I aspired to be MacGyver when I was young. Who didn’t, right? (confession: I still do) I mean, who wouldn’t want to save the world with nothing but a battery and a piece of rope!? So when a teammate of mine from UCLA (Hi Elaine!) reached out asking if I had a healthy recipe she could make for her family while living in Qatar…I was in. Give me the battery and rope and I’m ready to save the day – or at least make a nutritious treat.
Wait, what does MacGyver have to do with creating healthy recipes? While we may live in an age where we can get just about anything shipped to our front door (did you know you can order worms for composting on Amazon?), I think it’s worth recognizing what you have readily and locally available to you. This won’t only help your wallet but the environmental impact, as well. Let’s use what we have locally available to us first. If that doesn’t satisfy our nutritional needs (it won’t in some towns or even countries, I realize), then let’s look at alternative options.
The MacGyver approach to making food inspires creativity, adaptation and savviness. I have no clue what type of ingredients are readily available in Qatar, so I asked Elaine what she has easily available. More honey than maple syrup or agave. Oats. Coconut oil. Various nuts. Perfecto. Now I can have a creation experimentation in the Komer House to see what I can concoct (Elaine called me out on my MacGyver approach).
This “work backwards” style to solving problems goes beyond making food. The better you can adapt and get creative with what you’ve got, whether it be career, personal life or even finances, the better you’ll be able to work through challenges and discover positive solutions to seemingly impossible situations (let’s not forget you’ll also be able to save the day with that battery and a piece of rope). Lee David Zlotoff, the creator of the hit TV show MacGyver, shares this canny approach, with his MacGyver Method, teaching “you how to engage the enormous capabilities of your subconscious mind to bear on effective problem solving.” I’m all for that.
Now who’s hungry? I hope this recipe will inspire you to play around with your resourcefulness and creativity. If you don’t have access to an ingredient listed below, try switching it out for another healthy alternative you do have. Please feel free to ask questions or share your comments below.
- 1 cup organic oats
- 1/2 cup organic peanut butter
- 1/2 cup organic coconut oil (melted)
- 1/2 cup organic sunflower seeds (or other nut / seed that tickles your fancy)
- 1/4 cup chopped organic cashews (or other chopped nutty deliciousness)
- 4 chopped organic medjool dates (take out pit first, then chop up into wee chewy bits)
- 3 tbsp honey (ideally local – great for allergies!)
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
Creation Station: In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together. Place this delectable mixture in recycled paper cupcake cups (you can buy them here) within cupcake tins. The paper cups will make it easier to get your goodies out. You will be able to make approximately 7-8 large cupcakes. Pop into freezer for at least 15 minutes. Depending on your preferred consistency, keep them in the fridge or freezer. Eat when hungry!
Does the MacGyver Energy Bar travel well? Well of course he does, he’s super savvy. And so are you. That means you know to add a cold cooler pack if you take these energy-boosting snacks out for the day. As much as I would love for these to last in the sun, they contain coconut oil, which will melt when warm. A good thing to know.
But I don’t like sweet stuff. Ya, you’re sweet enough. If you’re not into the sweetness of honey, cut back on it. Opt for 2 tablespoons of honey instead of 3. If that’s still too sweet, you can decrease the honey even more or use 3 dates instead of 4. Don’t be scared to get creative with this recipe to fine tune it to your happy taste buds (that’s what MacGyver would do).
However, if you find that the taste of this MacGyver Energy bar is not sweet enough for you, then your body might be more used to sugar than it needs to be. Just saying. It’s probably time for a self-check and simmer down on your sugar intake to recalibrate your body. I think of sugar like coffee or alcohol…the more you have, the more you get used to it, building up a tolerance, and now “need” more to feel anything. Your body acts like it’s less sensitive to it, yet inside it’s freaking out because of the amount of excess stress put on it. Welcome to a “Jaime venting moment”: I’m still thoroughly confused how there’s still vending machines at schools, businesses, hospitals, airports and so on. Because offering a substance that’s more addicting than cocaine, is a good thing? Why are we putting ourselves in this situation – where it’s so difficult to be healthy unless you’re willing to spend extra money and time to eat clean? Any proactive suggestions?
Why does this recipe call for organic ingredients? If financially and geographically possible, opt for organic products. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) suggests buying organic to reduce your exposure to pesticides, while at the same time “sends a message that you support environmentally-friendly farming practices that minimize soil erosion, safeguard workers and protect water quality and wildlife.”
Now it’s time to use our MacGyver problem solving skills to figure out how to put local whole foods into those vending machines.