These Carrot Cake bars are sweet, filling, and have a delicious texture. They’re also vegan, free of refined sugar, and can be made gluten-free by using certified gluten-free oats. They’re perfect as a healthier dessert option or an energizing pre-workout snack.There’s nothing like a slice of sweet, moist carrot cake, loaded with add-ins like raisins, walnuts and coconut, and topped with cream cheese icing. But if you’re trying to maintain a healthy diet, traditional carrot cake can’t make it onto your menu all the time. Luckily, these No-Bake Carrot Cake Bars can satisfy your carrot cake craving, without loading your body with less-healthy ingredients. Unfortunately cream cheese icing isn’t part of this treat, since I usually eat these bars as a pre- or post-workout snack rather than a dessert, but I’m sure they would taste excellent with a little icing spread on top if you’re serving them for dessert.
Another reason these bars are great is that they let you get a few extra veggies into your diet. Now, I’m not talking about huge servings of vegetables here, but every little bit counts! Carrots provide you with vitamin A, which has immune benefits, and promotes skin and eye health.
Besides the carrots, these bars contain some other super food ingredients as well:
Dates have a multitude of nutritional benefits, and you can generally buy them in bulk for a fairly low price. They’re useful for many “no-bake” recipes because they provide the stickiness necessary to create a dough, and they add sweetness. Dates are high in fibre, so they help promote digestive health. They also contain magnesium, which studies have found helps reduce inflammation (source). Magnesium also promotes heart health and can help you feel more energetic (more energy is definitely something I need as a university student).
Walnuts are another nutrient powerhouse – they contain protein and healthy fats, particularly omega-3 fatty acids. The benefits of omega-3s are extensive – check out this webpage by the University of Maryland for more information about the benefits of omega-3s! Walnuts also contain vitamin E, which promotes skin health.
One thing I love about these bars, and homemade energy bars in general, is that they’re easy to take on the go. A lot of energy bars and protein bars on the market (particularly those that are available to purchase on my campus) are high in sugar and have an extensive ingredient list. Making my own bars is easy, and I know every ingredient I’m putting into my body, so I often opt to make them at home. Plus, bring these to the gym, and your workout buddies will be very jealous of your delicious post-workout snack! Not that I cook because I want people to think my food looks awesome. Of course not. Never.
One other note – I know many university students living in a student house may not have a food processor in their kitchen. So, if your parents have one at their house, capitalize on the opportunity and make these delicious treats while you’re at home. Alternatively, you may be able to find a food processor on a website like Kijiji for a less expensive price than buying one in-store. They’re a very versatile tool, and I use mine weekly to make snacks/treats like this one, sauces, and puréed soups.