Loving the BITE: Fresh Chocolaty Orange Fuel Bars
Back by popular demand, another homemade, real-food, training fuel bar. We received so much positive feedback from the fresh lemon bar that we thought we’d do it again. In fact, I have to personally add to the positive feedback (yes, to myself, thank you), as I’ve been loving the lemon bars on my recent rides including any 2+ hour rides here in Colorado and a longer ride on the new Magnificent 7 Trail system outside of Moab last month. They work great as a not-to-sweet, a little salty, delicious fuel option that I actually look forward to eating. And, the consistency, which turns out to be somewhere between a bar and a gel when it’s warm in my jersey pocket, is perfect for me…cause I like to do a little more riding, and a little less chewing.
So, here we are again. Only 6 whole-food ingredients = 1 chocolaty orange fuel bar, perfect for your ride.
Recipe of the Week: Fresh Chocolaty Orange Fuel Bars
- 1 1/2 cup raw almonds
- 1 orange
- 2/3 cups golden raisins or 18 dates
- 2 ounces (70%+ cocoa) dark chocolate bar, chopped
- 1 Tbsp organic honey
- ¼ tsp salt
Place almonds and raisins in food processor, process until finely chopped. Zest entire orange (provides ~3 Tbsp) and juice 1/2 of the orange (~1/4 cup, save remaining half for other use)…add zest, juice, chocolate and salt to food processor. Process until smooth, but not quite a paste (this doesn’t need to be exact). Press into a greased bread loaf pan (if it’s sticky, you can use wax paper to press). Place in freezer 1 hour, or in refrigerator until firm. Cut into 8 equal bars or squares. Store in refrigerator – wrap in plastic wrap or place in a snack-sized baggie to take with you.
Makes 8 bars.
There are lots of great reasons to eat our Orangey-Chocolate Fuel Bar, and to consume oranges in general. Of course, as a weight-weeny athlete myself, I’d never tell you to pack an orange in your jersey (c’mon, a ½-pound fuel option?). Instead, we’ll use whole foods to make convenient, efficient-energy fuel for training (Orange Bar) and we’ll keep the slow-digestion, whole food orange in the Daily Nutrition. Either way, this week, it’s all about oranges. Why?
- How about more than 170 different phytonutrients and more than 60 flavonoids, in just one orange? Many of these components have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and blood clot inhibiting properties, as well as strong antioxidant effects. Some of these phytochemicals are so potent and persistent, they can be detected in the bloodstream 4-6 times as long as other strong phytochemicals, such as those in cocoa and green tea.
- For heart health, there’s the flavanone herperidin, which has been specifically shown to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol in animal studies. What’s more, the more antioxidants from oranges and other high-antioxidant foods in the blood stream, the less cholesterol becomes oxidized and able to stick to artery wall and cause blockages. Clean arteries can definitely make you a better cyclist.
- Next, there’s beta-cryptoxanthin, an orange-red carotenoid found in highest amounts in oranges, corn, pumpkin, papaya, red bell peppers, tangerines, and peaches. It protects your lungs, and even may significantly lower one’s risk of developing lung cancer. In fact, its protective effects even decrease the risk of lung cancer among smokers. There’s some strong protection… healthy lungs are certainly beneficial on your ride.
- And, let’s not forget vitamin C – arguably the most well-known nutrient in an orange. Just one orange supplies 116.2% of the daily value for vitamin C. Vitamin C is the primary water-soluble antioxidant in the body, disarming free radicals and preventing damage both inside and outside cells. In fact, one result of free radical damage inside a cell is damage to the DNA and a result of cancer. To fight and prevent such damage, it’s absolutely worthwhile to consume many whole, fresh, high-antioxidant foods each day.
- Last, but not least, there’s the fiber. Three to five grams of wonderful, healthful fiber in just one orange.
Importantly, many of these potent phytonutrients are found in the peel and inner white pulp of the orange, rather than in its liquid orange center. So, when you consume an orange, go ahead and peel, but leave on some of the white membrane. And, find creative ways to use the peel. Zest into foods, such as our bar, into your water, into your smoothie, or onto your salad. This is also another reason that I greatly favor whole fruits over fruit juice.
You’ll also absorb more of the phytochemicals and flavonoids in an orange, and they’ll benefit your body more, when eaten from the whole, fresh fruit and not isolated nutrients in a “whole food” pill or powder. So, don’t drive to your favorite supplement store just yet. Instead, choose a real orange. It’s refreshing. No matter if you’re relaxing in your kitchen, or climbing a hill on the pavement.
Fuel Your Ride. Nourish Your Body.