Get Out of the Bar Scene

The bar scene is out of control. I’m not talking about the kind of bar where you meet for drinks—I’m talking about those innocuous looking little bricks of food that are frequently loaded with sugar, full of artificial ingredients, packed with poor sources of protein (but lots of it!), or all of the above. They’re convenient and usually pretty darn tasty (which is to be expected because many of them are comparable to candy bars), and I’ve certainly been known to grab one on the run. But when we eat them as a habit thinking we’re doing our bodies a favor, we may be consuming extra sugar and calories that we just don’t need.

I think of bars as a treat, and I like to whip up my own versions with lots of nutrition seeds and nuts and very little in the way of sugar and filler. Here’s a speedy, tasty bar that resembles as certain “Kind” of bar you can find in many grocery stores and convenience stores. You can pull together in less than 30 minutes, including 20 minutes in the oven…

My "Kind" of Bar
Feel free to mix and match your favorite raw seeds and nuts to customize this snack!

1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds (28 grams)
1/2 cup raw almonds (56 grams)
1/2 cup raw cashew pieces (56 grams)
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds (28 grams)
1/4 cup pecan pieces (28 grams)
1/4 cup walnut pieces (28 grams)
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (30 grams)
1/4 cup brown rice syrup (you can replace up to half of the brown rice syrup with raw honey)
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
OPTIONAL: 1/4 cup cacao nibs (these are not chocolate chips, but the dried and roasted cacao bean with all those great antioxidants but without the sugar)

• Preheat the oven to 400F. Line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper
• Combine all the dry ingredients
• Slightly warm up the brown rice syrup (mixing it with honey, if you are using it) by popping it in the microwave for 30 seconds or on the stove over very low heat
• Pour the syrup over the dry ingredients and mix it well, and pour the mixture into your baking dish. Press with a spatula or your wet hands to create a single even layer
• Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until nuts are golden and fragrant—don’t let the nuts burn, though.
• Allow to cool for several minutes before transferring the parchment paper-lined bar to a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into bars or irregular clusters when cool. You can store the finished clusters in an airtight container on your counter for about a week and for months in the freezer.