I know this post is coming after Valentine’s Day but it’s never too soon to start planning for next year! Hahaha It’s way too early to start planning for next year. But the great thing about this recipe is that you can use it for any holiday!
Every holiday in North America seems to be focused on unhealthy food
Valentine’s Day is no exception to this rule. After we’ve gorged ourselves on unhealthy food & drink for Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Years, we finally get a month of starting over fresh in January. Six weeks after starting (or breaking) our New Year’s Resolutions, it seems that the holidays hit us hard again with Valentine’s Day. This day of love has been so commercialized it seems that if we don’t eat chocolate on this day then we are unlovable and we don’t deserve any happiness (maybe a little dramatic). It seems that whether you’re single or in a committed relationship, the only way to find or show love is through candy.
I’m a fan of chocolate, don’t get me wrong.
But I think we can all agree that eating a whole box of chocolates in one sitting is going a bit overboard. This year, I decided on NO chocolate (gasp!) and I wanted to still find an easy way to show my loved ones that I truly care. Instead of making cupcakes, cookies, or some other form of useless calories, I went with 5-ingredient granola bars. They are super simple to make and loaded with nutrients like good carbs, protein & good fats. They are also really filling and made for a perfect mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack. I gave them to my personal training clients as well in hopes of helping them avoid the office cupcakes.
The best thing about these (besides being super simple & nutritious) is you can cut them into whatever shapes you want with a cookie cutter. You make them in an 8×8 pan and then just chop them up. I used a heart shaped cookie cutter for Valentine’s Day but you could easily make these for St. Paddy’s Day, Christmas, etc. It’s also a great thing to make on a Sunday and eat them throughout the week. They store really well. I hope you enjoy!
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1 cup dates
¼ cup honey or agave syrup
¼ cup creamy natural peanut butter or almond butter
1 cup roasted unsalted almonds, loosely chopped
1 ½ cups rolled oats (gluten free for GF eaters)
optional ingredients: dried fruit, vanilla, banana chips, chocolate chips
- Process dates in a food processor until small bits remain (about 1 minute). It should form a “dough like” consistency (mine rolled into a ball).
- Optional step: Toast your oats in a 350 degree oven for 15-ish minutes or until slightly golden brown. Otherwise, leave them raw.
- Place oats, almonds and dates in a bowl and set aside.
- Warm honey & peanut butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir and pout over oat mixture and then mix, breaking up the dates to disperse throughout.
- Once thoroughly mixed, transfer to an 8×8 dish or other small pan with plastic wrap or parchment paper so they lift out easily.
- Press down until uniformly flattened. Cover with parchment paper or plastic wrap and let set in fridge or freezer for 15-20 minutes to harden.
- Remove bars from pan and chop into 10 even bars or cut into desired shape. Store in an airtight container for up to a few days. I keep mind in the fridge to keep them extra fresh but it isn’t necessary.
Serving Size: 1 bar
217 Calories; 8g Fat; 1g Saturated Fat; 31g Carbs; 19g Sugar; 4g Fiber; 6g Protein
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 15 mins