Physically active lifestyles require a lot of energy, but often lack the time and appetite to obtain adequate amounts. These easy citrus pistachio protein bars are an elevated granola bar, ready to kickstart your refuel and recovery process when you’ve completed a tough workout, but just don’t have time to prep a meal or snack.
Pistachios are an all-star nut, offering 6 grams of plant protein per serving, with all essential amino acids. Plus, about 90% of the fat in pistachios are the better-for-you mono and poly unsaturated fats, that support heart health, joint health, and proper inflammatory processes. And, when it comes to fiber, you’ll get 3 grams per serving to support your gut.
On top of the macronutrient profile, pistachios offer many microminerals such as iron, important for energy metabolism, and potassium, critical for fluid balance and muscle contractions. And if you’re choosing more plant-based foods, pistachios offer a few nutrients promoted for their content in eggs – choline, lutein, and zeazanthin. All have been touted as important during pregnancy as well as for cognition.
While tough workouts require significant protein and energy replenishment, spreading intake in moderate amounts throughout the day is most key for continuous repair and recovery. While these bars offer 6 grams of protein each, they serve as a way to kick start the repair process before you can get your hands on a substantial meal made with more whole food protein sources. They also offer carbohydrates to replenish glycogen and enough energy to spare muscle protein breakdown in a small package that’s perfect if you deal with post-exercise appetite suppression.
Prep ahead, pack in a small reusable container for the gym, and store the rest in your fridge. Enjoy within 30 minutes of a workout, and be sure to get a full balanced meal in within 2 hours to continue and optimize your recovery process.
Citrus Pistachio Protein Bars
- 1 cup packed medjool dates, pitted
- 1 ¾ cup shelled, lightly salted, Wonderful pistachios
- ⅓ cup rolled oats
- ½ – 1 mandarin, zest of
- 1 tbsp mandarin juice approximately 3 segments
- Blend dates in a food processor for approximately 10-15 seconds, until finely chopped.
- Scrape the sides of the food processor before adding the remainder of ingredients.
- Pulse for 10 seconds before scraping the sides, and pulse an additional 5-10 seconds, until mixture is sticky to touch, but pieces of the pistachio and oats are still visible.
- Cut wax paper to the length of a loaf pan with the width of the paper being long enough to reach the top of each side. Transfer the mixture into the loaf pan before pressing the down with your hands or a flat spatula, until firm and smooth.
- Chill in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes to help mixture set before cutting.
- Grabbing the wax paper on either side of the loaf pan, lift the mixture up and onto a cutting board. Cut into 8 bars and serve immediately or refrigerate for up to one week.