One issue when you start the paleo diet is your body starts looking for those “carb” substitutes. I found my substitute in nuts, almonds specifically. Also, the other issue is I want to snack on something that isn’t fruit or veggies sometimes; what do I do… grab a handful of ground beef and chow down?! NO!
I needed a replacement for the pre-paleo “snacks” and carbs my body wanted. I looked to my handy granola bars, but you know what is in granola bars? Everything I can’t eat according to Mr. Paleo. Yeah, go check the ingredients. I’m not kidding…whole grain oats, sugar, canola oil, peanut butter, yellow corn flour, brown sugar syrup, soy flour, and the list goes on–can’t have any of it. Okay, so now I can’t eat even a seemingly “healthy” snack. What the mess?! On top of this dilemma, I was really tired of having almonds and fruit every morning. I needed to find something that would spice up my new paleo lifestyle.
So I booted up handy dandy google, and I found my answer: granola-free granola bars (I gave them this name instead of grain free granola bars because that just doesn’t sound appetizing to me). These are probably the tastiest HEALTHY snack I’ve ever encountered (and my significant other actually agrees too!)
Although I’ve linked to the original recipe (found in above paragraph) and she provided snazzy pictures, here is my adapted recipe for those who may be a little picky and on a budget:
– 2.5 cups assorted nuts and seeds (I used almonds and sunflower seeds. Almonds are the only organic nut I can find so far, and the sunflower seeds didn’t have any added preservatives or sugars.)
– 1 cup dried fruit (In the original, she uses rasins; however, I do not like rasins and most brands have preservatives. The only dried fruit without preservatives or sugar I found was prunes. Also, I cut up a dried fruit strip, which again contains no sugar or preservatives–compliments of the Stretch Island Fruit Co. for about $.59)
– 2 cups shredded coconut (I left this out completely because neither I nor my significant other likes coconut. Plus this is an additional cost.)
– 1/4 cup coconut oil (Pure coconut oil without preservatives, sugar, etc. was easy to find and not very expensive)
-1/2 cup honey (I found reasonably priced organic honey–no preservatives– at Kroger for about $3. Also, most sweeter paleo recipes call for honey too, so you can use it time and time again in your recipes.)
-Splash of vanilla extract (Seems simple enough. I did find PURE organic vanilla extract for the same price as the Kroger brand.)
– 1/2 Teaspoon salt (Most paleo recipes specifically call for sea salt, but I say use what ya got!)
– Generous sprinkle of cinnamon (No explanation here–all spices are okay for paleo people.)
– Some more cinnamon (Yes, do an extra dash for fun! They will taste yummy because of it!)
-Not in the original recipe: I did add a sprinkle of chocolate chips (Enjoy life brand, which are soy free, gluten free, and dairy free).
Roughly chop 1 cup of the nuts and seeds (I did this using the pulse setting in the blender because I don’t have the time/energy to chop a cup of nuts and seed). Place in a bowl.
Use your food processor (I do not own a food processor so once again feel free to use the blender and use the chop/mix setting) to pulse the other 1.5 cups of nuts and seeds into a finer “chop.” Add to the bowl.
Add your fruit. (I also cut up my fruit and threw it in the blender before adding it to the nuts and seeds…just for good measure. I also thought prunes were too big to add to the mix as is.)
Stir in the dried coconut. (Didn’t add this, so stir at your own free will)
In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine oil, honey, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon. Cook until the mixture bubbles, then pour over the fruit/nut mixture. (Super easy–takes all of a minute maybe!)
Stir to combine completely.
Press your mixture into a parchment-lined pan of some sort. Press HARD. (Use a smaller cookie sheet instead of a larger one because you won’t have enough for the entire sheet unless you double the recipe. Also, if you look at the original recipe, she suggests putting parchment paper over the bars as well so your hands won’t be sticky–great idea!)
Cool 2-3 hours, then remove from the pan and cut into bars. (Or put them in the freezer for about 30 minutes and ta-da!! TASTINESS!)
**I did keep my bars in the fridge once they were finished because the prunes have no sugar or preservatives; you have to keep them refrigerated. Also, if you use ingredients without preservatives be sure you eat it pretty quickly because there is nothing in it to PRESERVE it. 🙂 Happy snacking!!