3 Ways To Make Your Own Healthy Energy Bars
Making your own energy bars at home from nutritious whole ingredients is a great way to get “real” food throughout the day, without all the added sugar. Remember to include a variety of macro- and micronutrients: carbs from cereal grains and dried fruit, fat and protein from nuts, seeds, protein powders and nut butters. Many bars can be stored for one to two weeks in an airtight container.
THE SUPERFOOD ENERGY BAR
Superfoods are nutrient-rich foods considered to be especially beneficial for health, well-being and the prevention of disease.
Superfood ingredients like hemp, chia and coconut are popular in energy bars marketed to health-conscious consumers, but they’re often paired with added sugars such as agave, coconut sugar or honey.
To avoid the excess sweetness without sacrificing the great health benefits of these foods, try making these Hemp Protein Bars recommended by Andrea Kapner, a certified Health Educator who teaches nutrition and cooking classes to children and adults in New York City. Kapner says,
“These bars are incredibly easy to make once you have all the ingredients on hand. Chia seeds are small but pack in fiber, protein and omega-3s.”
INGREDIENTS: 1 cup pumpkin seeds, 1 cup dried shredded coconut, 1/2 cup hemp hearts (shelled hemp seeds), 1/2 cup hemp protein powder (you can use hemp hearts instead), 4 tablespoons chia seeds, 20 fresh Medjool dates (pitted), 6 tablespoons coconut oil, 4 tablespoons cacao powder, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/2 teaspoon ground vanilla, 6 tablespoons rolled oats, and 2 tablespoons poppy seeds.
THE SWEET BEAN ENERGY BAR
The sweet bean energy bar uses cooked black beans to “add protein and fiber without overpowering the banana and chocolate flavors.” The recipe is quick and easy to make, and there’s no cooking involved if you use canned beans.
INGREDIENTS: 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, drained and rinsed, 3/4 cup dried banana slices, 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/3 cup (packed) raisins or dried cranberries, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1/2 cup brown rice syrup, 1/4 cup oatmeal blended until very fine, 1/4 cup ground flaxseed, 1/2 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips (optional), 2 tablespoons almond meal, fine.
THE NO-GRAIN APRICOT ENERGY BAR
This energy bar doesn’t contain any added sugar and is grain- and dairy-free. Many of the ingredients used in non-Paleo energy bars such as dried fruit and nuts are included in these too, but the Paleo versions have unique twists that make them fun to try and to taste. For instance the Primal Palate, a site dedicated to recipes and menus that fit the Paleo lifestyle, makes a snack bar with eggs as a protein source and coconut oil for added fat.
INGREDIENTS: 1 cup dried apricots, 1 cup almonds, 1 cup cashews, 2 eggs, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, 1/2 vanilla bean pod, scraped, and 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil.