Mix up these customizable paleo trail mix bars in under a half an hour and have them ready to grab and go for your busy week. These convenient bars are packed with all the flavors of your favorite trail mix with no unpronounceable ingredients and lots of nutrition.
Today, I start my first big-girl internship. Like, 40 hour weeks and corporate life and whaaaat is happening? I certainly don’t know. But we’ll talk about that after I have a little more experience.
Instead, I want to talk about diet. Not like the “eat this and lose weight in a week” diet. More like, what you and I eat on a daily basis.
I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I love food and that I can eat pretty much anything. While I like healthy food and eat lots of it, I also generally eat a decent amount of processed food and junk. So, I think that it might be time to recognize that my body doesn’t love it when I do eat whatever my mind wants.
In the last six or so years, I’ve had a bunch of pretty awful digestive issues. I take a lot of daily over the counter medicine, I sleep on a special pillow to ease digestion, and my dad and I even cut a vacation/college tour short during my junior year of high school because my stomach was hurting so badly. I want to be up and about and, you know, living life… but some days I can’t stand up straight because of stomach pain.
That’s not normal.
I have tried a few dietary adjustments to fix my problems. I went plain ol’ gluten-free. I went low-FODMAP, and that honestly made everything worse. I cut out Diet Coke. Nothing got better, and I got more frustrated. I can handle pain pretty well, but it’s a different story when my entire digestive system is unpredictable and straight-up out of whack.
The last time I tried anything dietary was about three years ago. Since then, I probably haven’t been all that nice to my digestive system (college = stress-eating all the things), and lately I’ve been extra tired of it.
Which brings me to the new plan: paleo. (I’m not following this shopping list, but it gives a pretty good overview of the stuff I’m eating.)
Why? Because I’ve read a lot of IBS success stories. Additionally, I’ve read a lot of chronic pain success stories. Those reasons might strike you as bullsh*t, because there are 201468 success stories for every problem on every diet. That’s why I was hesitant to go for it.
Well, that and I love pizza… and ice cream… and cereal. However, I also love meat and vegetables and fruit and fats. Also, you can make some pretty delicious sweet treats that are still paleo if you want something extra. That’s not to say my entire diet is going to be composed of “paleo-ified” dessert, but it’s nice to not feel limited.
I am going into this experiment both excited (cooking is fun!) and hopeful (maybe I’ll feel better!). I am not claiming this change is permanent or entirely inflexible. If I notice that I’m feeling significantly better, but I’ve been doing this for a few months and I really want a slice of my favorite pizza or a scoop of my favorite ice cream, then I’m going to have it – and recognize that it might not make me feel fabulous. I want to be able to weigh the delicious taste with the physical effect. I also want to find new ways I love to enjoy food.
All of that said, I intend to start sharing recipes much more consistently with you, and I couldn’t be more excited about it. I’m aiming for one to two recipe-and-life posts a week, plus Five Friday Favorites and some Thinking Out Loud.
SO. After that little spiel, what do you say we get to the recipe for these Paleo Trail Mix Bars?
While I’ve found that all the protein, produce, and healthy fats involved make paleo meals super-satisfying, I still need the occasional snack. One solution? These bars. They are simple to make, super easy to customize according to your tastes, packed with texture and nutrition, and portable. So, basically, Paleo Trail Mix Bars are perfect for your fabulous, busy summer life – paleo or not – and you should make them ASAP.
- 1/4 c. almond meal
- 1/4 c. macadamia nuts
- 3/4 c. almonds
- 1/4 c. pistachios (no shells)*
- 1/4 c. dates
- 1/4 c. unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1 T. chia seeds
- 2 T. mini chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life)
- 1/4 c. maple syrup
- 1 t. vanilla
- 1 large egg white
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper.
- Roughly chop macadamia nuts, almonds, pistachios, and dates.
- Add almond flour, chopped nuts, dates, coconut, chia seeds, and chocolate chips to a medium bowl and mix together.
- Pour maple syrup, vanilla, and egg white into the trail mix. Stir to combine.
- Spread the mixture into the 8x8 pan and bake for 20-25 minutes. The bars will be soft but set when they are done. They will continue to firm up as they cool, so wait until they are completely cool to cut them. You can put them in the fridge to speed up the setting process. I like to store mine in the fridge, as well. They will be good for about a week, assuming they last that long!
- *I used salted pistachios. If none of your nuts are salted, I would recommend adding a pinch of salt to the mixture.
- **You can use any combination of nuts and dried fruit that suits your taste! Make sure the (whole) nuts amount to about 1-1/4 cups and the dried fruit is between 1/4 and 1/2 cup.
Pin for later:
Have you ever switched up your diet for health reasons?
Would you be interested in posts about my experience with paleo (what I eat, what the transition is like, any other questions…)?