I’m currently intermittent fasting while following Leangains, and one of the hardest parts is trying to cram in over 250 grams of carbs in 8 hours on training days. More often than I’d like to admit, the hours in my feeding window tick away, and I’ve only eaten maybe 50 or so grams of carbs, then I realize what time it is, and I still have an impossible amount of food to eat in a very short period. I subsequently go into panic mode, and often reach for candy to hit macros. It’s not the most nutritionally intelligent food choice, I know. If you sit down and eat an entire 500 calorie bag of gummy bears and try to do anything but nap afterwards, best of luck to you. You just bought a ticket to pass out city.

What if I don’t want to pass out? What if I want to continue to function like a human being through the evening, rather than like a hibernating bear?

I think I’ve found a solution by baking out of the hole I’ve dug myself. I needed something carb dense, but low in fat for training days. I also wanted something that wouldn’t just put me in a carb coma, so I added in a bit of protein powder.

Finished Granola Bars

Why the protein? Here’s a little science for you: There’s a neuropeptide in our brains called orexin, that’s suppressed when we eat high carb foods with no significant protein present. This suppression leads to lethargy, which, along with the crazy spike in insulin from a straight up carb meal, will put you into nap mode. When protein is present in the meal, this suppression of orexin is cancelled out. Add in a bit of fiber to slow the absorption of the carbs, then the insulin spike won’t be so severe, and bam, perfect pre/post workout snack providing long lasting energy.

Mixing the recipe ingredients

If you’re intermittent fasting, bulking, or you’re just trying to carb up for training, work, or life, these are perfect for you.

This is the first in a series of Leangains friendly recipes, so I hope you all enjoy it!

Ingredients used
Ingredients used.

Ingredients:

  • 107 grams rolled oats (1 cup)
  • 18 grams crispy rice cereal (½ cup)
  • 29 grams vanilla protein powder (⅓ cup)
  • 2 grams cinnamon (½ tsp)
  • 128 grams pitted and diced dates (½ cup, packed)
  • 81 grams dried cherries (½ cup)
  • 4 grams vanilla extract (1 tsp)
  • 116 grams honey (¼ cup + 2 tbs)
  • 19 grams crunchy chocolate toffee peanut butter (1 tbs)*
  • 16 grams smooth almond butter (1 tbs)

*You can use whatever peanut butter you want, or just use 35 grams (2 tbs) of any nut butter instead of doing half and half as I did. It’s not a deal breaker here.

Macros for one bar.
Macros for one bar.

Directions:

Set oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Measure out the oats down to cinnamon in a bowl and stir. Measure out the rest of the ingredients and add them to the same bowl, and stir well. Line an 8x8 pan with greased parchment paper and spoon out batter. Pat down batter with your fingers, making it as thin or as thick as you’d like. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Mine were perfect at 17 minutes. I cut mine into 10 bars, so the nutritional information is for 1/10th of the recipe.

Finished granola bar
Bar of deliciousness. Enjoy, folks!


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Sarah Wagner

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Sarah handles all things marketing for Gravitus. An avid baker, she enjoys developing macro friendly recipes. She's been lifting heavy since 2013, and loves the barbell like she loves cute puppies.