Energy bars are the perfect healthy go to snacks to keep you energized on a busy day. Store-bought energy bars, however, can be expensive and filled with not so desirable ingredients including additional sugar. The good news is, you can make your own energy bars and use the ingredients you prefer. Store them in airtight containers or keep refrigerated to last a week. Here are easy to follow, nutritious and delicious energy bars to try:
1. Easy 4-Ingredient Bars
This energy bar recipe was created by Faith Durand of The Kitchn. It has no added sugar and only takes oats, nuts, bananas and dates. You need 2 cups oats, ¼ cup chopped nuts such as pecans, hazelnuts or walnut, two large, ripe bananas and ¼ cup chopped dried dates. You can also add some salt, a teaspoon of vanilla, grated nutmeg and cinnamon. Set the oven to 350°F (176°C) and lightly grease a baking dish with olive oil or butter. In a bowl, mash the bananas until almost liquid. Add the rest of the ingredients and press evenly into the baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes. You may sprinkle it with cinnamon or nutmeg.
2. Primal Energy Bars
This energy bar created by Les Mills contains protein powder for increased energy boost. Start by toasting ¼ cup each of slivered almonds, pecans, walnuts and unsweetened shredded coconut evenly on a cookie sheet. Once golden brown, process in a food processor and set to pulse until coarse or crumbly. Set aside. Mix ¼ cup coconut oil and ¼ cup almond butter (or any nut butter) in a bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds then stir until smooth. Add 1 and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon honey and ½ teaspoon sea salt. Mix well. Combine nut mixture, almond meal and ½ cup unsweetened whey protein powder. Mix well then add 1 large egg. Add ½ cup dried blueberries or cranberries. Press in a square baking pan and bake for 10 minutes at 325°C (617°F). Allow to cool before cutting into bars.
3. Granola Bars
This granola bar recipe is easy to make and takes only five ingredients, with no baking involved. You only have to keep it in the freezer and it’s ready. The base for this energy bar is the dates, which also acts as the natural sweetener. You can process 1 cup of pitted dates in the food processor but make sure small bits remain. After dough is formed, toast 1 ½-cup oats until slightly golden brown but you can leave them raw. Place oats, dates and 1 cup roasted almonds in a mixing bowl then set aside. Heat ¼-cup honey and ¼-cup peanut butter over low heat. Pour over the oat mixture and mix thoroughly. Transfer to a baking dish lined with parchment paper or plastic wrap. Press firmly until flat, cover and freeze for 20 minutes. Remove from dish and slice into bars. You can store it in an airtight container to last for a few days.
4. Savory Energy Bars
Set the oven to 350°F (176°C). Line a baking pan with aluminum foil and spray lightly grease with unsalted butter or cooking spray. In a bowl, mix 3 cups cooked quinoa, 2 cups finely ground oats, ½ cup each sunflower and pumpkin seed kernels, 1/3 cup flax seeds and ¼-cup chia seeds. Pour 2 cups of 2% milk and add in ¼ cup finely shredded cheese. You may use parmesan, Romano, or asiago. Season with 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder, and ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Mix well and transfer into the baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes or until set. Cool and transfer to a chopping board. Cut into bars.