I decided to make some Lärabars today. My seventeen year old son does Track and Field so he is gone between 7:30 am to midnight once a week on track meets. It is quite challenging to make sure that he has enough food with him for the whole day. They only serve junk at the schools, and at the last meet they sold a brown bag of food for 5 dollars. I was horrified when I heard that the bag contained a burger, a candy bar, a soda, and a bag of chips. I often ask my son if the coaches ever talk about nutrition and the importance of eating well in order to perform well in athletics. The answer is no every time I ask him. I find this very sad the children and young adults are expected to perform in athletics when they are fed only junk food.
These bars are really quick and easy to make and they kind of fit into our Paleo Diet since they are grain and dairy free without any added sugar. These are made especially for our active lifestyle doing sports, and they will be great for an endurance athlete like my husband.
I browsed a few sites to get some ideas on how to make them. I came across an article featuring the athlete Greg Parham, and he shared his recipe for his Cavemen Energy Bars which I thought sounded delicious. I also came across a great recipe on the The Inner Gourmet’s blog. So I took some ideas from both those recipes and created some really delicious snack bars. Everyone in the family thought they tasted great. Next time I will double the recipe and try some other variations.
About 8 oz. or so of dates
1/2 cup of raw cashews (soaked are best)
1 teaspoon of dark cocoa (try to find raw if possible)
You can add some honey as a sweetener if you like.
My daughter is my helper in the kitchen so she did most of the work today. First we heated the dates so we could peel them. She ground the cashews and set aside, then she chopped the dates in the food processor. It took a while to finish up the dates since they were sticky and stuck to the side but she managed to get a nice and smooth batch of dates.
She put the dates in a big glass bowl, and added the other ingredients one at a time. It wasn’t easy for her to blend all the ingredients so I had to help her squeeze it all together. You really need to use your hand in order to blend all of it. You have to try and see what works the best, either add all the ingredients at once or one ingredient at a time.
We rolled it out with a rolling pin and cut it in several pieces.
You can experiment and make other flavors. My daughter and I am thinking about making an apple pie flavor next since we love the Lärabar version. Another idea is to flavor them with some essential oils. What flavors would you make?
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Coming up with healthy snack foods for children can be hard no matter what diet we are following. We are following the Paleo Diet so we exclude grains, legumes, dairy, and processed foods. My children are very active so I need to make sure they get enough food throughout the day. I try not to let my children fill up on things that would spike their blood sugar. We also like the good fats in our family so I make sure that a sufficient amount of healthy fats are included in the children’s diet.
Starting off the day with the right food
Our day often starts with leftovers from previous night’s dinner, which could include things such as pieces of chicken, steak, or fish. We add a piece of fruit, sliced avocados, some tomatoes or similar things. Sometimes we eat eggs in various ways. This kind of breakfast lasts us quite a long time. It also makes sure that the blood sugar is stabilized so we don’t get hungry within an hour again.
High protein snacks are great for satisfying a growing and hungry child so I make sure I include sufficient amount of protein. I try to make it simple, so here are some of the things we use for snacks:
- Jerky with or without some fruits. I haven’t made my own yet but I am planning on it.
- turkey with avocados and some walnuts, almonds and/or cashews.
- lean beef slices with a couple of apricots/melon balls
- apple with raw almonds
- hard boiled eggs with mixed berries
- steamed broccoli topped with coconut oil and shredded meat such as turkey or chicken
- deviled eggs made with coconut oil, flax seed oil, and ginger instead of mayonnaise and mustard.
- veggies dipped in homemade salsa or guacamole
- cold meat such as london broil
- hard boiled eggs
- pureed banana and strawberries with coconut milk/oil – I freeze for a while before serving
- a variety of nuts
- slices of cantaloupe, some meat, and some nuts
- homemade un-sweetened applesauce
- unsweetened dried fruits.
I recently made the Spicy Nut Mix from the Paleo Diet Cookbook. I combined nuts such as raw walnut, brazil, and macademia nuts with oil, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg. After mixing well I put the blend on a baking sheet in a single layer and roasted in the oven for about 15 minutes. This was a great alternative to our regular Saturday candy. Nuts should be soaked prior to eating.
I make sure that the protein is served with fat, fruit or vegetables. We also do certain smoothies/shakes for the whole family based on our workout and activity level. Baked yams are also included as part of our work out nutrition.
Johanna is an aromatherapist and an independent distributor of Young Living Essential Oils . She also runs Naturally Sports & Wellness together with her husband. Follow Johanna on twitter and facebook for more health tips and information.
This post is linked to Sunday School at Butter Believer!