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3-INGREDIENT PEANUT BUTTER* GRANOLA BARS

3-INGREDIENT PEANUT BUTTER* GRANOLA BARS

Happy first Monday in June from Zoe (the Nutrition Consultant) and the entire staff at Elevate Sports Performance & Chiropractic! 
As members of the Elevate family, you and I something big in common – we are athletes. We may not compete in the same sport….we may never compete at all in an organized race or event. But we are all athletes. My main sport is running. Maybe yours is cycling, golf, swimming, playing with your kids/grandkids, or maybe your sport is life. Make no mistake…..life is a sport, and we have to train for it if we want to be able to stay in the game, and go the distance with a strong, healthy body. YOU are an athlete in the sport of life, and being an athlete requires discipline. You have to train like an athlete and choose your foods like an athlete. 
Finding healthy, unprocessed whole foods can be challenging, especially when you’re talking about sweet treats! 
When you absolutely must have something sweet, but you’re trying to stay away from processed sugary commercial junk food, these peanut butter granola bars do the trick! They can be an addition to breakfast (pair them with scrambled eggs or low fat Greek yogurt for protein) or eaten on their own as a snack. I use them in place of energy bars when I’m biking or running. They cut up nicely into bite sized squares, and a few of them in a ziplock bag fit nicely into my bike pouch or hydration pack where I can grab one or two while riding. They really are convenient, and a clean, whole food energy source. (They also make a great mid-day snack when that 2:00 slump hits and sends you to the vending machine!)
Let’s get started –

INGREDIENTS:
• 1 ½ cups packed (about 32) pitted dates (soak in warm water for 10 min. If they feel dry)
• ½ cup natural peanut butter* (Creamy, salted is best, but any kind will do. If your peanut butter isn’t salted, consider adding ¼ tsp of salt, especially if you’re using them for long endurance events where you’ll be sweating a lot) 
• ½ cup rolled oats

INSTRUCTIONS:

• Add dates to food processor and pulse until only small bits remain. (They will likely clump into a ball – that’s what you want.) If any big pieces remain, use a knife or spatula to push them down, then continue to pulse. 
• Add peanut butter and oats and pulse a few more times until incorporated, stirring and scraping down sides as needed. If you prefer denser bars, add more oats.
• Transfer to a parchment lined 8x8 baking dish and press down until flat, or, scoop out 1 TBLSP amounts and roll into balls. Place on a baking sheet. Transfer to freezer to set. 
• If making bars, slice into 8-10 bars and store in the fridge or freezer to keep fresh. (They keep for several weeks in the fridge, and a couple of months in the freezer!!)

**I experimented with a batch, and added 1 scoop of plant based Vega clean protein powder (vanilla flavor) just to pump up the protein value. Not a bad idea!!

The recipe, from Dana at the Minimalistbaker.com was inspired by Peanut Butter Cookie Larabars.