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Gluten Free Chocolate Oat Bars

What do you reach for when craving a snack?

I’m sure most of us crave something sugary, or salty during that 3pm crash. If you haven’t nourished yourself all day with the right amounts of nutrients, and your on your second pot of coffee by 3pm; there’s a good chance sugar and salt are on your mind!

I’ve been there… we’ve all been there, and it’s time to get outta there!

Fruits, nuts, seeds, a protein shake; these are all great snacks to have mid day. I always encourage my clients to reach for a whole food option when it comes to snacking. No prepackaged special K bar is good in my books. And to think, as a teenager I used to eat those! My I’ve come a long way 😉

These bars are just what you need for that afternoon fix. In fact, they are full of nutrients and goodness, that they would be great along side a bowl of fruit in the morning for your kids, before sending them off to school. I mean… don’t you think it’s time to ditch the pop tarts?!

So let’s get to it…

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Gluten Free Chocolate Oat Bars
(recipe adapted from Joyous Health Book)

Ingredients:

2 and 1/2 cups wheat free rolled oats ( I use Bob’s Red Mill)
1 cup chocolate whey protein powder (I use Progressive Organic Whey)
2 tbsp raw cacao powder
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup chocolate chips (optional, but great for extra sweetness for kids! I like Enjoy Life chocolate chips)
1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts
1/4 cup coconut sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground vanilla bean
1 cup raw almond butter
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup almond or coconut milk
2 tbsp real maple syrup

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a large baking dish with coconut oil.
In a large bowl, combine oats, protein powder, sesame seeds, coconut, chocolate chips, walnuts, sugar, cinnamon and ground vanilla; mix well. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt almond butter and coconut oil together. Add to dry ingredients and quickly stir. Then add almond milk and maple syrup and mix well. Stir until well combined. Pour batter into prepared baking dish and press down evenly with hands. Bake for approximately 15 minutes. Remove from oven, keep oven on, and let batter cool slightly for about 10 minutes. Then cut into desired pieces and place on a cookie sheet. Cutting the batter into bars may get crumbly. Be careful when transferring them to a cookie sheet. Transfer back to oven and bake for another 12 minutes, until edges of bars start to crisp up.

These bars are amazing as is, or you can crumble them like granola and serve over your favourite sheeps yogurt or with some homemade almond milk.

Happy Baking 🙂

To Your AWESOME Health & Abundance,
Samantha xoxo

 

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Gluten Free Vanilla Pumpkin Protein Bars

The days of reaching for an afternoon sweet treat, loaded with unhealthy fat and sugar are long over! In my high school days I considered a special K bar to be ‘healthy.’ I mean, only 110 calories, how could I go wrong? Oh boy was I wrong! Grabbing one of those chemically manufactured nutrient less bars only spiked my blood sugar and made me a little loopy at 3pm. Not a pretty sight when your a hormone ranging 16 year old! Now, I reach for real food. Like a salad, or fresh fruit with raw almond butter, or a green veggie juice; organic, fresh and homemade! But what about the calories? What about them? I’m eating REAL ORGANIC WHOLE FOODS, calories got nothing on me 😉

A few weeks ago I came across these pumpkin bars in Oxygen magazine. Being the savvy nutritionist that I am, I decided to change up a few ingredients and turn these bars into a powerhouse nutrient dense afternoon goodie that will have your tummy saying thank you! Also, my sweet man was heading off to a snowboarding trip and I couldn’t resist baking up something full of goodness to fuel his long flight. He called me once he arrived and told me his friend loved my bars! I was jumping for joy when I heard that 🙂

IMG_3689Why are these bars a powerhouse? They contain antioxidant rich pumpkin! Pumpkin is loaded carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, all of which help to protect your eyes and prevent the formation of cataracts. Pumpkin also contains high amounts of vitamin A and C, both of which help keep your skin supple and improve immunity. You’ll notice this recipe also contains pumpkin seeds. These little green gems contains 7 grams of protein per 1 ounce serving, plus they are high in zinc which keeps your immunity strong! Let’s not forget the essential fatty acid content of these little seeds – great for inflammatory issues, cancer prevention and heart health.

So without further adieu…..

Vanilla Pumpkin Protein Bars!

Ingredients:

3 scoops New Zealand vanilla whey protein powder (I’m sure vanilla brown rice protein would work too!)
1 1/2 cups wheat free rolled oats
1/4 cup dried cherries

1/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
3 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup egg whites
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp ground vanilla bean
1-2 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp raw honey
2 packets stevia (optional – if you prefer a little added sweetness)
1 tbsp hemp seeds (for topping)

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Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400.

2. Mix all ingredients together, except hemp seeds, in a large bowl and mix until thoroughly combined.

3. Lightly oil an 8×8 inch baking dish with coconut oil or line with parchment paper.

4. Press ingredients evenly into dish.

5. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

6. Remove from oven and let cool completely before cutting. Sprinkle with hemp seeds while still warm.

Enjoy!

Happy Baking!
Health & Abundance,
Samantha 🙂

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