Healthier Almond Joy Bars

March 8, 2017
Healthier Almond Joy Bars - A killer combination of coconut, almonds, and dark chocolate make these a healthy and easy alternative to the classic candy bar

“Handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs”   ~ Pearl Strachan Hurd

Healthier Almond Joy Bars - A killer combination of coconut, almonds, and dark chocolate make these a healthy and easy alternative to the classic candy bar

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According to Webster:

“Can” – To be able to.  To have the ability, power or skill to; to know how to.  To have the power or means to; to have the right qualifications to.  May or have permission to.  To have the possibility

At any given moment of any given day, we have the possibility.  Whether or not we choose to seize it, is up to us

On the flip side

“Can't” – To not have power or skill.  To not know how.  To not have the power or means.  To not have the right qualifications.  To not have permission to.  To not have possibilities.

When I think about the word can't, it almost makes me a little defiant.  It makes me want to push a little bit harder in the opposite direction.  Looking back, I realize it's also the reason I've stayed stuck

If we tell ourselves we don't have power, we don't have knowledge, we don't have the means, we don't have the qualifications, we don't have permission, and we don't have any possibility.  My goodness, it's nearly suffocating, not to mention ..


Healthier Almond Joy Bars - A killer combination of coconut, almonds, and dark chocolate make these a healthy and easy alternative to the classic candy bar

Today, Part IV; the last of a short series devoted to “I can” vs. “I can't”   A series inspired by a friend and health coach who's on a mission to prove to her clients that “Yes, they can!”  Turns out the girl who's usually gung-ho, tells herself “I can't” more often than I ever realized

I've been sharing how I've handled a few of my can'ts these past few weeks, and found answers to the question

“So if you can't do that, what can you do instead?”

— — —

“I'm going to a restaurant and can't control my food  vs.  “In this moment what can I choose that will help me with my goals?”

“Life is busy, and I can't control my normal routine  vs.  “What's the minimum routine I can do during this crunch time?”

“I'm going to a friend's house for dinner and I can't be in charge of the menu  vs.  “When I feel the meal is out of my control, what can I do to ensure success?”

“I can't remember to track my food, and I don't have time”  vs.  “How can I look for windows of opportunity in my days?”

“I can't work out because of an injury  vs.  “If I can't work this body part .. what other parts can I work instead?”

“I can't work out because I don't have time  v.s  “What can I do instead to squeeze a few minutes of movement into my day?”

“I can't lose weight while I'm on vacation  vs.  “What can I do through healthy habits while I'm away from home?”

“I can't maintain my healthy habits because I'm feeling sad, worried, stressed, or anxious  vs.  “How can I feel empowered in these situations instead of turning to food for comfort?”

Healthier Almond Joy Bars - A killer combination of coconut, almonds, and dark chocolate make these a healthy and easy alternative to the classic candy bar

I have a short list of things I wish I’d done in my 30's (respected my more-amazing-than-they-are-now thighs, interviewed grandparents, fostered friendships, followed my gut).  Instead, what I did in my thirties was build a career, build a house, and survive teenagers

I don’t keep those lists anymore.

— — —

Here's what I'd like to do in my 40's


— — —

I know my future self will likely wish that I’d volunteered more; will likely wish I’d worn a bikini (it’s only going downhill – literally – from here); will likely wish I’d had more patience with the pets (but Mom, rolling in the mud is so much fun!)

I wish that, too.

But wishing is wishing.

Living is something different.

What I think my future self will wish I’d have done in my 40’s is precisely what I’m doing in my 40’s: floundering, failing, living, breathing, lamenting, celebrating, questioning, doubting, enjoying, trying, and doing

I'm sure she won't remember how I felt at any given moment.  She won't remember that I was stressed because it was a long week at work, or that I hadn't slept well the night before.

Instead, I'm sure she'll be thankful I showed up every day and did a little something to keep myself healthy.  Because it's only action upon action upon action will get me to the future self that I'm trying to create.  And that woman is going to look back and think

“I'm so thankful that on this particular day she didn't let her emotions prevent her from doing this”

Healthier Almond Joy Bars - A killer combination of coconut, almonds, and dark chocolate make these a healthy and easy alternative to the classic candy bar

Today, the last in the series

I can't do x because I'm feeling y

“I can remember that x and y are completely separate.  I still have a choice.  I can feel all of those feelings and still choose to do the actions”

We've all been there; it's a bummer of a day.

It wouldn't occur to us to tell our children or the puppies, “Sorry guys; you can't eat today because mom is feeling sad”  Instead, we choose to get up off of the sofa, and make a little something for dinner.  Those are physical actions we'll take, no matter what

The same applies when caring for ourselves

Even though our minds are full, we can still reach for the most nutritious food in the moment, get enough sleep, go for a walk, eat a quality protein, or go to bed earlier than we usually would

— — —

And so, as the series draws to a close, my sincerest hope is that one day my future self will tell me:

“You’re not gonna get it.  You’re not gonna believe me when I tell you that your thighs are immaculate, that you don't have to accept can't for yourself anymore.  That you have the possibility in every given situation and circumstance, but you have to be the one to find it.  It's not going to be given to you on a silver platter

And you shouldn’t.  You shouldn’t believe me.  You’re not there yet.

You will be.

And you can believe all those things when you are”

Healthier Almond Joy Bars - A killer combination of coconut, almonds, and dark chocolate make these a healthy and easy alternative to the classic candy bar

I've been participating as part of the  Iowa Food and Family Project‘s blogger team in this year's annual Live Healthy Iowa 10 Week Challenge

My progress report after week 6?

Total minutes of activity this week = 440    and Overall = 3090   (a combination of walking, kickboxing, yoga, resistance class, and weight lifting)

Total pounds lost this week = -1.0  and Overall = 12.3

— — —

A recipe we've loved at our house this week

A healthier version of the classic candy, using simple ingredients: coconut + almonds + good quality dark chocolate.  With a filling that's rich and coconut-y; and chocolate that's smooth, rich, and decadent.  They're just like the “real” thing

They're dead simple to make and nice for when I need a late afternoon energy boost, or whenever, really.  I sprinkle them with things like hemp seed, bee pollen, or cacao nibs for a nutritional boost, and to bump up the pretty



ps:  You can read more of the “I can” vs. “I can't”  series in Part I  |  Part II   |  Part III

I'm participating as part of the  Iowa Food and Family Project‘s blogger team in this year's annual Live Healthy Iowa 10 Week Challenge.  More stories from the Challenge can be found here 

— — —

~ Adapted from My New Roots

Healthier Almond Joy Bars


  • Crust
  • ½ cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 12 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted but not hot

  • Coconut Filling
  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
  • ½ cup coconut milk, canned
  • 2 tbsp honey (or maple syrup to make the recipe vegan)
  • fine grain sea salt

  • Topping
  • 12 oz dark chocolate, chopped (if you're not a dark chocolate fan, semi-sweet or milk are great)
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 3-4 Tbsp almond butter
  • cacao nibs + hemp seeds for sprinkling, optional


  • Line an 8x8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
  • Crust
  • In the bowl of a food processor, add the almonds, coconut, dates, and vanilla.
  • Pulse four or five times
  • Add the coconut oil and pulse until it comes together, being careful not to over mix (it should be finely chopped and a little chunky)
  • Press the base mixture into the prepared pan and put it in the freezer to cool

  • Coconut Filling
  • In the bowl of the food processor (no need to clean it!) add the coconut, coconut milk, honey and a pinch of fine grain sea salt.
  • Pulse until you have a finely ground mixture. Remove the crust from the freezer and add the coconut filling, smoothing until even
  • Return the pan to the freezer

  • Topping
  • Melt the chocolate and coconut oil over a double boiler, stirring every 30 seconds until melted and smooth.
  • Stir in the almond butter
  • Remove the bars from the freezer and spread the chocolate over top.
  • Top with cacao nibs and hemp seeds if desired.
  • Cover the pan and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour

  • To Serve
  • Warm your knife under hot water before cutting the bars into squares
  • The chocolate layer may pop off of the coconut layer as you cut the bars; don't worry, just push it back into place.
  • Keep the bars stored in a sealed container in the fridge or freezer
Serves: 24
Nutrition + Show
Calories 230
Total Fat 16.6g
Saturated Fat 11.3g
Carbohydrates 20g
Fiber 4.4g
Sugars 13.7g
Protein 2.7g
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  • Reply Leelo March 8, 2017 at 6:55 am

    5 stars
    These almond joy bars look absolutely delicious! I have to try making these! Thanks for the recipe!

  • Reply Brian March 8, 2017 at 7:12 am

    The dates are a nice edition. I haven’t eaten an almond joy bar in years, but I would like to try these!

  • Reply Cassidy March 8, 2017 at 7:24 am

    These look absolutely delicious! Anything with dates and chocolate is something I will love! If only I had a food processor and could do this myself!!

  • Reply Heydave March 8, 2017 at 9:15 am

    5 stars
    These are awesome. Seriously.
    And great photos!

  • Reply Rose March 8, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    5 stars
    Almond and coconut are two of my favourite ingredients. This is an elegant recipe, and delicious for sure.

  • Reply Shirley March 8, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    5 stars
    I love almonds and these almond bars looks so yummy, great photographs. I would love to try these bars. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply Annemarie LeBlanc March 9, 2017 at 1:39 am

    5 stars
    I love this recipe. Almonds and coconuts together would really taste yummy! I will save this recipe. I plan to make a big batch again come Christmas time and put them in pretty mason jars to give to friends. 🙂

  • Reply Freya Farrington March 9, 2017 at 5:30 am

    It really would be great if you could tell your future self all these things wouldn’t it? On another note, it’s my boyfriends birthday next week and he would love these…!

  • Reply Sabrina March 9, 2017 at 6:44 am

    When I was 18 I wrote a letter for my 30-self. and at 30 I did the same for my 45. It’s just because we generally focus on things we didn’t do when we actually make so many things on our lives! Suggest you to write a letter to your past self 😉
    Great recipe!

  • Reply anvita March 9, 2017 at 11:40 am

    5 stars
    Very inspiring post. Yes, these bars look perfect. Mu hubby always liked almond joy so will give these a try. A much healthier version from the store bought ofcourse.

  • Reply Emma March 9, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    Oh my wow! It’s very rare that I find a snack recipe that I can eat (Im on a medical diet for my autoimmune condition)! These are perfect, I’m grain,gluten and refine-sugar free and these might be my new guilty pleasure – only without he guilt!

  • Reply Stacie March 9, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    5 stars
    This is the best thing ever! Almond Joy is my favorite candy bar, and I always love trying healthy copycat recipes. Thanks!

  • Reply Vera March 9, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    5 stars
    OMG, those look amazing! I rarely have candy bars, because they’re so bad for me. Now I have an awesome healthy option! YAY!

  • Reply Bill Sweeney March 9, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    5 stars
    That is fully awesome. I love finding candy recipes like this that have the flavors of my favorite treats.

  • Reply Борка Шаула March 9, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    5 stars
    I love these “cans” vs “can’ts”. I was the person who always told I can’t, I want to go home, and similar. That changed. I started being better in what I do. I organized myself better. I found what suits me the best, and when I come across with something difficult I say to myself, this well take a lot of time, but you can do it. Organize yourself on time, don’t delay.
    BS, xx

  • Reply kathryn Maher March 9, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    I love your philosophy on life and your optimistic attitude to life in general. I am prone to being a “I can’t” type of person as at the moment am going through some life changing events and if I remember that I CAN instead of I CAN’T life will get better. Thanks so much for this lesson. Love the coconut and choc bars too. x

  • Reply Lindsey March 9, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    5 stars
    these look truly scrumptious and love that you have added dates for sweetness

  • Reply Jennifer Van Huss March 9, 2017 at 6:35 pm

    5 stars
    What a delicious recipe! I love that you use dates for sweeness! They look great!

  • Reply Annie March 9, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    Almond Joy is my absolute favorite. I love that this is a healthier version. I can’t wait to try your recipe.

  • Reply suchi March 9, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    This almond bars look divine! My daughter would love this!! I am bookmarking this to try it out! Looks super healthy too.. I hope she will like the dates in it!

  • Reply Aduke March 9, 2017 at 8:54 pm

    Yikes! I totally CAN with these almond joy bars. I can get in so much trouble eating too many lol.

  • Reply Betty March 9, 2017 at 11:30 pm

    I am almost afraid to make these because I would definitely eat way too many and I am already way too overweight as it is! Doesn’t help with shedding the baby weight! But… drool…

  • Reply Victoria March 10, 2017 at 5:15 am

    5 stars
    Wow! This heaven for me!! Tasty for sure. Glad you shared your fantastic recipe!

  • Reply Eugenia March 10, 2017 at 5:43 am

    5 stars
    This is such a powerful post! Love how you suggested an alternative “So if you can’t do that .. what can you do instead?” We should always repeat that ‘We can do it’ 🙂 P.S. Your Almond Joy Bars look incredible! Amazing recipe!

  • Reply ricci March 10, 2017 at 8:39 am

    I am Almond Joy obsessed and these look like a much better version!! Great recipe!!

  • Reply Ann Bacciaglia March 10, 2017 at 9:49 am

    I am always looking for healthy recipes to try. I will have to get the ingredients I need so I can make these this weekend.

  • Reply Melissa March 10, 2017 at 10:09 am

    I love the way these look and the ingredients that make them up sound like they would fit in with my diet, a little tweak here or there shouldn’t make too much of a difference. I can’t wait to try these!

  • Reply Surekha March 10, 2017 at 10:32 am

    This is such a great recipe, I love all the ingredients in it. Pinning it for future

  • Reply Shannon Gurnee March 10, 2017 at 5:07 pm

    This looks and sounds like a delicious recipe! I would love to try this out sometime! Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply Ana Ojha March 10, 2017 at 11:44 pm

    5 stars
    The dates and chocolate sounds divine! I’d love to try it! Thanks for sharing the recipe with us!

  • Reply Anne Howard March 11, 2017 at 3:57 am

    5 stars
    Oh my goodness these look delicious. My mom who is a health nut and closet almond joy man will be over the moon. Also completely agree with you on the use of hte word “can’t”. You can do anything you put your mind too!

  • Reply Echo March 11, 2017 at 10:34 am

    5 stars
    These look super incredible! My son’s favorite candy is Almond Joy, so I bet if I made these, he would love it!

  • Reply Emmanuel March 11, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    5 stars
    “can” and “can’t” , two words I battle with a lot when it comes to the food I want to consume. Į always have to push harder to follow a diet I believe will serve me the best. I will try your recipe out. Thankfully, your recipe feels delicious already.

  • Reply rika March 11, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    These look amazing! I love Almond, can’t wait to try this recipe! Looks pretty healthy too.

  • Reply Amber Killmon March 12, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    Oh my gosh, I want these like right now! They look amazing, and the fact that they’re a healthier option makes them just perfect.

  • Reply Lisa Heath March 13, 2017 at 12:35 am

    5 stars
    We’ve been eating healthier, but my sweet tooth is so hard to ignore sometimes! I’ll have to give this a try and see if it satisfies that without making me feel guilty

  • Reply Shaney Vijendranath March 13, 2017 at 2:37 am

    5 stars
    This looks sooooo delicious! I’m like drooling here. I love that it is healthy too. 😉

  • Reply chichi March 13, 2017 at 6:21 am

    these look perfect for anytime but i would love to have them as a healthier option to have with afternoon tea!

  • Reply Fatima March 13, 2017 at 7:52 am

    These bars look so tempting. Can definitey be my favourite if I get to try these. Love the photos too!

  • Reply Jennifer March 13, 2017 at 8:18 am

    5 stars
    This looks absolutely delicious! I am always looking for something to tame my sweet tooth.

  • Reply Diana March 13, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    5 stars
    these look delicious. I make chocolates and was looking for a new recipe to try, it has all that i love- coconut,almonds , chocolate. thanks for the recipe and cheers

  • Reply Mary March 13, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    Again, the food looks delicious!! I’m salivating just looking at the pictures. I loved your opening quote. Words can be weapons but also comfort. They are something that you can’t take back once said, and at times, should be used with caution.

  • Reply Claudia Blanton March 13, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    5 stars
    I am a coconut and chocolate addict. No – I can control myself – but I do love me something sweet every now and then. Oh, and if I do make these, my husband and kids are going to love them, I am sure. They have the same sweet tooth, I do. Blessings!

  • Reply Jennifer L March 14, 2017 at 1:15 am

    5 stars
    Oh goodness does these bars look so good! I will be getting the ingredients and making these this week. Thanks!

  • Reply Katie Kinsley March 14, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    I’m not the BIGGEST fan of coconut, but I bet this recipe would be great with or without coconut. It look delicious!

  • Reply Carin Kilby Clark March 15, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    I LOVE this post – so much great advice. I don’t care much for coconut but these look delicious so I’ll have to give them a try.

  • Reply Ana De- Jesus March 17, 2017 at 11:25 am

    Well put the word ‘can’t’ prevents us from achieving our goals and anything can be achieved when we put our minds to it! On the plus side love the almond joy bars. Yum x

  • Reply Butternut Squash Lasagna Rolls with Green Béchamel Sauce | Veggies By Candlelight March 29, 2017 at 4:10 am

    […] ps:  This is Part II in a short series titled:  “I can” vs “I can't”   If you'd like to read a bit more here are Parts I .. III .. and IV […]

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