Easy Do-It-Yourself Energy Bars
Energy bars are a great way to fuel your body when you’re on the go. They’re also a good choice when you’re working out for an extended period of time and need an energy boost. When you make energy bars yourself, you can choose exactly what goes into them and make them as nutritious—or decadent—as you like.
To make your bars interesting, switch things up with different flavors, textures and cooking methods. For example, you can bake your bars or try no-bake versions. This recipe for Katie’s Raw Energy Bites includes wheat germ, flax seeds and oatmeal and doesn’t require an oven.
Get creative and add nutrition to your energy bar recipes with these tips:
Try a variety of nut butters: Nut butters such as almond, peanut, cashew and walnut add substantial protein, creating a satisfying bar to help you stay full longer. Experiment with different flavors and textures, such as chunky and smooth.
Limit the added sugars: Sweeteners can help crisp the bar. A little goes a long way, especially when using honey, maple syrup or molasses as they have a stronger flavor than plain white sugar. Dried fruit, such as dates, offer another way to sweeten the bar. A bit of sugar and brown sugar are also OK in moderation. These Honey Crunch Energy Bars with Wheat Germ use dates for a little sweetness.
Switch up the grains: Oats, amaranth, quinoa, whole wheat pastry flour and Kretschmer Wheat Germ add texture, fiber, vitamins and minerals to your bars. Our Dried Cherry, Walnut, Wheat Germ and Peanut Butter Bars use oats, but will keep you satisfied much longer than an oatmeal cookie!
Create seasonal bars by combining different nuts and spices: Mix pecans and cinnamon during the fall, for instance, and coconut and dried peaches for summer.
Allow yourself a little indulgence: Add dark chocolate bits to your bar for a treat that goes perfectly with low-fat milk, tea or coffee.
Different bars for different uses
A bar containing more calories and fat is good for mornings to keep you satisfied longer and for growing children who need the calories.
Don’t have time to eat lunch? Make bars that contain plenty of protein and fiber to keep you fueled until your next meal. For a pre-workout snack, go lighter (unless you plan to work out for more than an hour) and make sure the bar has plenty of carbs to get you ready for a good sweat. Post-workout, a combination of protein, fat and carbs will help you repair your sore muscles and prepare you for your next workout.
Baking and storing tips
Don’t have time to make the bars yourself? Then carefully read ingredient lists on store-bought bars and examine the nutrition facts panel. Some bars load up the calories, fat and sugar, while comparing in nutritional value to a candy bar.
What ingredients would you include in your perfect energy bar?