Homemade Chocolate Protein Bars

photo“Let food be thy medicine.” – Hippocrates
Ever find yourself post-workout, needing to refuel but not having anything of quality at hand? Of course you don’t want to waste your hard training by eating a snack that’s quick but of poor quality. Proper nutrition should replenish expended energy, repair muscle tissue and promote overall healing and metabolism.
Prepare these nutrient rich homemade protein bars ahead of time to avoid running on empty or getting stuck making poor choices in haste. Being prepared is the key to eating well consistently.
I’ll cover the health benefits of the main ‘superfood’ ingredients in these bars to explain why they are so awesome.
Coconut – this recipe calls for both coconut oil and shredded unsweetened coconut. Where to begin…… coconut contains a unique medium chain triglyceride and fatty acid combination which metabolizes differently than other fats so it actually promotes fat burning and has been linked to improving mental alertness and brain function. Coconut is also anti-bacterial and anti-viral so it supports immunity.
Almonds – high in protein and vitamin E to aid muscle repair but also high in calcium and phosphorous to support bones and teeth. This little nut contains healthy fat which actually accelerates weight loss and helps to suppress appetite. Almonds nourish the nervous system and alkalize the body.
Dates – this naturally sweet ingredient is high in fiber, vitamin A, iron, potassium and calcium. It also helps to lower LDL cholesterol similar to the next ingredient.
Sunflower seeds – contain plenty of vitamin E to combat inflammation and promote cardiovascular health which reduces risk of heart attack. There are plenty of  antioxidants in this little seed and studies have shown its ingestion actually helps to inhibit cancer cell growth. Also calms nerves.
Cocoa – another heart healthy cholesterol reducing super food that increases blood vessel health and reduces blood pressure. This yummy ingredient not only adds comfort and great taste, it regulates blood sugar which prevents diabetes and even helps to elevate mood.
You should feel good about the foods you eat and you can be confident when devouring this nutritious snack that you are doing your body plenty of good.
Big props to my Mom for the recipe, although I’ve made a few tweaks from the original.
l c. pitted dates
1/2 c. unsweetened almond milk
1/4 c. coconut oil
1 c. almond butter
1/2 c. cocoa
2/3 c. shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 c. dried cranberries
1/2 c.sunflower seeds
1/4 c. chia seeds (optional)
1/8 c. maple syrup
3/4 c. protein powder
Process dates with almond milk, add coconut oil.
Add almond butter and mix well. Transfer to mixing bowl and
add cocoa, protein powder,coconut, cranberries, seeds, etc.
Mix in maple syrup.
Spread into cake pan. Freeze then cut into bars, individually wrap and return to freezer. Keep frozen until ready to eat. Bars will soften if left at room temperature so best to eat right away.
Enjoy!

Namaste,
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