I have to admit it, I’m kind of a protein bar junkie. For years, I’d religiously keep one in my bag for an afternoon snack wherever I was. They’re easy, filling and require no thought or planning. Seems perfect, right? Well, unfortunately most protein bars available are filled with bizarre preservatives, artificial sweeteners, fillers and other gross junk.
These ingredients allow the bars to maintain their texture, taste and shelf life, but they wrecked havoc on my digestive system. I knew these protein-packed snacks were likely the culprit of my digestive woes, but I simply didn’t want to admit it.
A change was most definitely in order, so a few months ago I decided to cut these processed bars out of my diet. And the result has been remarkable. I’ve transitioned to real, whole food-based snacks, and my digestive system is thanking me. To clarify: there are bars out there made from simple, clean ingredients that are truly nutritious. I incorporate these every now and then, and I’m working on a review of my favorite healthy energy bars soon!
But the best solution I’ve found is in my own kitchen where these raw Chai Spiced Apricot Oat Bars were born. They’re truly the best of both worlds–easy to take on-the-go but also filled with clean, simple ingredients for that needed afternoon energy. No preservatives or artificial junk in sight.
I’ve also long been a lover of chai for its warm spice and comforting flavor. It’s like snuggling up in a warm blanket with every bite.
In these bars, the dried apricots add the perfect chew and natural sweetness. Plus, they’re filled with vitamins A, C, K, and E, iron, magnesium and potassium. Their high fiber content also improves digestion and boosts metabolism. Just make sure to buy apricots (and all dried fruit) without sulfur or added sugar. Sulfur is commonly used as a preservative to allow dried fruits to retain their bright color. These fruits are so delicious and naturally sweet, they don’t need any of this additional junk!
Another favorite ingredient of mine is Manuka honey. This special variety is native to New Zealand and is packed with antibacterial properties which give it antiviral, antinflammatory and antioxidant benefits. It’s truly nature’s medicine, as it’s proven to aid in wound healing, improve oral health, soothe sore throats, treat acne and boost digestive health.
Finally, the chai spice. You can easily find a chai spice mix at your local grocery store, but this blend is super simple to whip up yourself at home. Simply mix together ground ginger, cinnamon, cardamon, allspice, nutmeg and cloves. The specific proportions are listed in the recipe below.
Keep these chewy, nutritious bars in the fridge and throw a couple in your bag before heading out for the day. They’re just what you need for a clean and satisfying breakfast or afternoon pick-me-up!
- 3 ½ cups gluten-free oats
- 1 ½ cups chopped raw almonds (or nut of choice - I've also used walnuts)
- 1 generous cup dried apricots, chopped
- 1 ½ cups unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1 cup creamy almond butter (or nut butter of choice)
- 2 tbsp chai spice mixture (below) OR 2 tbsp pumpkin spice or pre-made chai spice blend from the grocery
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup honey
- ½ tsp salt
- 6 tsp ground ginger
- 4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp ground cardamom
- 2 tsp ground allspice
- 2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 tsp ground cloves
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