It’s aaaalmost spring, and I’m so ready to be active outdoors after the monster winter we’ve had in Chicago. The first few days of real sunshine in March mark one of my favorite times of the year, and coming out of a deep freeze always gets me super motivated to get moving.
When it comes to exercise, I’ve found infinitely more success focusing my energy on being out and doing active things that make me excited about fitness rather than dragging myself to another class or day at the gym. But, that’s not to say gym sessions are out of the question! Sometimes I feel like lifting weights and sometimes I feel like taking my pup for a walk. It’s all about finding new ways to keep your workouts exciting and tailored to you. By incorporating a healthy lifestyle into my daily routine, I’ve realized I don’t need to spend hours working out daily to feel strong and energized.
And because of that, I always try my best to take advantage of this weather and keep myself as active as possible, whether that does mean heading off to the gym or taking a morning walk or bike ride instead. That also means I need a little extra fuel for the days I’m on the move. Cue these gooey, crunchy salted caramel energy bars.
One of my favorite tips to maintaining a nutritious and wholesome diet is to have healthy snacks on hand at all times. Making your own healthy treats is less expensive, more rewarding, and heaps more tasty than buying ones from the store that are filled with sugar and other additives.
These simple energy bars are super easy to whip up and store for a quick snack throughout the week. They contain healthy carbs and protein from their oat and quinoa base AND have nutrient-rich ingredients like maca, chia seeds, and cinnamon.
The caramelly sweetness from these bars comes from one of my all time favorite ingredients: medjool dates. With the magic of a food processor, these rich, sweet fruits turn into a candy-like paste that’s perfect for naturally sweetening any snacks or baked goods. In addition to the dates, I added a touch of sea salt for a deep salted caramel flavor in every bite.
The quinoa, buckwheat, and coconut chips give these bars that perfect crunchy nibble. I love using all three for a variety of tastes and textures.
If you’d like to add in a little more sweetness, you could use coconut sugar and maple syrup. Otherwise, the dates alone are sweet enough to satisfy all of your sugar cravings!
chewy salted caramel energy bars
Takes , Serves 6.
- Preheat oven to 300°F.
- Add dates into a food processor and pulse for around 30 seconds until mixture resembles a paste.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine old fashioned oats, quinoa, buckwheat kernels, chia seeds, maca, cinnamon, sea salt, coconut chips, and coconut sugar. Stir to combine.
- Add vanilla, maple syrup, and coconut oil to oat mixture and mix until ingredients are fully incorporated. At this point, press entire mixture together and gently form a disc with your hands.
- Press disc onto a baking sheet and use fingers to form a rectangle. Cut into 2½ x 6-inch bars with a sharp knife.
- Bake bars for about 10-15 minutes until just crispy. Set aside to cool completely before enjoying.