I was asked by my local news station to demonstrate a Paleo snack bar. You know how enamored I am with plantains at the moment so I thought I would incorporate some into this recipe. For those of you who cannot tolerate eggs or nuts, it is also egg and nut-free!
It is kind of an oxymoron to say Paleo Snack Bar, because, obviously in Paleolithic times they did not eat snack bars. However, we are bringing the concepts of Paleo eating to the present time when snack bars are all the rage. In fact, there are so many snack bars on the market it is difficult to choose any!
Here’s my solution.
Choose none. That’s right. None.
Most of the commercial snack bars are bad news. They are full of sugars, rancid oils and improperly prepared grains, nuts and seeds. They are hard to digest and actually offer very little available nutrition.
Nuts and Seeds Need Proper Preparation
Like all legumes, grains and nuts also need to be soaked before they are cooked and/or eaten. Read more about why you need to soak (activate) legumes, grains, nuts and seeds. Essentially, there are anti-nutrients (phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors) that protect these foods from degradation. This is why you can store them for months. However, these anti-nutrients also inhibit them from human digestion unless they are prepared properly.
As far as Paleo goes, legumes and grains are not included in the diet. However, nuts and seeds are and they need to be properly prepared by soaking and dehydrating, in order to be bioavailable.
Most commercial snack bars use grains, nuts and seeds that have not been soaked. Therefore, they make the digestive system work harder. Even the Paleo bars are not using properly prepared nuts and seeds.
There are a few companies that sell soaked and dried nuts but that can get expensive. It is so easy to have prepared nuts and seeds on hand when you follow the directions here for preparing activated nuts.
Plantains Contain Resistant Starch and Other Nutrients
As I’ve stated before, plantains provide important resistant starch that feeds your microbiome. They contain loads of potassium, vitamin A, folate and all the B vitamins as well as minerals such as calcium and zinc. Wow! What a powerhouse of nutrition!
I also love using them as egg replacements as they help hold things together well in baking.
When you start to eat a prebiotic food that contains resistant starch, such as green plantains, use caution as to how much you eat. If you experience intestinal gas, upset or bloating, that is a sign that your bacteria need nurturing and you need to take it slowly. Ripened plantains (yellow/black) have less resistant starch.
- 2 cup shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup coconut concentrate
- 2 medium black plantain (ripe)
- 1 small ripe banana – if using green plantains, otherwise you will not need this
- 1 Tbsp honey (where to buy sweeteners and spices) (taste the batter, you may not even need this)
- 2 Tbsp gelatin mixed in 1/4 cup water (do this at the last minute and quickly)
- 1 heaping tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Peel the plantain by cutting off the edges, cutting it in half and scoring it along the length
- Place your thumb under the edge and peel back the skin – if there is any skin left on the plantain cut it out
- Chop the plantain into small pieces and place in food processor
- Puree the plantain and the banana until very smooth
- Add the coconut concentrate, cinnamon, honey, vanilla and salt and mix well (taste batter to make sure it is sweet enough)
- Mix up the gelatin with the water and add to the batter and quickly combine
- Add the shredded coconut and mix just to combine
- Place the batter onto the cookie sheet that is lined with parchment and lightly greased with coconut oil
- Smooth it out with a spatula as best you can, pulling the edges in from the sides to make smooth
- Sprinkle some more cinnamon on top and work it in with the spatula
- Bake at 325º F for about 20 – 25 minutes or until slightly browned around the edges
- Cut into 12 bars with a pizza wheel
- Let cool on a rack
- Wrap individually in wax paper, store in a zip lock in refrigerator or freezer
14 x 17 cookie sheet
Parchment paper greased with coconut oil (where to buy parchment paper)
Variation if you Like Nuts
Add 1 cup of chopped pecans or other nut to batter and mix after you add the shredded coconut. Use a little more to sprinkle on top with some cinnamon. The second photo has the nuts.
How would you suggest substituting plantain flour in the recipe instead of the actual ripe product?