Trail Mix Bar

These bars have many of the wonderful nuts, seeds, and crunch of a trail mix–but without the sugar load. This poses only a modest carbohydrate exposure, as the dates provide 4 grams sugar per date.

However, if you are a marathon runner, triathlete, or other long-duration exerciser and would like to use these bars as your during-exercise carbohydrate source, they are easily modified to increase carbohydrate content to suit your needs. You can add more 2-3 more dates, for instance, or more raisins or apricots, ground in your food chopper or food processor in the first step. If you are not a long-duration athlete, leave these bars as is!

Ingredients for every 2 bars (e.g., multiply ingredients by 4 to obtain 8 bars):
2 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut
1 tablespoon raw pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon raw sunflower seeds
1-2 whole pitted dates
1 tablespoon walnut fragments
1 tablespoon cacao nibs
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Sweetener equivalent to 1 tablespoon sugar or sweeten to taste
1 tablespoon coconut milk (full thickness), room temperature
1/2 tablespoon almond butter, room temperature

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

Combine coconut, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and dates and grind in food chopper or food processor until consistency of coarse coffee grounds. Pour into bowl.

Add walnut fragments, cacao nibs, cinnamon, and sweetener and mix thoroughly. Taste batter to ensure degree of sweetness. Stir in coconut milk and almond butter by hand. (If almond butter is too thick, microwave prior to adding to mix in 15 second increments to obtain a liquid consistency.)

On parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, divide dough into two parts (or into as many bars as you desire). Shape into bar shape with the flat edge of a butter knife.

Bake for 60 minutes. Remove and cool.

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. Firebird

    I love these recipes, but I am wondering what the cooking time and temperature would be if I were to use my convection oven instead.

  2. Ri

    “If you have intolerance to gluten, you would be best to avoid it. However, if you have decided to avoid gluten to transform your body, be warned that avoiding gluten on a regular basis can cause a vitamin B deficiency, because wheat is rich in thiamine and other Bs.”

    Ok so this is a quote by the author of “Skinny Chicks Dont Eat Salads” i read this book as well as Wheat Belly and now im a little confused-could you please clarify this point for me Dr Davis.


    • Boundless

      ” … because wheat is rich in thiamine and other Bs.”

      That statement is a con. Wheat FLOUR may be rich, but only because folates are added.

      If that’s the best that Big Grain(TM) can say about foregoing their top poison, it’s pretty lame.

      Also, iodine was added to table salt in the 1920s. When you were advised in the late 20th to cut back on salt, do you recall being warned to make sure that you got enough of that additive? Me neither. And in that case, it would have been a point worth making.

      • Janet

        Boundless, I always enjoy your debunking of the junk out there and sound links. Have a great wheat-free day! I can’t believe how in a few short weeks my body is not only looking better but I feel fantastic and happier than I have in a long time!!

        The comments on Huffington Post about Paula Deen’s diabetes were laughable, if it wasn’t so sad and infuriating. People were going on and on about the sticks of butter she uses and many actually posted that is what caused her diabetes–I had to stick my 2 cents in several times and set them straight about carbs and wheat.

        There is a steep learning curve ahead for Americans, but as more of us come on board it will change. I work at a library and had the director order Wheat Belly. It is now on our hold shelf, waiting for someone to pick it up after they requested it (at my direction because her doctor told her to try wheat-free but gave no other instructions and she was a little lost about it.) I hope after she changes her life with Dr. Davis’s book, she will inform her doctor.

        • Even at the public library! That’s great, Janet.

          Yes, it is indeed a steep learning curve, one that you and I will have to help others climb for the next, oh, 20 to 30 years.

    • Sorry, Ri, but this is absolute nonsense.

      If you tabulate the intake of B vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, and folates, wheat-containing versus wheat-eliminating, provided the lost calories are replaced with foods like vegetables, nuts, seeds, eggs, etc.–i.e., real food, and not bubble gum and jelly beans, then there is no deficiency of B vitamins that develops with wheat elimination. This is a fiction propagated by the Wheat Lobby.

  3. Dawn Davis

    I have done numerous distant running, cycling and triathlon events so have dabbled in the ” healthy or unhealthy bar” department. Some of them taste like cardboard, some of them leave me feeling bloated and some of them are just plain ‘ole nasty tasting. I’ve been told I’m a harsh critic but these bars were truly outstanding. The bar did not leave me feeling full or bloated and was packed with lots of flavor. This would be a wonderful bar to toss in your cycling jersey or purse for a quick boost. Nice work on this bar!! This one is a winner.

  4. Jeanne

    Hi Ri,

    As a gluten intolerant I see nothing in the recipe to pose a problem. Just wondering why you feel they would.

    Looks like another great recipe Doc. Thanks! Love to collect them.

  5. Jeanne

    Oh DUH! I just realized that Ri’s first line was part of a quotation… Geez! This is your brain on -perimenopause. ;-)

    • If not cooked, Naomi, it tends to fall apart and be too gooey.

      I’ve tried all different ways to create bars and this is among the most effective without turning it into a cookie.

  6. Anita

    I was wondering if eating this bar as a breakfast bar daily would have any ill effects. I have noticed that if I eat to much nut flour baked goodies (no sugar, no dairy, no grains) I REALLY slow my weight loss and my digestive system tends toward IBS. Any suggestions or has anyone else noticed this. Recently my daughter has asked me to make her my “grainless protein bars” and she eats one each morning on the way to work. I don’t want to set her up for problems like I’m getting.

    • Andrea

      Maybe you have a problem with phytic acid? Look it up on wiki. I used to have digestive issues with raw nuts. Then I discovered Nourishing Traditions’ way of soaking and dehydrating the nuts and then you can use them any way you want. For almonds, soak 4 cups of almonds in filtered water and 1 Tablespoon sea salt overnight. Drain and dehydrating at 145 degrees for 20-24 hours. Yum!

      • Andrea

        I do the same preparation with all nuts before I use them. Sometimes the sea salt amount differs depending on the nut.

    • Louise

      Anita, I wonder if the problem could be with the sweetener.. I got IBS symptoms from Truvia. I am now testing out stevia and xyla. I soak and dry the nuts as mentioned by Andrea, and grind them up myself to make them easier to digest..

  7. Ri

    Ok Dr Davis just have to say your skin is absolutely glowing!!could you write a follow up book about how to get clear glowing skin like yours? kind of like ‘The Perricone Prescription’? Including diet and supplements tips etc..

    Thanks Again!

  8. Janknitz

    These look yummy but the dates bump up the carb count a lot for me. I’m guessing the dates are needed as “glue” to hold it together.
    Will this really work with only one date if it’s fresh and moist????

    • moreporkplease

      I agree Jan! The USDA database shows me that 1 pitted date has 15.95g of carbs (sugar) – each bar would come out to 8 carbs from the date alone before counting the other ingredients. Too many carbs for me – whoa!

      • Boundless

        > … 1 pitted date has 15.95g of carbs (sugar) …

        Is that one “serving” (which is often 4 dates) or just one date?
        And if just one date, what variety?
        Deglet noor dates, for example, are only 4.4 gr. per date, or 9 for two.

      • Boundless

        And don’t forget to divide the grams of sugar in two dates by the number of bars (which is unstated, but appears to be at least 4).

        Even with 30 gr. sugar (per two dates), that’s 8 gr per bar. Since Dr. Davis says “4 gr. per date” (consistent with deglet noor), that’s only 2 gr. sugar per bar.

  9. CJ

    I have signed up for the Blog & Recipes but I am not receiving posts. Can anyone help?

    Also, Is there a good way to “store” opened coconut milk that is not used in recipes (can it be frozen)? Are the dates fresh or dried? Where does one get cacao nibs?

    • Halbuzzy

      I”m curious about the best way to store coconut milk too! I get my cacao nibs at Rose Mountain Herbs. They are organic and have an online store. I also use alot.

  10. Mikyla

    Hello Dr. Davis,

    About a month ago i was diagnosed with celiac diesese. Im 22 and at first i was devestated when i found ou i could no longer have spagetti or fresh warm bread from the oven. I started to read your book “wheat belly” and i was amazed on what i found out. I am not actually happy to be celiac so that i cannot have those “cheat’ days where i feel sick 24/7 because of your book. You made it easy to understand and easy to follow. I have talked my friends and family to read your book and do this diet and they’re loving it already and its only been a month!!

    Anyways, I have a question. I have cut all carbs out of my diet ( even the gluten free ones too!) and been eating lots of fruits, veggies, dairy and protien. During the day when i eat i am feeling nausous, skaky, clamy hands, heart racing etc. but im not eating ANY gluten. This has just started for a ew days now and i was wondering because lately ive been feeling great!! Could i be having withdrawls from wheat??

    I have been to my family docter and was told that i am to eat more carbs (gluten free of corse) but that could be bad for me too, and too eat more throughout the day. I’ve been losing weight and feeling good up until now and i not sure if this will even help…? If you have had anyone ask about this who has gone wheat/gluten free and had symtoms like this i want to make sure i am making myself better and more knowlegble.

    I was also told that mushrooms, because they are a fungi are not good for people that have celiac disese because the stomach is not able to break it down. My docter said totally not true, but i was just wondering from another point of view.

    I hope to stay wheat free and keep reading your blog and usuing your recipes to help me with everything in this process, as it is VERY hard but i know what it can do and i love the feeling of not being sick everyday. Thanks for all your help Dr. Davis with your book and your lectures. You will truely change the world…because you’ve already changed it for me and alot of other people!


    • Tori Spinoso

      I feel that same way when I don’t eat enough carbs. I wonder if you could add some more veggies to you morning meal and see if you are indeed needed more carbs. I have a feeling that once you body gets used to burning fats instead of sugars, you might feel better with less carbs. it’s worth a try.

      • mikyla

        Thanks so much for the tip!
        My docter tells me eat more gluten free pastas, crackers, cookies etc.
        But even some of those are even worse for me…well calorie wise anyway.
        I will try eating more fruits n veggies to fill in the gap and hopefully it helps.
        I’m so glad I came across “wheat belly” its truely changed my life.
        I’ve been a very active person most of my life and always had a wheat belly and bagel. Butt! Lol. And I’m FINALLY losing it!!! I’m amazed by the transformation!
        Thanks again Tori, you helped out a lot. :)

  11. Ri

    Dr Davis or anyone of you bloggers please help! im so confused about dairy- i always drink skim milk and thats all we have in our house-if i get a latte i ask for non fat milk-occassionaly i make almond milk smoothies which taste great and i always opt for full fat cheese and butter-but the whole debate about full fat vs low fat has me confused -so which one is better for the body and WONT make you pack on the pounds?
    Or should i just forget about cows milk and opt for soy/almond/coconut milk??Also how much should we really be having for the nutritional benefits and calcium??
    its so great to be able to come on here and have you personally respond Dr Davis -much appreciated!

    • Tori Spinoso

      If you eat healthy fats you will lose fat. Really! I eat so much fat (butter, heavy whipping cream, bacon, high fat meats, etc) and I have lost over 13 lbs… exercise at all. If you search for a Gary Taubes video on YouTube, you may understand it better. Here’s a good one.

    • Hi, Ri–

      Don’t sweat the fat. There’s nothing wrong with the fat in dairy.

      But there’s plenty of other problems in conventionally-sourced dairy. For this reason, I tend to minimize consumption of dairy except for cheese, among the most benign forms of dairy–full-fat, of course!

  12. Ellie

    Sorry to post this on a recipe thread: Has anyone here successfully dealt with the type of issue I’m dealing with? I’m looking for solutions. I have carb-addicted teenagers, and since reading Wheat Belly I have had such a major wake-up call that I am alarmed and no longer willing to pay my precious grocery money for any more “healthy whole grains” or processed foods. I went off grains myself, two weeks ago. I realize I have the right to make these changes for myself, but my children (who are not quite adults but close) think I’m totally nuts and they are quite angry. (they actually think I’m stupid and this is just a fad. They think what they learned in health class and is presented in the media/USDA guidelines is correct. And don’t even get me started on the news about the new USDA school lunch guidelines!). I now feel that wheat and sugar are poisons and I have a real internal battle going on inside myself, I’m feeling bad for feeding my children this “food” for so many years, damaging their bodies, and I really want to make big changes in the family. I always thought I was doing the right thing in feeding them lots of grains. My daughter loves to bake, and makes cookies and pizza from scratch all the time. I’m the “breadwinner” (might need to change that term in the coming years? LOL) and we don’t have a lot of money for food — so I want to stop buying bread, flour and breakfast cereal immediately. And one of my children is a vegetarian, and she is panicked that I am going to be taking away her major food group. She is very angry and upset. My kids have been telling our relatives that I am crazy, and my parents and sister are rallying to my children’s defense and telling me that I am misguided and my nutty ideas will harm my children’s health — and that I’m being extreme and shouldn’t impose my nutty views on my children. Any of you gone through this already and have tips for me? Thanks.

    • Boundless

      Have they read the book? They need to, if only to understand your dilemma. They also need to learn that sometimes what “authorities” teach is flat out incorrect (they’ve probably suspected this about some of their school teachers, and now you can confirm it :)).

      Have they at least seen the diabetes trend line? Do they want to be on that?

      Ask them to find reliable data that debunks what the book presents. Ask them to check a few of the footnotes, and draw their own conclusions.

      > … telling me that I am misguided and my nutty ideas will harm my children’s health …

      Really? What harm? Push back on that. There is nothing naturally in grains generally, and wheat in particular that is necessary for health, when those calories are replaced by suggestions from the book and this blog.

      However, yes, it is more challenging to be a low-carb paleo vegetarian. Vegetarianism is, of course, not usually a health-focused diet. It’s a “way of life”, i.e. a philosophy, often bordering on a secular religion. What was the original motivation for going veggie? If it was for supposed health reasons, have the principles been allowed to become so controlling that the original objectives are irrelevant?

      • Teresa

        Converting your family will be a challenge. I’ve been eating sugar and grain free for about three months. Since I’m the one who does the shopping and the majority of the cooking, I have control over what foods are in the cupboards and refrigerator. And I have heard already, “There’s nothing to eat.” I point out the healthy things that are available, and have found that if I prepare the snacks, my kids will usually eat them. I have cut bread out of our dinners, and have given them other options for breakfast. Lunches are more difficult because my children don’t have access to microwaves at school, so they usually do take sandwiches to school. But I’ve gotten them to switch from chips to nuts for something crunchy. I also allow them one sweet treat per day (down from three). That treat can be in their lunch or after dinner, but they only get one. I may not be able to make all of my family’s meals grain/sugar free, but I have definitely reduced how much they’re eating. Good luck to you!

      • Ellie

        Boundless, thanks for these thoughts.

        My kids and I are all slender, I have a bit of stubborn belly fat which only bothers me, because compared to many women my age who have a lot more fat on them, I look pretty good. Nobody believes that I “need” to lose weight; and 2 of my kids are trim athletes who eat a lot of carbs. They are teenagers, so they look good! And they feel good! (of course they don’t know how good they *could* feel if they went off wheat). They don’t sleep well at night and are exhausted during the day. I had been thinking, well, this is normal, right? The vegetarian teen is moody and anxious most of the time, low energy and does a lot of TV watching to help calm herself down. Could it be… her diet? I’d love to find out.

        I am absolutely committed to this new direction, and I think the issue right now is, for me, a bit of an emotional one — I’m letting go of one way of doing things, and making a very abrupt change. I don’t blame my kids for wondering what the heck happened. This change in myself only occurred about 2 weeks ago. I just finished reading Wheat Belly 2 days ago. As recently as December 15 I was writing in my weight loss journal how I really needed to get some willpower and cut down on fat and eat more “healthy whole grains.” Huge change, literally overnight. Since January 10 I have lost 4 pounds and at least one skirt size. I know myself, and this is not a temporary fad diet — this is a permanent lifestyle change I’m making. (thank you, Dr. Davis!!!)

        To answer… the vegetarian daughter has been that way since she was about 8 years old, and it is, unfortunately, the philosophical “religion” reason. Up until two weeks ago, I was supportive of her choice, because I believed that it was a healthy diet. I no longer believe that, so I’m worried for her long-term health. I’m don’t like to be unsupportive of my kids’ choices, but I am no longer willing to buy any wheat products.

        But I do think you are absolutely right… time will win out, and especially if they can read the book and decide for themselves. I will leave it out on the coffee table (that usually does the trick). And they will love proving their teachers wrong — you are right about that, too! :)

        I have been trying to get my relatives to check out the Wheat Belly website (and other paleo websites) to see for themselves, and they actively ignore me. I think I’m “getting the message.” They just don’t want to know. They would rather think I’m not very smart. (they have many health problems… ).

        • Maintain your resolve, Ellie!

          When others around witness your transformation, they will start to show some interest. Right now, they can brush it off as just a “fad.” But they can’t do that once the changes become undeniable and obvious.

        • CJ

          A few thoughts:
          Getting a teen to do anything you want is fairly impossible (if you are right you may add totally impossible) My kids are now 26 & 24 and I still don’t know anything, but they both received “Wheat Belly” for Christmas along w/ a One Touch blood sugar tester (Yeah, I am a bit nuts too)
          Let the choice be theirs but don’t buy anything you wouldn’t eat (they want it, they buy it, kind of like the $90.00 torn jeans)
          Do you have a local grass fed/sustainable/organic farm close (?) might change the beliefs of the Vegetarian, animals treated humanely & all. The critters at Forks Farm in PA are almost like pets (well ok, up until butchering).
          Ignore relatives (my parents live next door and continually cut out “healthy” whole grain articles for me, and at 87 & 92, say it worked for them…maybe but…..I don’t want to wear Depends)
          I have a “bread” recipe we eat so if I can figure out where/how to post it I will do so. DH & I had grilled cheese sandwiches last weekend that were most excellent!
          Keep the Fat…ugh Faith and hang in there, wonderful support from Dr. Davis & others on this board.

  13. Louise

    I made these bars tonight and they are SO DELICIOUS!! I tasted the batch before baking and it tasted plenty sweet to me with just the 2 dates.. Next time I will double the recipe. This is a winner of a recipe!

  14. Lori

    Dr Davis,
    I like to buy my chocolate, cocoa, and nibs from the small batch bean to bar chocolate makers in the the US (Askinosie-the only bean to bar cocoa maker, also has great nibs, Mast Brothers, and Rogue Chocolatier). The quality is amazing and when you are eating only a square in a day it is worth the price. The problem is that their bars are 75% to 77% cacao. I would rather have a half inch square of their chocolate than a larger square of a lesser quality bar with 85% cacao. Should I give up those bars anyway?

  15. Jan

    I made these bars last night and I love them. I am so happy I found something healthy to snack and know it”s not bad for me. Thanks Dr. Davis and keep bringing on the recipes.

  16. Lori

    I have made these bars twice. The first time I didn”t have nibs so I used cocoa powder. The second time I had nibs and followed the recipe exactly. I made 8 bars (recipex4) and tasted the “dough” before I added liquid stevia. It was so good that I almost baked it without sweetener. But I added about 5 drops of liquid stevia. They are absolutely delicious and maybe even a bit too sweet. The first time I also didn”t chop the seeds as finely as the recipe suggests. They are much better chopped finely in a food processor. I don”t recommend using cocoa powder—look for high quality nibs. Awesome.

  17. Brigid

    I made the bars and used 5 dates for 8 bars. I didn”t add any other sweetener and they are plenty sweet. I might even do fewer dates next time.

  18. Debbie

    I made these bars today, quadrupling the recipe, and they are wonderful!
    Do they need to be refrigerated?
    Will be making these, again!

    • I”ve kept them out of the refrigerator for several days without problems.

      In fact, many of the bars I”ve made actually taste better after a couple of days.

  19. Stevie

    Hi Dr D!
    I am making these bars to take on our ski trip. Thank you! I wonder how these freeze. Anyone know?



  20. CJ

    Late to the game. Finally made these bars and we tried them out on a 2 hour bike ride (half a bar @ ~30 min second half 30 min later then an hour to home. Tested and we were both under 100) I agree plenty sweet may leave out the Xylitol next time. Anyone add or sprinkle w/ sesame seeds?

  21. Lisa

    These are absolutely amazing! I make them by the dozen. They keep about a week and a half in the fridge and are the perfect grab and go snack or breakfast. Dr. Davis, thanks so much for all the amazing recipes. Can’t wait to buy your cook book!!

  22. Yoshiko

    I want to try this recipe but I am allergic to almonds. Can I substitute with another nut butter? Is peanut butter ok?

  23. Suzie

    I used the recipe in the cookbook and they were a crumbly mess. The taste wasn’t bad. I used coconut milk from a carton. Any one else have that problem?

      • Carmen

        I have had the same problem. I tried adding an egg. Made it a bit better but still crumbly. I’ll try canned coconut milk as suggested and see what happens

    • Christine

      My bars are very crumbly too- they do not firm up when cool. I used coconut milk from can, and added almond butter at room temp. I did not add any sweetener. I used dark choc chips instead of cocoa nibs – could that be the issue? They are tasty, but would be more practical for eating if they didn’t crumble when touched. Thanks for tips.

      • Dr. Davis

        Hmmm. How about more oil, e.g., coconut oil or almond butter?

        It sounds like there was insufficient oil to bind the proteins.

    • Catherine

      I had the same issue. Mine burnt as well, even though the temperature was lower in the book and I stopped cooking them 15 minutes early. Think this is the first (and only) recipe that will ever elude me after 7 weeks of WB. Maybe the difference is that the recipe book says to use a 9×5 tin and not a baking sheet with parchment paper?

  24. Janet

    The recipe here on the blog is slightly different than the one in the book. My batch didn’t firm up in the bread pan so I’m going to try taking them out and making bars as is suggested on the blog and putting them back in the oven. I was unsure of the low heat, too, but I’ll wait and see how these turn out.

  25. Cammie

    Has anyone tried these bars with dried apricots instead of dates? The deglet noro dates and dried apricots are fairly close in net carbs, from what I can see. I ask because I have an apricot tree in my backyard, hence lots of dried apricots, thanks to the food dehydrator, and I am looking for “wheat belly” ways to use the dried apricots.

    Any other ideas or suggestions are welcome!

  26. Julie

    I made these the way they are presented in the cook book-which does not mention a sugar substitue. They came out VERY bitter and will have to be thrown out!! Kind of an expensive experiment.

    • Unterderlaterne

      Julie. there are plenty of nutritious ingredients in this recipe, why not crumble up the bars , add some almond or coconut milk, some sweetener, some berries and voila- a delicious breakfast or snack .Improvise, improvise! Barbara.

      • Barbara in New Jersey


        At room temperature, left in strong sunlight or slightly warmed in the oven, just enough to make them pliable, you can add the sugar substitute by sprinkling it on the top, re-mix and then re-press into bars again. Most people on WB find that the dates, raisins and apricots are sweet enough so they don’t add any sugar substitute.

        Sweetened cranberries can be added too! Wear latex gloves if you have them or even oil your hands so this is not quite so sticky. Add chocolate chips warmed in microwave.

        Use a small amount of the bars in a miicrowave muffin mix. I agree with Unterderlanterne that all these ingredients are just too expensive to not “rework” in some manner.

    • > Is it ok to substitute almond butter with peanut butter?

      Not being a cook, I can’t speak to structure and texture in the results, but from a nutritional standpoint, peanuts (for those not allergic) appear to be OK is reasonable amounts, and do appear in some WB recipes.

      Things to watch out for with peanut butter are: full fat, and made only from raw peanuts, with no added oils, sugars, maltodextrin or flours. I would also go for organic and non-GMO.