I’ve been following the excellent “Happy Body” diet and exercise protocol for some time, which involves eating every three hours (to optimise metabolism for fat loss) during a 12 hour period:
- 08:00: breakfast
- 11:00: snack
- 14:00: lunch
- 17:00: snack
- 20:00: dinner
So, what to eat for the “snack”? One of the options suggested is a “cereal bar” so, rather than buying these, I’ve adopted a weekly process of making a batch of bars (enough for 16 bars; covering my requirements for 2 daily, with 2 “spares”!). The following recipe is optimised for my calorie requirements in a snack (as a 188cm tall male), so please adjust as you see fit.
The process to create a batch takes around 25 minutes weekly, so I consider it a very good investment of time and effort. I use organic ingredients (where possible), so this makes it relatively expensive. Again, adjust as you see fit for your own requirements.
The end result is a “cereal bar” which is mostly fruit (date). From a taste and texture point of view, the cinnamon and date combination reminds me of Christmas cake (without the icing and marzipan, of course). It’s genuinely tasty, and I’ve only had compliments from friends who have tasted a sample!
- Nutribullet or similar blender (to easily chop up the nuts, primarily, into small enough pieces)
- Chopping board
- Sharp knives
- Weighing scale and small bowl for weighing
- Large bowl for mixing the ingredients
- Wooden spoon
- Baking tray (although no baking required!)
- Greaseproof paper
- Large airtight plastic box for refrigerated storage of the bars
Hence, divided into 16 bars, this results in around 285 calories per bar.
Add dried berries to the bowl
Add vegan protein powder
NB: I keep a box of mixed seeds (flax, sunflower, sesame, chia) and dried goji berries around at all times (also useful when making smoothies).
I blend this a little (around 2 handfuls at a time) in my Nutribullet, although the occasional nut survives whole (which gives some nice texture to the finished product).
Again: I blend this so as to turn into small enough pieces (almost powder), so that it can spread through the whole mix. NB: I usually blend the chocolate and the nuts together, to save a little time and effort.
NB: I decant the organic cinnamon (jar on the right) into the jar on the left, as the left jar has pepperpot-type holes to control the portion of each “shake”.
Add a small glass of water
Add chopped dates
I use the medium-sized knife, pictured, to cut the dates in half… checking that there are no stones, and flattening the date onto the chopping board for easier chopping by the larger knife. The latter chopping process, I perform by rocking the knife back and forward horizontally and vertically across the board, going over the dates a number of times to create small enough pieces for the mixture.
Stir the mixture with wooden spoon
If the mixture is still crumbly after a few minutes of stirring (as it was in this case), add a little more water. The final texture should be sticky.
Spoon onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, then flatten out
The flattening-out process is “manual” and the only part of the process that involves getting your hands into the mixture. I take off my watch and wash my hands thoroughly before starting this.
Cover the flattened-out mix, and store in the refrigerator
The flattened-out mix needs to be stored in the fridge for at least half a day. In that time, it will dry out a little, and become a little more firm. At that point, you can cut it into pieces. Again, I use the bigger knife seen in the date-chopping photos; rocking the knife back and forward to make the cuts.
After a further day or so, you should store the bars in an airtight box (to prevent further drying-out) and eat within the week. Enjoy!!!