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I made these raw protein bars for snacks a few weeks ago, adapted from Christine Bailey’s recipe.  I meant to bring the leftovers in to my nutrition clinic to share with colleagues but somehow we just couldn’t bear to part with them.  We ate the lot over the following week.  These are quite like the Nak’d bars you find in health stores.  This bar is perfect when you are short of time and need something to support your blood sugar levels and give you a sweet treat.  A great healthy breakfast option, snack or lunchbox treat.  These can be frozen in batches for up to a month.

Apricot & brazil nut protein bars

Makes 12
For unusual ingredients, don’t forget to check out “larder & shopping” in this blog
200g/1½ cups raw Brazil nuts
60g gluten-free oat or buckwheat flakes (or porridge oats if you eat gluten)
30g ground chia seeds (buy ready ground or use a coffee/spice grinder)
250g/9oz dried unsulphured apricots, soaked overnight in filtered water OR 250g dried apricots plus 6 tbs water or freshly squeezed orange juice
3 heaped tbsp protein powder plain or vanilla flavour (Solgar Whey to go is a brilliant brand, as is Sun Warrior but you can also use rice protein or pea protein from the health shop)
Zest of 1 orange
Pinch of Himalayan or Atlantic Sea Salt
Essential equipment: food processor

1. Chop the apricots roughly.  If you have not already done so, grind the chia seeds and set aside.
2. Place the nuts and oats in a food processor and process until fine.  Add the chia, apricots, protein powder and orange zest and process till well mixed.  If you have used soaked apricots this will usually form a dough.  If your apricots are unsoaked then you will need to start adding the orange juice or water about 2 tbs at a time, pulsing in between, until the mixture forms a dough.  The amount of liquid needed will vary depending how dry the apricots are.
3. Press the mixture into a 20cm square tin lined with baking parchment and freeze for at least 1 hour.  This makes it hard enough to cut up neatly.
4. When frozen, cut into 12 bars.  Store in the fridge or freezer until needed.

Note: It’s quite important that the chia seeds be ground.   This helps the bars stick together really well.

Variations:

  • For a gingerbread version, add 1 level tsp each of ground ginger and cinnamon along with the protein powder.
  • For a chocolatey version, add 2 heaped teaspoons pure cocoa powder along with the protein powder.

Why these bars are better for you:  
Because these bars contain protein from the nuts, seeds and protein powder, they help keep you feeling fuller much longer. The fact that they are raw means more nutrients such as essential omega 3 and 6 oils.  Brazil nuts are a rich source of magnesium which helps relax the bowel to prevent constipation.  The bars are rich in crucial minerals such as selenium and iron which are important for the thyroid gland, brain function and energy production.  Buying unsulphured (brown) apricots in the health store avoids the sulphur dioxide that causes unpleasant digestive symptoms for so many people.  Sulphur dioxide is added to many dried fruits as a preservative and is always listed on the packet so its easy to avoid by paying attention to labels.

Christine Bailey is a successful nutritional therapist who published The Functional Nutrition Cookbook in 2012.  It contains over 130 tasty recipes that are super-healthy but also delicious.