If you're a fan of granola/protein/raw bars, these babies are just the thing for you! Packed with plant-based nutrition and also super satiating (thanks to healthy fats from coconut + cashew butter) these bars are an excellent choice for fuel before/after a workout, as well as for those times where you need to keep hunger at bay or just need a sweet treat.
With a only few simple ingredients, these bars can be whipped up in no time and stack up to be a versatile snack that you can modify to change up the flavor, size, and even texture to always keep your taste buds singing. At the bottom you can find out other ways to dream up your own energy bars!
But before we dive into other variations, let's touch upon one of the key ingredients here that make these bars so delicious and nutritionally sound.
Cashews: filled with a hit of trace minerals, cashews contain 31% of the daily recommended value for copper, along with 23% of manganese, 20% of magnesium, 17% for phosphorus, and 12% of the daily recommended value for vitamin K.
Cool, translation please?
With being a good source of manganese, cashews can help lower the frequency of migraines, improve cognitive function, and may also help lower blood pressure. Which means your heart will thank you later. As most nuts are a good source of copper, eating them aids your body in producing enzymes needed to facilitate the production of energy and important neurotransmitters such as epinephrine, norepinephrine, serotonin, histamine, and dopamine. Magnesium helps with muscle function and aids in bone strength, too!
But aren't cashews high in fat? Shouldn't I be avoiding them?
Don't fear the fat! I always tell my clients this: think about nourishing your body. Fats are a necessary component for us to live. Fats provide lubrication in our body, and helps maintain healthy hair, skin and nails. It's more important about choosing the type of fats (unsaturated, heyo! vs. saturated and trans fats, yuck). And although cashews are relatively high in fat per ounce, they are composed mostly of monounsaturated fat (the kind found in olive oil) that helps lower your total and LDL (the bad kind) cholesterol, while maintaining HDL (the healthy kind) cholesterol.
With our hearts, head, and belly health in mind, let's get to bar-making!
Coconut Cashew Bars
1/2 C. rolled oats (may be GF if you choose)
4 Tbsp cashew butter
2 Tbsp ground flaxseed meal
1 Tbsp raw pumpkin seed
2 tsp maca powder
2 Tbsp maple syrup 2 pitted dates
few Tbsp of unsweetened coconut flakes or desiccated coconut for topping
Optional modifications to change things up: May use 1-2 Tbsp of raw cacao powder to mix to make them chocolatey; sub any other nut butter of choice for cashew butter, sub honey or coconut nectar for maple syrup. Also, you can roll into balls for bite-sized goodness.
Directions: Combine all ingredients except coconut flakes into food processor. Blend on high until a dough forms. Press dough into a loaf pan and even out with a spoon or use your fingers (wash hands first, please!) Sprinkle coconut over the top. Cut into little squares or longer rectangles to make the bar size of choice! Store in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.
*Recipe adapted from Patrick & Carling