or more from each:

1 CUP BINDING FRUIT (these will give your bars the best texture)

Dried apricots
Dried figs
Dried cranberries
Dried blueberries
Dried cherries

Chia seeds
Sunflower seeds
Sesame seeds

1/2 tsp. rum extract
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1–2 oz. dark chocolate chips
2 tsp. grated fresh ginger

I made mine using 1C dates, 1/2C cranberries and 1/2C blueberries, 1/2C pecans, 1/4C ground flax seed, 1/4C sunflower seeds, 1/2tsp vanilla and 2 scoops of chocolate Shakeology.  I felt like it was a little dry so I added 1Tbs of water.  It probably wasn't needed but I just wasn't certain that the ingredients would press together without it.
According to the myfitnesspal recipe calculator it was about 172 calories per serving and about 5 grams of protein.  The calories and exact nutritional count depends upon the ingredients you choose.  Have fun and experiment with what you like….or what you have in the pantry, which is pretty much what I did.
Combine equal parts dates or prunes, dried fruits, nuts, and seeds in the bowl of a food processor. Process for 1 to 2 minutes. Check to make sure all ingredients are breaking down into smaller pieces; scrape sides of bowl as needed. Process 2 to 3 minutes more until ingredients form tiny crumbs that come together into a loose ball.  Turn out the Snack Bar-O-Matic mixture into  an 8″ x 8″ baking dish and press flat.  Cover tightly and refrigerate one hour.
Cut into 12 bars. Store in the refrigerator.

The bars that I made came out great.  I admit, I was a little leery.  But they almost came out like a fudgy brownie.  I think the dried blueberries provided just the right level of sweetness.

I took some to work today and enjoyed it as my midmorning snack.  It hit the spot and held me over until lunch…which was delayed because of a bunch of calls I needed to make.  Good thing it was a satisfying snack because I wasn’t even starving by the time I was able to grab my salad almost 45 minutes after I normally eat lunch.  More importantly is that I was able to avoid temptation for the rest of the afternoon because I felt like I already had something sweet and I wasn’t hungry.

So give these bars a try and let me know how you like them. 

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