Paleo Cacao Coffee Protein Bars made with dates, nuts, egg white protein, cacao powder, and espresso or instant coffee. Simple and quick, perfect for the morning or even a midday snack. Vegetarian, no added sugars, Whole30 compliant.
You know what is tough? Getting back into the swing of things. Getting back into routines and work mode and exercise and more nutritious foods. It can be tough because we (must) allow ourselves to take breaks.
A break from routine to feel free again.
A break from work to feel relaxed.
A break from exercise to feel rested.
A break from greens to enjoy the sweets.
Jill Coleman on Instagram asked something along the lines of “Can you find/reach/know balance without going through an extreme?” The poll seemed to be about 60/40, with 60% of people saying “No.”
My thoughts? I’m not sure… My first thought is “No.” Kind of like sometimes you have to experience the lows to appreciate the highs. But then I think maybe it possible? I think about the future generations–maybe my future children–and hope somehow we can instill in them what it means to know balance, without having to go through an extreme (i.e. over/under-eating, exercise obsession, etc.).
There was definitely a trend in 2017 of practicing self-care, finding balance, meditation and taking more time for oneself… At least in the wellness space. I hope that trend carries into 2018 and we can continue to learn from one another while discovering more about ourselves.
At the same time we also need to remember everyone is different, and everyone’s journey in wellness (or whatever it may be) is different. To become inspired by someone is one thing, but to allow their actions to question your own is not something we want.
I want to (gently) remind all of you that when following people (including me) in the “healthy living” space that you should consume everything with a little asterisk * – meaning what works for one person may not work for you. I often see so many people promoting their “no excuses” workouts exclaiming “I may be tired and exhausted but got my workout in!” That may be great for them but I do wonder if that workout they’re doing is coming from a place of self-love.
And while I am kind of over those types of exclamations influencing my thoughts and practices, I know not everyone is there yet. Just because someone likes to workout 5-6 days a week and you’re better off with 3-4 (or less!) that shouldn’t change your own approach to your own wellness journey. You know what I am saying?
Take the Whole30 diet, for example. Everyone who knows what it is seems to have an opinion on it. I sure had some negative thoughts and judgements about the diet before I fully understood what it was. But the thing is sometimes a diet works for people. I don’t advocate for any diet long-term but some people may need that structure to kickstart their healthy journey.
Paleo Cacao Coffee Protein Bars
what you need
I based these off of my basic 4-ingredient Homemade Protein Bars but wanted to give you guys a delicious new flavor combo, so cacao coffee protein bars it is!
These coffee protein bars are great for a grab-n-go in the morning or as a midday pick-me-up – Unless you’re sensitive to caffeine then consuming one of these midday may not be the best for you. Just use your best judgement 😉
They’re basically a take on the RXBAR, but made at home in your food processor (or high-powered blender). They take just minutes to mix together and then you just press them into a pan and chill them before cutting. Simple and quick!
Definitely my new favorite snack bar. Let me know if you try them!
- 2 cups nuts (I used half almonds, half pecans, but cashews or walnuts would also work)
- 1 cup egg white protein powder
- 1/4 cup cacao powder (or unsweetened cocoa)
- 3 TBS instant coffee, or espresso powder (can adjust to taste)
- 18 large Medjool dates, pitted (10 ounces)
- 3–5 TBS water, as needed to blend
- 1/4 cup cacao nibs, optional
- Line a 8×8 pan with parchment paper or use square silicone pan; set aside.
- In the bowl of your food processor, process nuts, egg white protein, cacao powder and coffee powder until nuts have broken down into small pieces. Careful not to over-process, as the nuts will continue to break down in the next step.
- Add in pitted dates and process until combined–the mixture will look a little dry. With the motor running about 1 tablespoon of water at a time until mixture is sticky and everything comes together. Depending on if your dates were juicy or dry, you may need less or more water. I used 6 tablespoons.
- Once mixtures has come together and is sticky, remove S-blade and stir in cacao nibs if using.
- Transfer mixture to lined 8×8 pan. Use slightly wet hands to press evenly into pan. I use his fun little pastry roller to make it extra flat.
- Place pan in fridge for 1 hour, or freezer for 30 minutes before cutting into bars. Use large sharp knife and cutting board, cutting bars into 12 or 16 squares.
- Store bars in airtight container in fridge for about 2-3 weeks, or wrapped tightly in freezer for longer.
Bars can be enjoyed at room temperature but keep best in fridge. Store bars in covered container, with parchment paper in between layers. Approximate nutrition – 1/12 bars: 216 calories, 12g fat, 26g carbs, 5g fiber, 17g sugar, 9g protein *nutrition will change based on type of nuts used, this is a rough estimate.
- Serving Size: 1/12th
- Calories: 196
- Sugar: 16g
- Sodium: 104mg
- Fat: 8g
- Saturated Fat: 1g
- Unsaturated Fat: 7g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 23g
- Fiber: 4g
- Protein: 11g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
SOME OF THE PRODUCTS I USED IN TODAY’S RECIPE
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