Chocolate Nut Energy Bars (Low Carb and Gluten Free)


I have a serious, long-standing addiction. I suppose it’s not a shameful addiction, but it is one that I am in the process of trying to break. My addiction is to Luna Bars. I love them, and there was a time when I ate one, sometimes two, almost every day. I would search out the best prices for them, and then stock up whenever I could, just so I didn’t have to survive a day without my favourite snack. What has me so enamored of these energy bars? The convenience factor is certainly part of it, as they are an easy snack to take just about anywhere. I like that they are relatively nutritious and I love the variety of flavours (have you tried the White Chocolate Macadamia Nut? Like eating a big cookie!). And perhaps I am a sucker for marketing, but I love that they are made specifically with women’s nutrition in mind.

But I have to break up with my beloved Luna Bars, or at least become more like acquaintances who hang out only occasionally. Because at 25g carbs a pop, I just can’t tolerate them that easily anymore. I sometimes have half of one before working out, or perhaps a whole one if I am going for a long run, because I know I will burn up the glucose. Other than that, I just can’t justify putting those carbs into my body.

So what’s a Luna-loving prediabetic to do? There are a number of snack bars out there that claim to be low carb. Some of them are, some of them aren’t, but none of them comes close in overall taste and ability to satisfy like a good old Luna Bar. Although I do keep some of these on hand for hunger emergencies, they don’t really do it for me. Methinks it’s time to hit the kitchen and create my own version of a beloved favourite!

A recent blog post by The Chocolate Fig reminded me that this had been on my to-do list for a long time. Her post caught my eye because she referred to it as “eating squirrel food” which I found hilarious. Sadly, her version with all the grains and dried fruits would be too much for my sugar levels, but it brought to mind another recipe I’d bookmarked long ago by a fellow low-carber. Lauren over at Healthy Indulgences created this delicious looking snack bar and I wanted to give it, or something similar, a whirl.

Of course, I just had to tinker! I wanted to up the protein count so I added some vanilla whey protein powder to the base. This also allowed me to forego the vanilla extract and much of the additional sweeteners in her recipe. To help bind the final product, I added a bit of xanthan gum. For the ganache, I used a modified version of the the chocolate topping from my low carb Nanaimo Bars, with added butter and a bit of cream to make it softer.


The Results: I think I’m in love! The flavours of the nuts, seeds, coconut and vanilla all come together beautifully, and the chocolate ganache is the icing on the cake (or the bar, in this case). The bar itself is slightly crunchy and slightly chewy at the same time, and it makes for an incredibly satisfying snack. They are also nutrient-packed and big enough to keep me full for a good long time. And at 11g of carbs and 5g of fiber, they beat the pants off most other low carb energy bars in terms of their effect on my blood sugars. I plan on making these again very (VERY!) soon, and next time I would make a double batch, because they didn’t last long. They were so tasty, I could easily see making them as a dessert bar and serving them to guests.

They do need to be kept in the fridge, which doesn’t make them as portable as pre-packaged energy bars, but you just can’t beat the fresh, homemade taste.

Chocolate Nut Energy Bars adapted from Healthy Indulgences

1 cup mixed nuts and seeds, toasted* (I used 1/4 cup each walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds and pepitas, but you can use whatever you like best)
1/4 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut, toasted*
1/4 cup flax seed meal
1/4 cup almond butter (I make my own, but store-bought would work just fine)
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup vanilla whey protein powder
1/2 tsp xanthan gum

2 oz unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 tbsp butter, cut into three pieces
1 tbsp whipping cream
12-20 drops stevia extract

*You can toast the nuts and seeds in the oven at 350F for 8-10 minutes, watching carefully to make sure nothing burns. It may help to coarsely chop the larger nuts so that the smaller seeds don’t over-brown while the nuts are still raw. For the coconut, it is easier to toast in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly until it is a nice brown colour.

Grease an 4×8 inch loaf pan.

Grind nuts and seeds in a food processor until it resembles coarse meal. It’s okay to have some larger bits as they increase the crunch factor.

Melt together almond butter and coconut oil and stir well. You can do this in the microwave, in a saucepan on the stove over low heat, or in a warm oven. Coconut oil melts at very low temperatures and can start to sizzle quickly, so be careful. I melted with the oven off, in the heat that remained from toasted the nuts and seeds and it only took about 2 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine all bar ingredients and mix very well to combine. Spread evenly in prepared pan and press well. Place in refrigerator and let chill until firm, 30-45 minutes.

For the ganache, melt 1/2 tablespoon butter with the cream over low heat. Add in chocolate and stir quickly to melt. Add in remaining tablespoon butter until ganache is smooth and thick. Off heat, stir in stevia.

Spread ganache over chilled bars and place in fridge until completely set, about 1 hour. Cut into 6 bars.

Serves 6. 11g total carbs per bar, 5g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 6 g.

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  1. The Urban Baker says

    my youngest loves the luna bar…i am going to try these. and when he likes them, i am going to tell him who to thank!

  2. BakingWithoutaBox says

    Oh I love these. I had an addition to Luna bars too. Just breaking it. Tried bananas and fruit, but missing that chocolate fix.

  3. Kristy says

    This is my first time on your blog, just wanted to say hi! Those bars look amazing!!! :) Looking forward to following you!!!

  4. 4evaRisa says

    These sound wonderful. I have all the ingredients except the almond butter. I assume PB would be fine for a substitute. Thanks for the inspiration.

  5. says

    Those look lovely! I used to eat Luna Bars all the time, but in the past couple years, have started finding them too sweet and not filling enough. I hadn't thought to try making my own (just attempted homemade larabars last night) but these sound great!

  6. she's cookin' says

    Wow! I have a lot of friends who are runners and chocoholics and would love to get their hands on these! (I'm neither, but I love anything with coconut and nuts that's also nutritious!) Thanks and Congrats on the Top 9!
    Priscilla – She's Cookin'

  7. Carolyn says

    Seems like there are a lot of Luna Bar/Kashi Bar addicts out there! Thanks for all the lovely comments.
    4evaRisa – peanut butter would be fine but it has a stronger flavour than almond butter so I expect your bars will defintely be more peanut-buttery. Not that that's a bad thing!

  8. says

    I agree with you—the dates in the larabars definitely do not make for a low-carb bar. Even when you consider the fiber and protein from the cashews to help balance it out, it's a lot. Haha my boyfriend loved them—a sure sign it's not exactly health food!

  9. Stella says

    Yum Yum!
    You know, dates are meant for camels & people working hard in the dessert. I know that sounds funny, but it's true. The inhabitants of the Sahara are so drained of their energies and sugars after a day of hard work out there that a date is practically God's gift to them (quick needed natural sugar to the blood). For us folks sitting in offices and air conditioned houses, dates are just a bit too much for our systems. I still eat them though (smile). Love em'…
    These bars sound excellent and much much lower in carbs than store bought!

  10. Sophie says

    Waw!! These GF nut bars include almond butter. I love almond butter!

    MMMMMMMMMM,…And to top these with chocolate is even much more better!

  11. cagio says

    Oooh yum – lots of good recipes here. Thanks for the tip on the pectin. I will have to check it out. And these bars – I will have to make some of these too.

  12. Elle says

    These "squirrel food" bars (love the term, haha!) look so good! I have to try these, and soon. I love having a bar I can grab on the go.

  13. Kelly says

    I've been on a power bar/energy bar kick the last few weeks. Your version looks amazing; I'm going to try this weekend!

  14. scratch-made wife says

    I've only had one Luna Bar, which gave me a slight allergic reaction (not their fault or anything and I still loved the bar, despite the hives!). But I do love Clif bars and am pretty sure I'd love your take on the Luna Bar. They look delicious! I'm always looking for alternatives to the regular ol' granola bars the husband likes in his lunchbox. I hate the prorcessed ingredients I can't pronounce!

  15. Anonymous says

    I sooo miss energy bars when I'm doing LC. The ones I can have are very expensive and I can hardly stand buying them although I do give in once and a while. I just made these and I'm in love!!! Yummy!!! I had to substitute and omit a few ingredients because I didn't have them on hand, but this hits the spot when craving energy/granola bars!!!

  16. Frances says

    I think I'm going to leave the ganache off of it when I try it & instead put chips in the mix to possibly make it easier to transport.

  17. Amy says

    Hey! These are SOOOOO good, I love them! Bless you for creating these. One if the most difficult things about low carb for me is doing without yummy granola/energy bars. These are brilliant/inspired! I think I prefer then to Luna Bars.
    I have to watch my calories on my low carb plan, do you have the count for these?

    • Mapesa says

      They look supper yummy! As does everything on your blog.
      Just a question, is there anything I can use instead if xanthan gum? I live in the middle east, Beirut to be exact and since discovering your blog a few weeks back, I have been searching relentlessly for it so asto try many of the recipes. But, sadly I have not found any :( Any suggestions for an alternative? I’m not gluten intolerent, just keeping the evil eye on the carbs.

      • Carolyn says

        It probably depends on the recipe. Sometimes an extra egg white or some protein powder is enough. For these, I think you don’t even need the xanthan gum probably. They will be a touch more fragile, but not much.

  18. amy says

    I wonder, can these be frozen? It would be great to be able to make a huge batch, stick them in the freezer and take them out in the morning so they would be defrosted by lunchtime. Not sure if it would alter the texture or taste though.

  19. Alisa says

    Mmmm, these are so good! I did half pecans, a quarter hazelnuts and a quarter pepitas. Also used hazelnut butter to up the “Nutella” effect. Once I started cutting, I decided to cut into 8, which still makes a decent snack or small meal. Truly delish!

  20. N. says

    Hi! Looks good! Question, what could I use instead of agave syrup? It’s on my “evil” list and I would rather not buy it.


  21. suzanna says

    reckon i could use soya spread instead of butter? i’m off dairy! it would make it runnier right? any tips?! 😀 they look amazing i really want to give them a go! :)

  22. Anna says

    I just made these and was too lazy to make the chocolate so left them plain and oh my! They are even delicious without the chocolate topping! I can’t wait to make these again with the topping next time. But for now I’ll just enjoy them the way they are. :) very addicting!

  23. Catt says

    I am going to make this recipe – looks good except for toasting the nuts/seeds. Never toast nuts – the healthiest part of nuts is the oil – when you toast, you are destroying nutrients….and use organic nuts/seeds whenever possible – much fewer chemicals/weed killer residue.

    • Carolyn says

      You can do another 1/4 cup of ground nuts. And for the coconut oil, put in a neutral tasting oil like avocado or use ghee.

  24. says

    These are awesome! I’ve never had a Luna bar and maybe I should be happy because these are awesome without the chocolate. I’m hypoglycemic and thus do not do well with fast burning sugars at all. I’ve been on a journey to change my lifestyle of eating and exercise. 10 months in, I’m now moving from my food focus to my exercise focus and commitment. I have a personal trainer and in our first real session, I nearly blacked out at the end of the session because I hadn’t eaten well ahead of time and was crashing.

    After that episode, I started polling my fitness friends for some bars that are made from real ingredients and as sugar / carb free as possible. Several great suggestions were made, but most had some natural sugar of some sort. I started a web search because surely someone has figured out a recipe. THANK YOU!!!! I find your site and you have done just what I needed for similar reasons.

    I haven’t topped mine with chocolate, but see how that would be very tasty too. Without the chocolate these are divine and just what I needed!!!

    Great site, keep up the great work!!!


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