Enjoy these Brain Food Energy Bars!

It’s noon during finals week and you begin to wonder if that noise is your stomach growling or your chemistry grade crumbling.

Sound familiar? You need a date with a delicious snack that’s going to satisfy the tummy-rumbles through final exams and give you the energy to think clearly without a caffeine or sugar high. But… where could you find such a thing?

Look no further!

These Brain Food Bars are high in fiber, B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids to keep you full, energized and focused while studying. Not to mention, they’re super simple and delicious!  

What ingredients make them different than your average snack bar?

1. Rolled Oats offer lots of fiber and are low on the glycemic index to keep you favorably full. That means no sugar crash and long-lasting energy for studying.

2. Bananas and Dried Cherries taste sweet naturally and help bind the bars. Choose dried fruit that does not have added sugar. Always check ingredient listings to be sure. Bananas may help in lowering blood pressure, while cherries offer up a dose of vitamin C to keep you from getting the sniffles through exams.

3. Seeds are a great source of long-lasting energy and good fats. Sunflower seeds are a good source of thiamine, a vitamin that helps you use the energy in your food, and pumpkin seeds are a wonderful source of plant-based omega 3’s that are exceptionally known for playing a crucial role in brain-function. Hemp seeds are also high in these omegas.

4. Dark chocolate, besides being delicious, is high in antioxidants. It also contains a molecule similar to caffeine that will perk you up naturally.

To sustain your energy naturally, follow the simple recipe below.

(Adapted from Oh She Glow’s Feel Good Hearty Granola Bars)

Ingredients:

–1.5 cups mashed ripe banana

–1 teaspoon vanilla extract

–2 cups rolled oats — make this recipe gluten-free by using gluten-free oats**

–1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped

–1/2 cup sunflower seeds

–1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

–1/2 cup hulled hemp seeds

–1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

–1 teaspoon cinnamon

–1/4 teaspoon salt

**Note:  If you don’t have a blender, buy steel-cut oats instead. They’re already chopped into smaller pieces.

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking tray with a piece of parchment or wax paper. If you don’t have any, simply use a cooking spray or paper towel with a little bit of oil.

2. Mash the banana in a large bowl until smooth. Stir in the vanilla.

3. Put the rolled oats into a food processor or blender and pulse until they’re coarsely chopped, but textured. Skip this step if using steel-cut oats.

4. Chop the cherries and stir these in with the rest of the ingredients into the banana-oat mixture until roughly combined.

5. Spoon the mixture into a baking dish and press down until compacted and smooth.

6. Bake for 23-27 minutes until lightly golden on the edges. Let it cool for 20-30 minutes and cut into bars or squares once they are cool. Store bars in the freezer for long-lasting goodness!

7. Enjoy!

Contribution by Paige Butterfield, VeganMermaid.com

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