These bars are very simlar to Larabars. While I do like the clean eating aspect (and the taste of) the classic Larabar, having one as a snack frequently can really add-up in terms of cost and Calories. They usually run about $1.50 per bar and pack 200 Calories in a small volume. I know there are other homemade Larabar recipes floating around the blog world but I really just tossed the ingredients in my food processor and was happy with my result! Making your own fruit and nut bars at home means they are more cost effective and you can play around with the ingredients. I used almonds and peanuts as a base instead of the cashews. I use cashews in many other vegan recipes (no, I am not a total vegan) and like to keep variety in my diet so that’s why I chose to use other nuts. Plus, the almonds have a slightly healthier fat profile than the cashews.
I haven’t come anywhere near perfecting all the flavors Larabar has to offer, so I still may buy the occasional Key Lime Pie, Cookie Dough or Carrot Cake as a special treat. I got a sample from a nutrition conference a few weeks ago of their newer “uber” bars. They’re very yummy but actually do have added sweetener other than the fruit so I wouldn’t make them a staple in your diet. Now for this simple snack recipe.
Date Nut Bars (GF, V, DF)
Ingredients (see below for beneficial properties of these ingredients):
20 pitted dates / about 130 grams (I use the 365 brand)
1/4 + 1/8 cup raw unsalted almonds / 42 grams (I use trader Joe’s)
1/4 + 1/8 cup unsalted peanuts / 42 grams (I use trader Joe’s)
1 Tablespoon raisins /10 grams* (any organic are fine)
2 turns of a sea salt grinder (about 1/8 tsp)
Wax paper for molding & packaging
*I add the raisins because they aren’t as sticky as
dates and feel they help with the texture.
Add all ingredients to your food processor.
Pulse until all ingredients are pretty finely ground like in this picture.
Next, pour whole mixture onto a large sheet of wax paper. Fold the paper over the mixture and begin to flatten our with your hands. Use a rolling pin to make it nice and smooth. The bars should be about 1/2 – 2/3 inch thick. Once rolled out to desired thickness, flatten out the edges with hands.
Unfold the wax paper and cut the piece in to 6 even bars (the nutrition info below is for 6 bars but you can always cut the mixture into 8 bars so they are even lower in calories per serving).
Separate the bars and cut the large sheet of wax paper into 6 pieces to wrap the bars.
Real Ingredients with Real Benefits:
Almonds are an excellent source of Vitamin E & mono-unsaturated fatty acids, both which many Americans do not get enough of. They are also a great non dairy source of calcium, phosphorus & magnesium. Other nutrients include potassium & fiber and phytochemicals include quercitin and flavonoids.
Peanuts are a good source of most B vitamins, especially niacin. They also provide vitamin E, minerals like copper and selenium, and the phytochemical resveretrol (you may have heard of this because it is in red wine).
Dates, in my opinion, are natures candy! They are a source of natural sugar which can be helpful to athletes before and during exercise when they need a quick absorbing energy source. They provide fiber and minerals like potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and even some calcium.
Raisins are a great source of choline, potassium, magnesium, fiber, and a little bit of iron. They are also a natural sweetener and a great snack option pre-workout.
Salt: YES Americans generally need to cut down on salt. But, if you stop eating so much processed food, meats & cheeses, chances are your intakes will drop drastically. So, when you are eating real, having a tiny bit of salt added to recipes like this just contributes some of the salt that your body actually needs each day for fluid balance, nerve signals and muscle contractions. Athletes – you do need more sodium than the average American. This is especially true when active in hot environments.
Total Fat: 7.5 g
Saturated Fat: 1.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 4.2 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrate: 21 g
Fiber: 3 g
Protein: 4 g
Sodium: 50 mg 2 % Potassium: 260 mg 6 %
Thiamin: 5 % Riboflavin: 8 % Niacin: 12 %
Vitamin B6: 5 % Folate: 5% Vitamin E: 16 %
Calcium: 3 % Iron: 4 %
Zinc: 7 % Magnesium: 14 %
**vitamins & minerals are listed as % daily value; you may need more
than 100% each day if you’re an athlete, have a deficiency disease, or other medical concerns