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Energy Bar Bites - Gluten Free, Vegan, & No Added Sugar

Posted Apr 19 2011 6:46pm
When my cousin and I signed up for the Olympic Triathlon a couple of days ago, I asked her what extra I needed to do to prepare for it.  I've done a Sprint Triathlon, and I workout a lot, but for me, an Olympic Triathlon will take about 3 hours of hard exercise. I've never done that much endurance and I wasn't sure how to change my training for it.  She said I needed to focus on my nutrition before, during, and after the workouts.  Basically, she said that I didn't want to be so hungry that I became a raging lunatic at the end of my workout, and I also didn't want to crash on the run.  Why do I listen to my cousin?  Because she'll probably finish the Tri an hour ahead of me, and because she has a ton of experience with endurance sports.

So, if you know anything about me, I don't like a lot of fats in my food, I like my food to be as whole as possible, and I don't like to spend a bunch of money on what I buy.  I know you can buy a wide variety of energy bars, but like I said, I'm cheap and I'd rather make them.  So, I made these tasty little bites.  I thought they'd give me a quick energy boost and they'd be easy to pack in my swim bag, on my bike, or just pop after a long run before I get in the shower and have time to eat a real meal.  Also, in my research, I found that you should eat carbs and protein within 15 minutes of a workout to help repair your muscles.  I am really bad at doing that because I'm usually not hungry.  I figured these bites wouldn't be too filling but they'd give my body a little help in the recovery process.

These bites can be made into 12 bars instead of bites, but usually a bar is too much for me and I don't really want to add 8 grams of fat and 190 calories to my diet.  I already eat enough healthy fats and I didn't want to add a ton more.  I thought I could cut it down some, so I decided to put them in a mini-muffin pan.  You decide what's best for you.  I may have to eat 2 on hard days, but 1 will be good for my shorter training days.  They are also gluten free and vegan.  I found the original recipe on Snack Girl's website and I tweaked to a bit. 

(makes 12 or 24)
1/2 cup nut butter (I used the raw peanut butter with flax seed that you have to stir, but you can use almond butter, cashew butter, etc.  I highly recommend not using Skippy or Jif, the natural kinds have no added sugars, salt, or hydrogenated oils and are so much better for you).
2 bananas, mashed
1/2 cup whole nuts (I used sliced raw almonds and chopped from there)
1 ½ cup total of dried fruits (cherries, cranberries, apricots, raisins, coconut, etc.) (I used cranberries and raisins, try so find dried fruit without added sugar, but it's hard to do).
1 cup rolled oats
1 tsp vanilla (optional)
Pinch cinnamon (optional)
1/4 cup pumpkin or sunflower seeds (optional)(I did not used this but I left it in for an additional option).
Preheat oven to 350 F. In a food processor or with a chopper (that's what I used), coarsely chop nuts and dried fruits. Mix nut butter and bananas until a paste forms. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix. Spoon into lightly greased muffin cups and bake for 15 minutes. Can be stored in refrigerator for 5 days.

This is the nutritional info if you make 12 bars.  My recipe makes 33 bites, so do the math.
For one energy bar (12 in recipe) = 190 calories, 8.4 g fat, 26.7 g carbohydrates, 5.4 g protein, 3.1 g fiber, 52 mg sodium, 5 PointsPlus

They fit in the pal of my hand, good for portion control (something I need help with).

I need a better camera, this is the best picture I could get.

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