In my personal life, I’ve been working on something this summer. Something I wasn’t too thrilled about at first.
I’m taking this Dave Ramsey money class. Ever heard of it? It’s a bit preachy, but the strategies are changing my life.
I actually still cringe when I say the word budget (so boring!), but it’s come to a point where I look forward to sitting down with Kevin and planning our week. I like having the control instead of my money controlling me.
One of the first things you need to do when you budget is find out where your money is going. So when I realized that I spent almost $28 on bars at the grocery store each week, I was sick to my stomach.
I’m actually a bar freak and even though I don’t do much processed foods, I do rely on bars for workouts and snacks.
Protein bars, granola bars…I love them all, and since I’ve spent loads of time finding the healthiest choices, I discovered only a few I like. I love Vega bars and recommend these to my clients, but the bars are almost $4 a pop.
It was painful to say no to my usual Vega staple. I just couldn’t bear not have them in my life. I couldn’t even think about it. Seriously. But they didn’t fit into the budget so I had to figure something out.
Well, I decided to follow the 80/20 guideline and only buy a few to eat after my long workouts. On regular days when I didn’t exercise or just needed a granola bar for a snack, I decided to find a cheaper way to fuel my body.
I’ve been making these Yay Bars and they are really working out great.
I wanted lots of protein so I added hemp, and I used less brown rice syrup than anticipated. I don’t like too sweet.
Healthy, no processed sugar or isolated proteins, and energy boosting. And inexpensive to make, too. Yay Bars have it all. Oh and it only takes 5 minutes to make them.
You can add different kinds of dried fruits, raw nuts, gogiberries, and even nut butters. Substitute pea or rice protein powder, too, and try some ground flax seed for Omega 3 goodness. And add coconut flakes if that excites you. Experiment and see what you come up with.
2 cups gluten-free rolled oats (Bob’s Red Mill GF brand is my favorite)
1/4 cup hemp protein powder ( I used Nativas Naturals)
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup cacao nibs (a little somethin’ somethin’)
1 cup raw almond butter
1/4 cup brown rice syrup (or raw honey)
In a large bowl, mix oats, hemp, seeds, raisins, and nibs. In a separate bowl, whisk together nut butter and syrup. Pour the mixture into bowl with dry ingredients. Mix well until everything is sticky. If too dry, add more nut butter.
Press mixture into a shallow 8×12 baking dish. Make sure to line and cover dish with foil or wrap.
Place in fridge for 3 hours. Cut into bar shapes, wrap, and keep refrigerated until ready to eat.
Makes approximately 12 bars (depends on how big you slice~ I like them huge!).
Note: There is approximately 8-10 grams of protein for each Yay Bar.
My belly AND wallet are sure happy!
Now if you have to get bars at the store, be careful. There’s a lot of crap in Luna, Natures Valley, Cliff (although they are trying with their new ingredients), and Balance bars.
Here’s what to avoid:
- soy or whey protein isolate (stick to anti-inflammatory plant-based protein like hemp, pea, and rice)
- evaporated cane sugar, cane syrup
- thousands of ingredients
- and extra soy products (like soy chips…what are those anyway?)
*Note: Take a look at the labels out there; most brands are high in sodium and sugar.
- LaraBar (only 5 ingredients and you can recognize the ingredients like cashews and dates and there tons of flavors to choose from)
- Vega (still has a lot of ingredients but I like the sprouted buckwheat, chia seeds, and the 15+ grams of protein for workouts) in the Sport. The Vibrancy bars are also good.
- Two Moms in the Raw (I dig the natural, simple ingredients such as organic pecans and walnuts, blueberries, goji berries, too).
These are my top 3 and they are tasty. You know how some bars can have you gagging, but these are delish.
*Note: Don’t Google “healthy granola bars;” you find some crazy sh*t like Planters and Snack Wells. My blood is boiling! So stick to plant-based, gluten-free brands with clean ingredients mentioned above.
Keep in mind:
- Don’t go overboard with any bar, even the Yay Bars. You can have 3 big Yay Bars a day. With others try just one a day or limit to 4 times a week if the sugar content (even if it’s natural sugar) is high. Try for 9 grams of sugar or less.
- Protein and granola bars are quite different. If you really want to fill up after a workout or need to supplement with a meal, go for a protein bar. Sometimes I eat half of the Vega bar before my workout and then the other half after.
- The Yay Bars make a delightful after school snack now that back to school is here!
Do you dig bars too? Which one do you absolutely recommend? Make sure to jot it down in the comments. I love gathering up ideas.
PS. I know the Yay Bars will make your “I love it!” list.:)