Apple, Spice and Everything Nice Bars

by Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit) on January 24, 2011

Our past weekend was filled with creativity, screws, and paint! Once we had a plan, we spent Sunday building a studio in our dining room. More details to come once the paint dries.

Also – I’ve finally posted my training schedule from August to present and new marathon preparation schedule. You can read about my goals [and my long knee healing process] on my new workouts page.

I love working out.

I love eating.

The two really were made for one another.

Problem is, so many people don’t know what to eat before or after a workout to maximize their energy, results, and performance.

Changing needs

Changes in our activity levels require changes in diet, both in total calories and in the type of foods eaten. If you’ve taken on a new exercises program, your body requires different nutrients at different times, and usually more of them!

The art of fueling yourself

As many of you know, I’m a huge advocate of breakfast. There will be no recommendations of heading to the gym on an empty stomach. That’s crazy talk.

So… what should you eat and why?


  • Avoid high fat foods. They take forever to digest and we want to make sure that whatever you’ve had before a workout isn’t going to slow you down!
  • Sugar will give you a quick burst of energy, but will ruin your stamina quickly.
  • Carbohydrates will give you a constant source of energy.
  • Protein will keep you satiated.

When: 1-2 hours before. If you don’t have that time, make a smoothie. Enjoy half of it 30minutes before the gym and the other half afterward.


  • 1/2 sliced banana with 1/2 cup yogurt
  • Smoothie: 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup berries, 1 tbsp hemp protein powder
  • 1 hard-boiled egg wrapped in leftover turkey
  • 1 slice of whole grain toast with 1 tbsp almond butter and 1/2 banana, sprinkling chia seeds on it would be good too!
  • Grapes and 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup sweet potato with hard-boiled egg
  • Apple and almond butter


Your body is like a sponge after a workout, ready to soak up any, and all nutrients that come it’s way. We want to make sure then, that the snack you have afterward is full of high quality ingredients. A snack with a combination of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates will hit the spot!

When: 30minutes to 1 hour following your workout


  • soaked chia seeds in 1 cup almond milk with 1/2 cup organic granola
  • oatmeal or other warmed grains with apple sauce, egg white and nuts/seeds
  • chicken salad wrap – chicken, fresh vegetables, and Cashew Caesar dressing
  • Apple, Spice and Everything Nice Bars!…With a tall glass of almond milk

Apple, Spice and Everything Nice Bars

Gluten free, Dairy free, Vegan

Perfect as a post workout snack, these bars have high quality ingredients with loads of fiber, carbohydrates, and protein.


  • 1 cup Enjoy Life crunchy rice – alternatively, you could use rolled oats [wouldn't be gluten free though]
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup crushed almonds – I used my food processor to grind them up
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 cups (250g) dried apples, diced
  • 3 tbsp ground flax
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup brown rice syrup – you could use honey as well [wouldn't be vegan though]
  • 1/4 tsp all spice
  • 1.5 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch ground cloves


  1. Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper. Set aside
  2. Combine crunchy rice, sunflower seeds, crushed almonds, raisins, apple, and flax in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a medium frying pan, add molasses, brown rice syrup, all spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground coves. Heat on low heat for 5 minutes.
  4. Pour sugar mix into large bowl and stir until everything is coated
  5. Push mixture into pan, making sure the mixture lays flat. Place in fridge for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove from fridge, cut into bars, and wrap each in saran wrap.
  7. Return to freezer. Will keep for up to 3 months.

Makes 12 meal sized bars [as seen in the pictures] or 24 snack sized bars

What do you enjoy before/after a workout?

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }


I liked hearing what you recommend/ eat for breakfast- thanks for sharing!


Kat @ Cupcake Kat

Great advice and these bars look awesome
Before/after my workout I like to have an apple and/or trail mix or sometimes a lararbar



these look very good…gonna go read your knee and marathon post to see if it holds out any hope for my loooong knee problems!


Jennifer @ A Busy Nest

These look so great! I really want to make these soon for my children and myself.


Magic of Spice

I love the ingredients here…these look delicious :)



What an incredible blog!! The food you create looks amazing! I just found your blog and am on a no-wheat/bread diet for life so basically no glueten. And you’ve given me several life savers here in one look at your blog! I was wondering what to eat after a workout instead of clif bars! Guess I will be making these bars tonight!
Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with the world!



I want to make this bars, but I don’t have molasses, what can I use as substitute?


Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit)

I’m sure you could use any kind of liquid sweetener – honey, raw agave, coconut nectar… Enjoy the bars, Ester!


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