Are you a frequent buyer of Clif, Odwalla or other sugary, processed energy bars? I was too – until just about a week ago. I had so much trouble kicking the habit – they are easy to eat and digest, convenient, satisfy a sweet tooth and seem like a healthy alternative to a cookie or a candy bar. But, a chocolate chip Clif energy bar gives you 23 grams of sugar. Yup, 23 grams – a Snicker’s bar has 27 grams. An Odwalla Chocowalla is better with 16, but what if I told you that you could do even better – much better?
You can whip up your own batch of chocolate energy bars that has fewer carbohydrates and sugar than the processed energy bars on the market, about equal protein and calories and is made with simple ingredients? The whole process of making these bars takes, maybe, 10 minutes – faster than a drive to the store. How about if your kids think they are “brownies?” Unlike some homemade bars, these stay together, you can freeze them and they are just as portable and convenient as the store-bought kinds.
The protein ingredient is black beans, along with almonds and nut butter. Use gluten-free oats and flour to make this a gluten-free, vegan treat that costs far less than 10 prepackaged bars – even when those bars are on sale. Frankly, I don’t know what took me so long to start making them. Don’t you wait any longer either.
Black Bean Energy Bars
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (or ½ cup cooked at home)
¼ cup peanut or almond butter
¼ cup whole, raw almonds
2 Tablespoons agave nectar
¼ cup coconut sugar (use another type of sugar if you prefer)
½ of a medium banana, mashed
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cup oats (I used Coach’s oats, but you could use any old-fashioned or steel cut)
½ cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup flour of choice – I use Bob’s Gluten-Free Baking Flour, but you could use brown rice, spelt, whole wheat, coconut, oat, etc.
½ cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
½ cup water
Grease a 13×9 inch baking pan with coconut oil (or another oil of choice). Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Put all of the ingredients, except for the water, into a food processor.
Process on high until blended and add water as needed to make a thick, gummy batter.
Spread into pan and bake for 15 – 20 minutes. Allow to cool and cut into 10 squares.
Nutrition per bar:
242 calories; 36 grams carbohydrates; 9 grams fat; 8 grams protein; 8 grams sugar