Coconut, almonds, and chocolate come together in these health-packed Almond Joy Granola Bars! Gluten free, refined-sugar free, and loaded with flax and chia seeds.
Yoga and I are good friends. We get together three to four times a week.
But it wasn’t always that way. I strongly disliked yoga for most of my life. Every yoga class I went to was slow and boring. The poses were awkward, and the instructors talked in what can only be described as a stoned hippie voice. It was not for me, and I wrote yoga off entirely.
In fact, once in college I had to give a powerpoint presentation on “___ Gives Me Energy.” Alex was in the class with me, and remarked how funny it would be if I chose yoga as my subject. So I did. I did a presentation about how Yoga Gives Me Energy.
I danced all throughout middle and high school, so I happen to have a few pictures of me doing dance yoga poses. Obviously I put them in the powerpoint for credibility. And I stood in front of my class talking about how much I loved yoga, when really I didn’t like it at all.
Half way through the presentation, after putting in a random clip art logo of a local yoga studio I found in town, one girl in my class shouted “I go to [your yoga studio] too! I actually work there!” Alex could all but help to hold in his laugher as I gracefully evaded her comment with a “Oh! Don’t you love it?!”
I got an A on the presentation, and didn’t think much about yoga until a few months later when I saw a friend for the first time in a while. She was looking seriously toned. “Yoga,” she said when I asked what she was doing. “Hot yoga.”
I had to try it out for myself. So I signed up, somewhat reluctantly, at the same studio who’s logo made its way into my presentation months earlier. And within a few classes, I was hooked.
It’s a full body workout. It makes me tired, but not exhausted in the way that running or other high intensity sports do. My muscles are lean and toned, and I finally have arm definition. And even more so, my mind gets a workout. I push myself to embrace my “edge,” yoga-speak for that point when you want to give up, but you push past it. I feel stronger in mind and body every time I step onto my mat.
In doing hot yoga three to four times a week, a good diet is a must. I need to have a pre-workout snack with protein and carbs that doesn’t weigh me down. These Almond Joy Granola Bars satisfy my sweet tooth while giving me the stamina I need for a good workout.
They have whole almonds and flax seeds for protein, coconut oil and almond butter for healthy fats, and oatmeal, sweetened coconut flakes, and mini chocolate chips for quick energy. Chia seeds keep you feeling full, and the honey gives it a warmth and sweetness that brings everything together.
Confession: I actually just stood up to go get a bar and am now eating it. I couldn’t help myself.
I think that’s my cue to stop and go enjoy the rest of this bar. Hope you all have wonderful beginnings of your week!
1/2 cup toasted coconut flakes (I used sweetened, but you can use whatever you prefer), plus more for sprinkling (optional)
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1/2 cup organic flax seeds
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
3/4 cup whole roasted almonds
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup almond butter
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup honey
For the chocolate coconut drizzle
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1 1/2 teaspoons coconut oil
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine oats, coconut flakes, chia seeds, flax seeds, mini chocolate chips, and roasted almonds. Stir until combined.
In a separate bowl, combine coconut oil, almond butter, vanilla extract, and honey. Pour into oat mixture and stir with a spatula until evenly combined.
Pour mixture into pan, spreading evenly to the edges (use the spatula to smooth things out). Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the granola is lightly golden brown along the edges. Allow to cool completely (placing them in the fridge for about 30 minutes does the trick).
Combine the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 15 second intervals, stirring between each, until melted. Place into a ziplock bag and cut a small slit in one corner. Drizzle over cooled granola bars, and sprinkle with extra toasted coconut, if using. Cut into 18 rectangles and serve!