The beauty of making your own snack bars is that you can control all of the ingredients that go into them. Many of the commercially available protein and energy bars have very high amounts of sugar. While they are marketed as health foods, they are no better than any candy bar. For that reason, I find it worth-while to make my own.
2 cups of old-fashioned oats
1 cup of chia seeds
1 cup of raw pumpkin seeds (shelled)
1 cup of raw Sunflower kernals
1 cup of dried cranberries
4 tbsp of coconut oil
1/3 cup of 100% maple syrup (Grade A)
1/3 cup of almond butter ( I recommend Barney Butter with no sugar added)
Combine the oats, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower kernals.
Spread mixture onto a cookie sheet and roast for 15 minutes in an oven that has been pre heated to 350 F.
Place the coconut oil, almond butter and syrup in a small pot. Heat and stir constantly over medium heat until all ingredients are melted and well mixed. Pour over the roasted oat and seed mixture, add dried cranberries. Mix all ingredients until well coated.
Pack ingredients into a 9-inch X 9-inch or similarly sized pan. Refrigerate 2-3 hours until they are set. Cut into 16 bars and serve. Bars will keep for several weeks in an airtight container.
Fun facts about seeds and why you should eat them:
Chia seeds: contain more calcium than a serving of milk. They also contain high amounts of antioxidants, fiber, iron, and omega 3 fatty acids which fight inflammation and raise HDL (“good cholesterol”).
Pumpkin seeds: contain several minerals which are important for thousands of chemical reactions in your body including, magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, manganese and phosphorus. They are also high in vitamin K which is important for blood clotting and bone health.
Sunflower kernals: contain several minerals and vitamins that are needed for thousands of chemical reactions in the body that support metabolism and the immune system function. These vitamins and minerals include selenium (good for thyroid health), iron, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, manganese, copper, vitamin B6, vitamin E, niacin, and zinc.