Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Chocolate, Coconut Energy Treats

I rarely post sweet treats on my blog. I focus instead on whole, healthy, simple gourmet-meals that can be prepared with groceries bought on a budget at Whole Foods, or any grocer, for that matter.

However, this past week I've been featuring two single girls, Julie and Lisa, who are roommates, and whose shopping and eating habits are very Bridget Jones-esque -- in other words they do quite a bit of impulse purchasing and eating.

Sweets are often the kind of treat we reach for on impulse, particularly when we feel in need of comfort food. So by way of acknowledging this fact, I thought I'd offer up a couple of suggestions for healthy sweet treats.

Now one of these, the round, nutty snacks in the pic above, I created using Julie's recipe, which I posted last week.

Made by mixing nut butter (I used almond butter), shredded coconut, chocolate chips, and honey (optional), they're absolutely scrummy and great energy food pre-or-post work out.

As you can see, I shaped mine into rounds and popped a pecan on top. Obviously you can shape them any which way and top them with your choice of nut or coconut or chocolate.

The Stingers, Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond Protein Bar to the left is something I sampled at Whole Foods when I shopped with Lisa and Julie, and I have to say, it was to DIE FOR yummy!

Actually, herein lies a small story about my own impulse moment: The sample I had was so yum, I tossed a whole bar into Lisa & Julie's shopping cart, for me, and without the girls knowing :)

At the promotional price of $1.99, it wasn't an extravagant purchase so when Julie checked out, she didn't blink an eye.

However it was a caloric extravagance, which I discovered later, after I'd eaten several sample chunks at WFs plus the whole bar over a cup of tea once back at the girl's apartment.

It was an extravagance in the vicinity of 400 calories! Now that is the equivalent of a small meal, and my preference would be to eat a meal rather than a protein bar, no matter how choc full of protein and added vitamins and minerals.

My reasoning: the carbohydrate content of many of these bars is always significant, and simple carbs don't satiate one's appetite; you're always hungry again within a short period of time.

The moral of my small story: Read the labels on the back of snack, protein and energy bars before you buy them. Consider the calorie, fat and carb content, and then consider whether it might not be worth making your own.

Note on making your own energy treats:
I'm guessing the calorie content of one of the above nut rounds is around 100 with most of the calories coming from the fat content of the nut butter and coconut.

Obviously you can substitute coconut for raisins, which will decrease the fat content and increase the simple carb content.

Or you could add a low-fat protein powder and reduce the amount of fatty nut butter. If you do this, then you might need honey to glue everything together.

If you have a food processor, experiment making your own by tossing together your choice of ingredients and flavors.

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