Maca Energy Bars

Have you ever tried barre? It’s apparently one of the fastest and most effective workouts to change your body. I tried it for the first time about two weeks ago and I quickly realized why it’s so effective! Within the first 15 minutes of class, my arms felt as if they were on fire! I knew it would be a bit of a tough workout, considering I’m not the most fit person around, but I had no idea of the magnitude at which the class would kick my #$@%$!!!!!  Throughout the workout my body was shaking like a bowl of JELL-O!

Maca Energy Bars

Barre is a low-impact, high-intensity workout inspired by dance, Pilates, and yoga. Movements are small, isometric, and intended to tone, lengthen, and strengthen your body while also adding flexibility. Most barre classes follow the same structure—start with a warm-up full of planks and push-ups, then do a series of arm exercises, and continue at the barre (as in ballet barre) for a series of movements for the lower-body (thighs and glutes). From what I understand, it’s best to get in 3-4 barre workouts per week for the best results.

With barre you spend an extended period of time in a muscle contraction while performing an isometric hold to intensify the work. Trembling, a sign of muscle fatigue, is a way for your muscles to let you know they feel it. My muscles weren’t shy about telling me what they felt. They pretty much were trembling (yelling at me) throughout the duration of class. As shaking is a good thing, I tried to hold and embrace it! I’ve gone to a few classes now and it’s gotten a bit better. My muscles still feel the burn but they’re a bit “quieter” about letting me know.

Cacao-Goji Energy Bars

Cacao -Goji Energy Bars

After my first barre workout, I was motivated to come up with these two easy, no-bake, recipes for superfood energy bars to have pre or post my barre workout. Most energy bars are filled with a lot of sugar, almost requiring another workout to burn the calories after you eat them. These, however, are quite different. Small, moist, dense and chewy, they’re vegan, gluten-free, and filled with healthy nuts, seeds, dates and dried fruit. The combination will offer you not only a healthy dose of fiber, carbohydrates and protein for lasting energy, but also heart healthy omega-3 fat, and a boost of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

As dried fruit offers usable energy plus vitamins and minerals, in one recipe I use dried figs which are rich in potassium, making them an especially great option for after exercise. This is because potassium, which is responsible for regulating body water and ensuring proper muscle contraction, needs to be replenished after having been depleted in a workout.

Cacao-Goji Energy Bars

Making energy bars at home is actually quite simple. The bar basics? Use equal parts dried fruits, nuts, and pitted dates. Combine them in a food processor until they turn into a thick paste, press into a large square or rectangle, chill, and cut into squares. You can tinker with the basic recipe, adding other ingredients into the mix: chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, coconut, chocolate chips, cacao (raw chocolate), super foods like goji berries and/or maca powder, and more. Add the extras a bit at a time until you get the right taste and texture to suit your preference.

I decided to add maca powder and goji berries, relatively new superfood ingredients in my pantry. Maca root has been used by indigenous Andean societies for thousands of years. It helps increase energy and combat fatigue. Nutrient dense, maca is packed with vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Goji berry is one of the most nutrient-rich foods on earth. It’s a vegetarian form of protein, packed with essential amino acids and rich in beta-carotene (Vitamin A). You can add maca and/or goji berries to oatmeal, smoothies, granola, yogurt, energy bars, and many other recipes. Feel free to make the bars as is, or add your own twist to them! The possibilities for variations are endless!

So there you have the bar(re) basics. Have you tried a barre workout already? If not, try it out and don’t forget to pack one of these superfood energy bars along with you!

Maca Energy Bars

Maca Energy Barres
Adapted from NatureBox

Makes 14-20 bars

1 cup almonds or cashews (or mix half and half)
½ sunflower seeds
1 cup (about 10) Medjool dates, pitted
1-3 teaspoons coconut oil
1 tablespon maca powder
1 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract (optional)
1-2 tablespoons fig spread, coconut jam, or other jam (optional)
coconut flakes

In a food processor, blend nuts and sunflower seeds until creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Add dates,  1 teaspoon oil, maca, and extract (if using), and pulse into well-combined, about 1-2 minutes. If mixture does not come together, try adding a little more coconut oil or a mother date or two.

Turn out the mixture onto a sheet of parchment paper. Press into into a ¼-inch thick rectangle. Cut into 1-2 inch squares. Store in the refrigerator.

If using spread or jam, add a small smear onto each bar. Add shredded coconut to a small plate. Press both sides of the squares into the coconut to coat. Refrigerate for about an hour prior to serving.

Cacao-Goji Energy Bars

Cacao-Goji Energy Barres

Makes 14-20 Bars

1 cup (about 10) Medjool dates, pitted
1 cup dried figs, chopped (I used Turkish figs)
1 cup (almonds or walnuts)
2 tablespoons cacao (raw chocolate)
1 tablespoon goji powder (or ground berries)
1 tablespoon maca powder
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1 tablespoon hemp seeds
1 tablespoon chia seeds
pinch of sea salt
fig spread, to serve (optional)
coconut flakes, to serve (optional)

In your food processor combine dates, figs, and nuts. Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the fig spread and coconut flakes. Turn out the mixture onto a sheet of parchment paper. Press into into a ¼-inch thick rectangle. Cut into 1-2 inch squares. Store in the refrigerator.

If using spread or jam, add a small smear onto each bar. Add shredded coconut to a small plate. Press both sides of the squares into the coconut to coat. Refrigerate for about an hour prior to serving.

Notes: The energy bar dough can also be shaped into small balls. Refrigerate until firm, then wrap in plastic for longer storage.

Besides those listed above, a few other possibilities for add-ins include chocolate chips, cacao nibs, crystalized ginger, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cardamom, orange zest, lemon zest, lime zest and a variety of extracts. Have fun trying new combinations!

19 thoughts on “The Barre Basics

  1. Wow. Never heard of Barre before. I’m a fitness freak myself so must try it out!
    And I’m sure you need good like this to revive you after the workout 😀 Do have a look at my latest post 🙂

  2. Such a fan of the ingredients here, especially those figs.
    If you go to the official Barre site, you can buy a home video that’s awesome.
    Our new house in Carmel has a licensed Barre studio literally around the corner. So popular with my friends. They even have childcare!
    Hope you guys are well! Lovely post.

    1. Hi Shanna, thanks for the information on the home video! A great option for those who can’t make it to a studio. Carmel! How nice!!! I drove through Carmel many many years ago. I still remember all the art galleries and quaint boutiques. Lovely town! I hope you enjoy your stay there.

  3. Oh Martine, I love these bars! Barre means sheep/lamb in Farsi… and when I saw the top picture with the curly white coconut flakes… 😀 ))) I live in a small town and we don’t have any of these cool classes. I have to see where is the closest one, as I need to get in shape. 😦

    1. Hi Fae, energy bars made of lamb! Ha, now that would be interesting…. 🙂 As for the barre (exercise) classes, I understand home videos are also available. I know the struggle and need to get in shape. I’m working on it myself. I just posted on an upcoming Spring Cleanse/detox. It might help kick start your fitness routine!

  4. THANK YOU!! for these bars, Martine! Even more because no baking is involved! You’re right about the sugar in most energy bars–also most contain soy which is horrible for me. You’ve given me a tasty and healthy alternative.

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