It’s the beginning of the year, and New Year’s resolutions are well underway. People are in “health mode,” determined to work out more, eat healthier and turn over a new leaf. If you’re someone who has been scurrying to the gym recently, I have the perfect recipe for you. These pre- and post-workout energy bars will give you the energy you need to exercise and stick to your New Year's resolutions. First-year College student Bronwyn Mitchell — who plans to pursue a degree in nutrition — designed this recipe so that these bars are low in sugar, high in protein and completely vegan. Mitchell is vegan herself and has made countless plant-based recipes. “I am always super intentional with the ingredients I use when developing recipes,” Mitchell said. “My goal with these bars was to create something light enough for a pre-workout snack yet still substantial and free from unnecessary added sugars, unlike most bars you find on the shelves today.” Making these bars is not only easy and fun but will also save you money. Why buy overpriced protein bars when you can make them on your own for much less? In fact, I have been snacking on these bars all week. They curb my cravings and give me long-lasting energy throughout the day. Pre- and Post-Workout Energy Bars Prep time: 20 minutes Freeze time: 45-60 minutes Serving Size: 6-8 bars Ingredients: 1 cup almond butter 4 dates 1 tsp vanilla ¼ tsp cinnamon ¼ tsp salt ½ cup oats 2 tbsp coconut 2 tbsp chia seeds 3 tbsp hemp seeds 2 tbsp cacao powder 1 tbsp melted coconut oil Chocolate chips or cacao nibs for topping (optional) Be ready to get your hands a little dirty. Your mouth will thank you later. 1. Begin by adding almond butter, dates, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, oats, coconut and chia seeds into a food processor and blend until mixture is smooth and the dates are fully mixed in. It should be fairly dry and thick. You can also use an immersion blender like I did, but a food processor will speed up the process. 2. Move mix into a bowl. 3. Add hemp seeds, cacao powder and melted coconut oil into the bowl, and mix ingredients with your hands — I warned you things would get a little messy! At this point, the mixture should be thick and sticky. 4. Place the mix in an 8x8 pan lined with parchment paper and smooth it out evenly. 5. If using optional toppings, add on top and pat down. 6. Place pan in the freezer for at least 45 to 60 minutes. 7. When ready to eat, take the pan out of the freezer. Pull the parchment paper out of the pan, and cut as many squares as you would like. Store in the fridge. 8. Enjoy! Eating these energy bars is like treating yourself without the guilt. And for peanut butter lovers like myself, these bars are really good with a generous layer of peanut butter on top, accompanied by a glass of milk or almond milk if you’re vegan. Although these bars are good for both before and after a workout, eating them with peanut butter is best after you get home from the gym. I like to store the bars in my freezer rather than my fridge. The frozen crunch is just what I need to cool me down and keep me full after going to the gym. These bars emphasize a new year, a new source of energy and a new you. Make this recipe to fuel your body with something that’s both good and good for you.