Pumpkin Protein Energy Bars

Hey pretty people!

Happy [official] first day of fall! If you know me, however, you know that I’ve already been celebrating fall for a few weeks now. How could I not? It’s the best time of the year. Plus it’s #StrongSeptember and we’ve got to soak that up.

I will have to say, though, that I have yet to have a pumpkin spice latte. Yep. I know I’m crazy. Here’s my problem– I like them but they are just too sweet. I try to force myself to just enjoy that amount of sweetness, but I can’t do it. I just can’t. So here’s my solution– Get a blonde roast coffee, add coconut milk for cream, and one pump of pumpkin spice. Easy, so much cheaper, and just the right amount of sweetness and flavor without making me feel like I passed out into a sugar coma. Try it next time and save some bucks!

I thought we could celebrate the official first day of fall by exploring all the wonderful health benefits of pumpkin!

Of course we love pumpkin because of the taste, the warm smooth texture, and how it remind us of crisp fall days growing up. But there’s so much more to love about pumpkin! I know it seems impossible, but yes, there are even MORE reasons for you to love it!

Check out this awesome infographic from the American Council of Exercise about the benefits of eating pumpkin!

  1. It helps you achieve & maintain a healthy weight. It is low in calories but high in fiber, making you feel fuller longer!
  2. Build healthy bones. The magnesium found in pumpkin helps transport calcium and vitamin D to the bones, making them stronger!
  3. Regulates blood pressure. Pumpkin contains a tag-team of blood pressure-regulating minerals: potassium and magnesium.
  4. Reduces your risk of injury. Great source of vitamin C and in helping produce collagen, which strengthens connective tissues.
  5. Reduces stress. Contains lots of tryptophan, which converts into the “happy hormone” serotonin.
  6. Boosts your heart health. The fiber helps reduce the “bad cholesterol” in your blood stream.
  7. Strengthens your eyes. Contains loads of vitamin A which helps keep your eyesight strong.

I’m all about pumpkin, so find some recipes and get to it! Here are some you can find here on Kitchenspired:

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Pumpkin Seed-Crusted Chicken

Pumpkin Cinnamon N'Oatmeal

Pumpkin Cinnamon N’Oatmeal

 

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Pumpkin Blackberry Pancakes

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Spicy Chipotle Pumpkin Turkey Chili


 

These bars? Why yes, I do want to eat them for the rest of my life. I made these for my friend and I last weekend as we ventured into 2 days straight of training and exercising. My main focus= refuel and protein. My desire= pure deliciousness. And I got both! I loved them but had to make sure other people liked them as well. My friend Izzie loved them almost more than I did! Part of what made them so good, I believe is the protein powder I used. I have Intek Protein Evolution Caramel Latte flavored protein, and it is the bomb. Sweetened with stevia, gluten-free, and has a great protein blend including added BCAA’s for muscle-building power! I think that other vanilla-flavored protein powders would work just fine. Try this out and don’t forget to add that chocolate in these puppies!

Photo Sep 17, 1 59 48 PMPumpkin Protein Energy Bars
Makes 8 bars
Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup creamy almond butter
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 can of pure pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1 scoop (about 1/3 cup) protein powder of choice (preferable a vanilla or caramel flavor)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg + 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds (optional)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
  • 1/4 cup carob chips or cocoa nibs

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a small microwavable bowl, microwave almond butter for about 25 seconds or until melty & smooth. Add honey, vanilla, and pumpkin puree and mix until creamy & smooth (and try your hardest not to eat this stuff– it’s amazing!!)
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, mix almond flour, protein powder, and baking powder. Slowly pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients and mix with a spatula.
  4. Add in egg and egg white and mix until well incorporated. Fold in almonds, coconut, and carob chips.
  5. Line a 8×8 pan with parchment paper and pour mix into pan. Spread out with the spatula until spread out & smooth. Bake for 16-18 minutes, let cool, and cut into 8 slices!

Be inspired,

Alexa

 

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