Almond Joy Bars and Other Healthy Snack Solutions

Healthy Desserts Almond Joy Candy Recipe

In trying to eat healthy I find that one of the biggest struggles that I have (and from what I’ve read, others share the same problem) is having healthy alternatives for snacks around the house.

You know, your kids tell you they’re hungry, or you’ve got the munchies, or you have friends coming over and would like to have quick healthy food to serve.

Well, having healthy snack options can be done.

Of course there are the old standbys of fruit or veggie sticks, but sometimes it’s nice to have a little variety around.

For me, a busy mom with a lot on my plate, I need food to be:

  • quick
  • easy
  • healthy
  • inexpensive

You too? Well, occasionally I’ll make something special that takes quite a bit of extra time, but here I’ve compiled a list of our healthy, on the go recipes that are our favorites in the hopes that they’ll help you in your moment of snack desperation.

First – “Dips”

I love dips and dipping things into them. My oldest doesn’t, but that doesn’t keep him from eating these fabulous dips on top of rice, whatever grain we happen to have cooked, spread on my Focaccia Flax Bread, with popcorn, or alone :-) .

Our family favorites:

  • Savory Hummus – Either with or without tahini, one of my friends told me that this is the best hummus she had ever had.
  • Fast and Yummy Bean Dip – Another widely requested recipe of mine. Great with almost any kind of bean. Needs a new title (any ideas?) – but it really is this. Fast. Yummy.
  • Vegetable Dip – This great allergy-free recipe doubles as an egg and soy-free mayonnaise.

Second – Salty Snacks

  • Herbes de Provence Popcorn – I’ve been told that this popcorn is addictive. It is.
  • Special Seasoning Popcorn – Yes, we like popcorn here. A lot. Too much. I can’t decide which seasoning I like better. Both are a hit wherever we go. And we bring this popcorn with us a lot to avoid GMO corn chips at potlucks and the like.
  • Kale Chips – Haven’t tried kale chips? You should. A great way to use up the “brown thumb gardener’s” choice crop!
  • Seasoned Nuts & Seeds – A “seasoned just right” blend that will satisfy all the nibblers in your home

Last But Not Least – The Sweets

Yes, we all love sweets. And chocolate. These again are some of our favorites.

Healthy Almond Joy Bars

Ingredients

Chocolate / Carob Base:

1/2 cup coconut oil (Nutiva is one brand that I use.  Palm would work well too, or butter. See notes below.)
1/2 cup almond butter (any nut or seed butter would work, but almond is especially nice.) See my post on Homemade Nut / Seed Butter.
1/4 cup granulated sweetener. 4-6 scoops stevia extract is a good alternative.  NuNaturals is one good brand of stevia.)
6 Tbsp carob or cocoa powder
3 Tbsp honey or other liquid sweetener (for candida diets, use vegetable glycerine. Now Foods has this at a great price.)
1 tsp vanilla (Frontier is a great alcohol-free brand.)

Coconut Topping:

1 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
7 Tbsp coconut oil
1/3 cup granulated sweetener (or 2-3 scoops stevia extract powder. I recommend NuNaturals.)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp additional flavoring (optional. Almond or coconut are good choices)
2 tsp arrowroot powder (cornstarch may be substituted)
Almonds halves or slices (optional)

Method:

Base:

1. Melt oil and nut or seed butter over low heat.

2. Stir in carob and sweetener and combine thoroughly (See my post on Substituting Sweeteners for Cooking and Baking.)

3. Add and mix in remaining ingredients. Stir continuously until mixture slightly thickens. Remove from heat.

4. Stir in liquid sweetener (or substitute a granulated with water) and vanilla.

5. Spread mixture into 8×8 pan. While you make topping, place in freezer or fridge to harden.

Topping:

1. In small pan, melt oil and add coconut flakes. Stir.

2. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer slightly and stir until it thickens a little.

3. Once chocolate mixture is hardened enough to work with, gently smooth coconut mixture over top.

4. Place slivered or whole almonds on top if desired. Place pan in the freezer until hardened. The fridge will work, but takes a bit longer.

5. Slice into desired size. They’ll be a bit hard to cut right from the freezer so let the thaw a bit first.

6. Store in the refrigerator.

Notes

1. Coconut oil softens at room temperature so these treats hold up better in cooler weather. If you’d like to have these in the warmer months, try substituting cocoa butter instead. For coconut oil, expeller pressed, like Jarrow, has little to no coconut flavor. Nutiva has a lot of coconut flavor and smell. Use what you like.

2. Stevia extract is super sweet. One scoop is 1/32 of a teaspoon, so use sparingly!

3.  Sweetener options for those who are avoiding sugars are xylitol and erythritol and vegetable glycerine.  NOW Foods makes affordable options of each.

These recipes should get you off to a pretty good start in the hunt for healthy snacks that will please your family. I hope you’ll leave a comment here or on my blog, Whole New Mom and let me know what you think!

What’s your favorite healthy snack?

Adrienne, of Whole New Mom, is a wife and homeschooling mother of two boys, one of whom has Asperger’s Syndrome and life-threatening food allergies. In her past life she worked in the financial services industry and also taught in Japan. She has a passion to help others navigate the sea of information on the road to healthier lives, while trusting God for the results of their efforts. Additionally, she is a blossoming food freedom advocate. Because she loves to (and can’t afford not to :-) ), she specializes in frugal living and simplifying special diets. You can also find her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

52 Responses to Almond Joy Bars and Other Healthy Snack Solutions

  • I’m with you all the way. Quick. Easy. Healthy. Inexpensive. Four great criteria in my gluten free kitchen. Thank you so much for this post. I can’t wait to try this recipe. Yum!

    [Reply]

    Adrienne Urban Reply:

    @Ellen (Gluten Free Diva), I hope you like them! I made some just 2 days ago and they are almost gone :-) . Or maybe I should say :-( .

    [Reply]

  • I LOVE coconut, these bars look great, yet still have lots of heart healthy ingredients. Perfect for that late afternoon sweet craving.
    I’m happy to find this site, it’s new to me! I love sharing recipes on my blog and hope to try some of these out.

    [Reply]

    Adrienne Urban Reply:

    @Emily @ Random Recycling, Welcome! I’m new to this site too since it’s so new :-) . I hope to hear how you like them!

    [Reply]

  • Iris says:

    Love this post, Adrienne! Looks delicious!

    [Reply]

    Adrienne Urban Reply:

    @Iris, Thanks, Iris! They really are good – may too good!

    [Reply]

  • Almond Joy without guilt and all that processed junk. Brilliant!

    [Reply]

    Adrienne Urban Reply:

    @Wendy @ Celiacs in the House, Thanks for the compliment, Wendy! They are my husband’s favorite candy – but he only eats my version now :-) .

    [Reply]

  • Wow. My boys would devour these. I must try them. I am all about quick and healthy these days. My favorite snacks always involve some sort of fresh veggies or fresh or dried fruit and nuts and seeds when the kids are starving after school. Such great tips here!! Now I am off to check out all of those awesome recipes you linked to! :)

    [Reply]

    Adrienne Urban Reply:

    @Kim-Cook It Allergy Free, I have soaked and dried nuts available for my kids too, but my oldest has a lot of allergies and can only have almonds and macadamias (the expensive ones :-( .) Hope you find something you really like – the Bean Fudge is for sure one of the easiest, together w/ the popcorn seasoning.

    [Reply]

  • So glad to have found this blog! I have added your blog to the info at:https://www.facebook.com/groups/LivingGlutenFree/

    [Reply]

    Adrienne Urban Reply:

    @Deni Breitenbach, Thanks, Deni!

    [Reply]

  • Ricki Heller says:

    These sound great! Always love a new coconut-based recipe to try (and my hubby will be thrilled). :D

    [Reply]

    Adrienne Urban Reply:

    @Ricki Heller, We LOVE coconut as well (and Almond Joy is my husband’s favorite).

    [Reply]

  • Ela says:

    Your compendia are always so rich and generous!

    I love the look of this almond bar recipe too, know some folks who would enjoy it.

    I might have raised this before, but I’m kinda paranoid about heating omega-6 rich nuts like almonds, because of the danger of going trans. Have you tried making these with a dehydrator? Otherwise, I might try them with mac nut butter or coconut butter and some almond extract–I know you said any nut butter would work. I’ll let you know when I get round to trying them!
    Ela

    [Reply]

    Adrienne Urban Reply:

    @Ela, I haven’t done researh on omega-6′s, but are you concerned about the melting of the almond butter in the pan? I soak and dehydrate all of my nuts in the dehydrator at a low temperature. I have personally made them with pumpkin seed butter and sunflower seed butter as well. Coconut butter might be a bit stiff but I bet it would taste great!

    [Reply]

  • Kathryn Arnold says:

    I pricked up my ears at “snacks”. After losing a boatload of weight while eating strictly to improve my health I am dismayed at the fare I find at “bring a finger food” events. And because inflammation is such an issue, I’m avoiding grains (Omega 6) and legumes (lectin). Perhaps I should be perusing paleo blogs, but I’m not really ready or willing to go primal! Any suggestions?

    [Reply]

    Adrienne Urban Reply:

    @Kathryn Arnold, No matter where I go (almost) outside of my home, it is near impossible to eat the food. Especially if you care about the quality of the animal protein. I must say that my grasp on “paleo, primal” and the like is not great so please forgive me and spell out what you are thinking of doing and what suggestions you would like. I am a reformed sugar a holic and have gone gluten free (all whole grains) and just recently was advised to go grain free. I am doing it and am feeling so much better, but I am doing a metal detox that is overwhelming my system right now so I am hopeful that grain free will be temporary.
    Is the inflammation a big deal for you or are you just concerned about it? If you are having inflammation issues then dairy might be a good thing to avoid as well as sugar. Let me know if I can help further. I will say that I will most likely have more grain free foods on my site as time goes on :-) .

    [Reply]

    Kathryn Arnold Reply:

    @Adrienne Urban, Yes, inflammation is a big deal… IBS, fibromyalgia, feeble immune system, the whole bagful. By leaning heavily on green smoothies heavily laced with anti-inflammatory spices and lots of berries I’m barely keeping the gut in line. Fermenting is next, but like all the rest of the good eating, it’s going to be a major challenge due to my living arrangement (renting a room – the upside is I’m way out in the country). Are you doing metals chelation ($) or some other way? Sadly, I’m convinced of the necessity to do a thorough cleanse regimen… colon, parasite, candida, kidney, liver, and metals (did I forget something?). Sadly, because I dread the whole process (well, I dread any new process). I’ll do it from a whole foods perspective ala God’s Pharmacy at Alternative Health Solutions (FaceBook). As for paleo/primal, if you’re not receiving newsletters from marksdailyapple.com I’m sure you’ll find that interesting… check his archives for a good idea which way he points. LOVE your blog. :) Found it via something shared by (I think) Heal Thyself!. Are the bugs as bad in Michigan (and the whole north central) as I’ve heard? Still wondering where my wandering will take me when I figure out what God has in store.

    [Reply]

    Adrienne Urban Reply:

    @Kathryn Arnold, I have several thoughts about what you are dealing with. First of all, green smoothies can wreak havoc on your thyroid if you are including cruciferous greens in there (like kale, chard, etc.) so I would back off of that if I were you.
    Also, I wonder if you’ve seen my post on adrenal fatigue?

    I am working with a practitioner on Nutritional Balancing and it is the first time that I have gotten real results. I have had 3 things clear up (2 were 20+ year conditions) and am finally functioning pretty well after a really bad bought of adrenal burnout. You can find the link to my practitioner in that post and she is quite reasonable, works with people long distance and is quite sharp.
    Hope that helps you on your path. Oh – what do you mean by bugs? The parasites or mosquitos?

  • Maggie says:

    Oh I really need to get on top of soaking and dehydrating my nuts and seeds Adrienne. Thanks for the reminder. I love your list of snack foods, and I always love a healthified (just made that up) version of a chocolate bar :)

    [Reply]

    Adrienne Urban Reply:

    @Maggie, I can’t believe what a difference soaking and dehydrating the nuts and seeds makes in digestibility and taste. I can honestly say that I would do it regardless of the health benefits. And ditto on the chocolate bar thing :-) .

    [Reply]

  • Alisa says:

    Just pinned this! I love that it is a no bake recipe. Will be un-baking for my husband and I soon. Thanks Adrienne!

    [Reply]

    Adrienne Urban Reply:

    @Alisa, Thanks for the pin, Alisa and nice to meet you! If you have the chance let me know what you think!

    [Reply]

  • Amber says:

    I can’t agree more! Soaking/dehydrating is the way to go!!

    Great post Adrienne.

    Hugs,
    –Amber

    [Reply]

    Adrienne Urban Reply:

    @Amber, Thanks, Amber! Hope you are well!

    [Reply]

  • Diana says:

    You should try Kal’s Flaked Brewers Yeast on popcorn with a little Real Salt. Yummm

    [Reply]

    Adrienne Urban Reply:

    @Diana, Never tried Brewers Yeast. We loved nutritional yeast, however. I’m a bit concerned about it now since we have candida but my practitioner says we can give it a try again :-) .

    [Reply]

  • What a wonderful resource this post is! There’s so many great healthy snacks here, and those Almond Joy bars sound fantastic.

    [Reply]

    Adrienne Urban Reply:

    @April @ The 21st Century Housewife, Thanks, April, for your kind words! The bars are a bit too fantastic :-) .

    [Reply]

  • Run DMT says:

    I can’t get my girls to eat hummus. I wish they would like it. My 17 month old loves the stuff for there’s hope yet! lol

    Your healthy Almond Joy bars sounds heavenly. Can’t wait to try them!

    Checking that kale chip recipe now.

    [Reply]

    Adrienne Urban Reply:

    @Run DMT, Hmmm…you may want to try them with my hummus. I think it has a nicer flavor than the store bought. Or maybe they’ll just learn to love it in time. :-) .

    [Reply]

  • Great tips Adrienne. I love this Joy bar recipe! It’s a favorite of mine.

    [Reply]

    Adrienne @ Whole New Mom Reply:

    @France @ Beyond The Peel, Thanks, France – ours too! I just made a double batch this week and unfortunately it’s gone already :-) .

    [Reply]

  • If these Almond Joy bars are any indication, I’ll be having lots of fun exploring some of your other recipes. Thanks for such good thoughts on quick, easy, healthy and inexpensive! I need them even though my kids grew up and left home long ago.

    [Reply]

    Adrienne Urban Reply:

    @Pat @ Elegantly, Gluten-Free, Nice to meet you, Pat. I think, regardless of income, inexpensive is great. Good stewardship of what we have – and the others are just pain old necessary for everyone! Take care and hope to see you around again! Thanks for the encouragement.

    [Reply]

  • Karen says:

    These look so good and I really appreciate the various ingredient alternatives you include. I’m pinning this and will be trying it very soon!

    [Reply]

    Adrienne Urban Reply:

    @Karen, Thanks for the pin, Karen! We’ve got so many sensitivities in our home, and my readers do too, so I try to give alternatives. But I do miss some I’m sure!

    [Reply]

  • Kathryn Arnold says:

    I will check out the link, thanks. I never heard of nutritional balancing. AS for the bugs, I guess that’s a yes!

    [Reply]

    Adrienne Urban Reply:

    @Kathryn Arnold, Actually, I wasn’t sure what you meant about the bugs. I hadn’t heard of the nutritional balancing either but it’s very interesting. Just ran into another friend who has just gotten started and just the dietary recommendations have helped her a great deal. Take care!

    [Reply]

  • Julie says:

    After seeing this recipe on several occasions I finally gave in and made it. The reason for my hesitation is because I knew I would devour them in no time. Sure enough; made them Friday night, there are two pieces left today! Shared with my husband and daughter, but still, they practically evaporated in two days!
    It is a great recipe, the chocolate (or carob in my case) layer was so smooth, and the stevia worked perfectly to sweeten it. The only thing I added was a very tiny bit of chili powder to the carob layer because we enjoy that subtle spicy chocolate (carob) flavor.
    Thanks Adrienne for developing it!

    [Reply]

    Adrienne @ Whole New Mom Reply:

    @Julie, Thanks for taking the time to share, Julie! I am so glad that you enjoyed this! What a nice idea about the chili powder – was it a mix or just straight chili? I had the friend (whom I mentioned in the post) asking for more today :-) . So nice to have something that is sure to please.

    [Reply]

  • sl says:

    I want to try this recipe. Where do you get coconut oil? Is it a must have ingredient for the recipe. I live in town w/walmart & kroger but go to a bigger town w/trader joe and whole foods. Thanks for your help.

    [Reply]

    Adrienne @ Whole New Mom Reply:

    @sl, You could also substitute another fat there like butter or a healthy shortening substitute. Whole Foods and TJs for sure have it. Another great resource is iherb. I am going to put a link in the post for a nice coconut oil that they carry so you can check them out. They have a low free shipping threshold and lots of great healthy products. Hope that helps and let me know if you need anything else!

    [Reply]

  • I have to confess that keeping healthy snacks on hand has been the hardest part for me in switching to real food! Thanks for the tips and recipes!

    I would love for you to come share this post on my link-up, Make-ahead Mondays, at Raising Isabella!

    http://naturalparentingunnaturalworld.blogspot.com/2012/02/make-ahead-monday-6.html

    Hope to see you there!

    [Reply]

    Adrienne @ Whole New Mom Reply:

    @Raising Isabella, Hi there! Thanks for sharing and for telling me about your link up. I’ll try to make it next week!

    [Reply]

  • “You had me at the photo!” YUMMMO!
    Those look SO good.
    I will definitely be making those.
    I could definitely come over and snack with you ANYTIME!
    I LOVE kale chips and cannot enough veggie dips.
    Thankyou for all of those incredible delicious healthy snack options.
    Just amazing :)

    [Reply]

    Adrienne @ Whole New Mom Reply:

    @Tess Masters @theblendergirl, You are welcome to come by as long as you don’t mind the messy house thing :-) . Thanks for the kind words, Tess!

    [Reply]

    Tess Masters @theblendergirl Reply:

    @Adrienne @ Whole New Mom, LOL! Don’t mind! I would be coming for the food and company :)

    [Reply]

    Adrienne @ Whole New Mom Reply:

    @Tess Masters @theblendergirl, Name the date :-) .

  • These look fantastic Thanks for sharing.

    [Reply]

    Adrienne @ Whole New Mom Reply:

    @Sarah @NapClan.com, You’re welcome! Sorry it took so long for me to respond. Hope to see you around again.

    [Reply]

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