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Recipe: Lentil Granola Bars

Photo by MYUNIONHOUSE Photography

After a hard run, you need a bar that provides a combination of carbs to replace energy stores and protein to kick-start muscle repair. Studies suggest that antioxidants in cherries may improve recovery following intense exercise.

Serves 12

2/3 cup dried red lentils, rinsed
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup almond butter
1 1/2 cups quick-cook oats
1/2 cup nonfat milk powder
1/3 cup toasted wheat germ
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. almond extract(optional)

Place lentils in a saucepan with 11/4 cups water. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer until lentils are tender and water has absorbed, about 15 minutes. Mash lentils with a fork. Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan heat honey and nut butter over medium heat, stirring often, until a smooth mixture forms. Stir nut butter mixture into lentils and let cool.

In a large bowl, combine oats, milk powder, wheat germ, cherries, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon and almond extract. Stir in lentil mixture. Place in a greased or parchment-lined baking pan (8 in. x 8 in.) and press down firmly into an even layer. Refrigerate for 2 hours, then slice into 12 bars.

Nutritional info: 231 calories, 8g protein, 7g fat (1g saturated), 37g carbs (3g fiber), 21mg sodium