Grain Free Plantain Bars (dairy and nut free)
If you follow my blog, you know that I am all about finding portable grain free snacks to fill the gaps between meals. When I first started out on my motherhood journey, I limited snacks to only whole, fresh foods. That was super easy to do when the boys and girls were not quite school age and time was much more flexible. But, now with the boys at eight and the girls at four life is much busier. Not only that but taste preferences have changed and perceptions about what should be eaten when are different.
The boys are ready for something energy dense when they get home from school. No longer are they content with a plate of vegetables, nuts and a protein. They want to grab a quick something that they can carry around and eat while unloading their backpacks and getting ready to go outside and play. They girls see what their brothers are eating and want to eat the same thing. So, I have to create something that accommodates those needs while not sacrificing health or breaking the budget.
There are many alternative snacks like almond flour crackers and pressed fruit bars to choose from if you are looking for grain free options. But, my boys could easily eat a whole box of crackers or two bars at a time and still be hungry. That is an expensive snack! So, the only option is to create my own. Hence the full library of muffin, cookie and bar recipes! I can batch cook and freeze some of these recipes and use them for snacks!
One cup of cooked mashed plantain contains the following: (% Daily Value) 232 calories 62.3 g carbohydrate 1.6 g protein 0.4 g fat 4.6 g fiber 21.8 mg vitamin C (36%) 1,818 IU vitamin A (36%) 0.5 mg B6 (24%) 930 mg potassium (27%) 64 mg magnesium (16%) 1.2 mg iron (6%)
Potassium is the third most abundant mineral in the body and when depleted it can affect the function for a number of organs and processes. Plantains are one of the most potassium rich foods on the planet!! Potassium affects blood pressure, skeletal and smooth muscle contraction and regulates heart rhythm.
Fiber has a massive effect on the digestive system and plays a big role in keeping it regular. One cup of plantains contributes almost a fifth of the recommended daily fiber intake (25-30g). Plantains help relieve constipation, contributes to feeling full, stabilizes blood sugar and lowers cholesterol!
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that fights against free radical damage. Plantains contribute over 35% of the vitamin C needed per day, making it one of the best vitamin C foods around. Vitamin C plays a big role in growing and repairing tissues all over the body. It is also involved in forming collagen, a protein used in making skin, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels, as well as maintaining cartilage, bones and teeth.
Vitamin A is another powerful antioxidant found in abundance in plantains at over 36% the daily recommended value. Along with vitamin C, it helps control your immune response. It has a large part in skin health and cell growth and is a necessary element for wound healing. Vitamin A can neutralize free radicals and help prevent inflammation.
Vitamin B6 makes several important neurotransmitters that carry information from one cell to another. It helps make serotonin and norepinephrine which stabilizes mood and melatonin which regulates circadian rhythm.
Magnesium is commonly deficient in the Western diet due to soil depletion from overarming. Magnesium affects over 300 biochemical reactions in the body from helping regulate blood pressure to preventing osteoporosis. It helps reduce risk of type 2 diabetes by controlling blood glucose levels via carbohydrate metabolism and insulin regulation.
Are you convinced yet! Lets move onto this yummy and simple recipe!
4 large green plantains 8 eggs 1/2 cup melted coconut oil 2 Tbsp vanilla 6 pitted dates/2 Tbsp honey or maple syrup (optional) 2 tsp baking powder 1 cup dairy free dark chocolate chips
Putting it all together:
Preheat the oven to 350F. line a 9 x 11″ pyrex with parchment paper.
Place peeled and chopped plantain in a food processor or high speed blender with the eggs. Process until smooth. Next add in the coconut oil, vanilla and sweetener.
Process again until incorporated. You will have to stop and scrape the sides once or twice. Add baking powder and process one more time. Fold in the chocolate chips and pour into your prepared pan.
Bake for 22-26 minutes.
These work great in the lunch box or as a car snack as they don’t crumble!! They also freeze very well and will stay fresh for up to 6 months in the freezer in a sealed ziplock bag.
36 Servings Calories: 86 Carbohydrate: 8.4 g Fiber: 0.6 g Fat: 5g Protein: 1.8g