I recently read an article that encouraged new ‘clean eaters’ to throw away every single thing in their fridge/pantry that came in a package.
My initial reaction was wow – that’s a really easy and clearly defined way to clean up your diet! But before I said goodbye to coconut oil forever, I started thinking more about the practicalities of the idea. Are ALL things that come in packages inherently “bad” for you? What about my kick-ass spice rack? Am I meant to grow my own paprika and pound my own cumin seeds? And then there’s all my great oils, vinegars, pastes and sea salts that bring vegetables to life and makes eating a plant-based diet fun.
Honestly, life would be pretty sad without olive oil.
So maybe a more realistic idea would be to follow Michael Pollan’s advice and ditch everything in your cupboard that has more than 5 ingredients, OR any single ingredient you don’t recognise. Now that’s a concept I can get behind. There’s no bigger reminder for me to eat wholesomely then randomly reading the ingredients on packaged products like pre-made sauces, cereals and snack bars. Many of those ingredients are not food, more like UFO’s (unidentified food-like objects) that we have been led to believe is food. The more you get in the habit of reading packages and recognising sneaky food labelling, the more inclined you’ll be to stick to the outer isles of the supermarket and get back in the kitchen.Give it a whirl some time and read the back of something in your cupboard; does it have numbers in it? What about serial offenders dextrose, maltodextrin, soy lecithin, high fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated soybean oil? This stuff is straight up weird and scary, highly processed and a world away from real food. Feel free to ditch at will!
Snack bars are particularly prone to weird UFO ingredients. Even good old Uncle Tobys! (sad face). While there are great companies out there doing increasingly healthy snacks like Simply Raw bars in Sydney, I don’t think anything you pick off the shelf can compare to something that has come out of your own kitchen.
For all you time-poor go-getters out there, these muesli bars are super easy and can be made in bulk and frozen for ages. I like the fact that I know exactly what has gone into them, and I can mix and match with whatever I have in the cupboard – making a new variety every time. They’re salty, sweet and will keep even the most robust snacker full for hours. Sometimes I’ll crumble up a few bars to have as a moorish trail mix too.
Base recipe inspired by the The Minimalist Baker.
What you’ll need
- 1 cup packed medjool dates
- ½ cup pepitas
- 2 tbs honey
- 1/4 cup natural peanut butter or almond butter
- 1 cup almonds (toasted if you prefer!) chopped loosley
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
- Tablespoon psyillium husks (you can find these in any health food store or health isle of the major supermarkets – adds a boost of fibre!)
How to go about it
- Process dates in a food processor (or chop by hand) until fine and place in a mixing bowl with oats, almonds, pysillium husks and pepitas
- Slowly warm up the nut butter and honey in a pan and pour over oat mixture.
- Mix all ingredients together thoroughly and transfer into a slice tray lined with plastic wrap. Press down until flat.
- Pop into the fridge to set.