I survived another coffee get together today. Every Friday, a group of us ladies meet at someone’s place for coffee and treats and general chit chat. Being raw or even gluten free/sugar free means that I can not have any of the goodies my friends make. Today the host had served an apple pie, a pumpkin pie, and a pumpkin bread. None of which I could taste, but from what I heard my friends saying, they were absolutely delicious. I just consoled myself by repeating 3 more days to go every now and then someone took a bite of pie from their plate. And continued chewing on my strawberries and apple. It did help when my friends noticed that going raw/gluten free was suiting me. I do have kind friends and that gave me the nudge I needed!
It’s not all that bad either. Not since I made these bars to treat myself.
These are raw, vegan, gluten free, sugar free, butter or oil free energy bars! And they are pretty good. Well at least the “raw me” who has been deprived of all things indulgent thinks they are pretty good! If you are into raw energy bars maybe you should try these.
They are super healthy too with chia seeds, sunflower seeds and dates instead of sugar for the sweetness.
Thanks to the raw food diet and the research I did before I decided to try it out, I got to know about chia seeds. Chia actually got its name from the Mayan word for “strength.” Chia seeds are a “super” food because they deliver the maximum amount of nutrients with minimum calories. They have several of the same benefits as the “super seed” flax, but unlike flax seed, you don’t need to grind them to reap the health benefits, saving yourself from cleaning the grinder! Chia seeds provide fiber, omega fatty acids, calcium, antioxidants, protein and so much more! With nearly 11 grams of fiber per ounce, chia seeds deliver 42% of the recommended daily value of fiber in a single serving. Fiber is a driving factor for weight loss and digestion since it slows digestion and makes you feel fuller by soaking up fluid and expanding in your digestive tract.
Ounce for ounce, chia seeds have more omega-3 fatty acids than salmon! It also contains high amounts of omega-6. These fatty acids help in building new cells and regulating various processes of the body, but our bodies cannot make them internally. They also support heart health and beautiful skin, hair and nails. Chia also contains calcium, delivering 18% of your daily value per ounce, which is three times more than skim milk. Thus making it a perfect addition to someone who is on a vegan diet.
You can find chia seeds on amazon.Navitas Naturals Chia Seeds, 16-Ounce Pouches
(I am not being compensated in any way for promoting these seeds, this information is based on my research online and thought I will share it with you all. )
The sweetness in these bars come from the dates and thus you do not have to add any sugar, agave nectar or any other sweetener. True, dates provide more calories than most fruits, but they make a great substitute for processed sweets, to help you stick to a weight-loss routine or your raw diet. Dates, too are loaded with fiber. They are an excellent source of potassium and provide numerous other important vitamins and minerals. Plus, dates are an excellent source of iron.
And what can I say about the raw cacao powder. It has been studied that cacao has more antioxidant flavonoids than any food tested so far, including blueberries, red wine, and black and green teas. In fact, it has up to four times the quantity of antioxidants found in green tea! And these bars not only have raw cacao powder but are topped with nibs as well! Check this article out to know more benefits of raw cacao powder.
Packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and numerous health promoting antioxidants and protein, the pumpkin seeds too lend a hand in making these raw bars super healthy for you!
I did tweak the original recipe a bit and so can you. I used the leftover almond meal I had from the almond milk I made instead of whole almonds. I added some dessicated coconut to the mix, and sprinkled them with pumpkin seeds, nibs and sea salt. I could have shaped them better, but I was rushing with everything so that I could try them asap. That’s why in most of the photos you will see a half eaten bar.
A word of caution: While these bars are great for you and much better than the processed stuff that claims to be 100 calories only, I would still suggest not to go overboard with these bars. Even though you might be tempted to have more when you go raw, limit yourself to one a day. Consider it as a treat for being so committed. They are calorie dense bars. The calories though mostly come from protein and the kind of fat that is good for you. But still, like everything else, excess of even good-for-you-food is not good for you.
RAW BREAKFAST BARS
adapted from here
- 12 medjool dates, pitted
- ½ cup raw almonds (see note above)
- ½ cup raw hazelnuts
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- ¼-1/2 tsp. salt
- sea salt and cocoa nibs for sprinkling on top
- ¼ cup raw cacao powder
- ¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds
- ¼ cup unsweetened dessicated coconut
- In a food processor, pulse the dates until well chopped and once they begin to form a ball.
- Add in the almonds and hazelnuts and pulse until finely chopped with some larger pieces remaining.
- Add the chia seeds, coconut, salt and cacao powder and process until well combined.
- Scrape mixture into medium bowl and, with damp hands, press into a ball.
- Turn ball out onto a piece of parchment paper, cover with a second piece of parchment, and press into a rough rectangle shape, about 1" thick.
- Remove top piece of parchment and cut into 8 equal-sized pieces. Mold each bar into uniform shape. Sprinkle with sea salt, pumpkin seeds and cocoa nibs. Press the nubs and seeds into the bar if necessary.
- Wrap with a rectangle of parchment and tape or tie to seal.