While browsing the aisles at any grocer, you are likely to see 10s or even 100s of “energy” or “food” bar options. Not only are these processed, full of sugar and often contain preservatives, they are also often pricey. The bars my husband and son prefer run between $0.99 (on sale) to $2.00. The fruit-and-nut bars I sometimes purchase for my gluten-free crew average $1.59. And yet, we buy a few each week anyway! Why? Because my husband and son are into sports, a lot. When you are burning tons of energy, a quick protein-packed fill-up is a good way to get through until your next meal. When we are out and about, and I’ve forgotten a snack, its a quick, simple fix. Well, we are moving on. We try not to purchase pre-packaged/processed foods, so I’m experimenting with making our own “energy” bars. Here are recipes for a oat based (can be gluten free if GF oats are used) and a fruit-and-nut bar. Enjoy!
Oatmeal Banana Energy Bars
(Makes a 9 inch square pan)
- 2 cups oatmeal
- 1/2 cup flax seeds (ground or crushed)
- 4 Tbs Rice Protein Powder
- 1 cup vanilla rice milk (we like Pacific)
- 6 Tbs egg replacer (like Ener-G or Flax Seed jel) or 1 large egg + 1 egg white
- 2 bananas- ripe and pureed (or sub fruit/pumpkin puree, equal to 1 cup)
- 1/2 cup applesauce- unsweetened
- 1/4 cup agave, maple syrup or honey
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp cinnamon (omit if adding chocolate)
Add-ins if desired
- 1/2 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup nuts of choice, crushed
- 1/2 cup dried fruit (we like cranberries)
- Replace 1/2 fruit puree with peanut or almond butter
Mix all ingredients together (well), and place in prepared 9 inch square pan. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for approx 40-45 minutes. Cool and slice into desired size bars. Store loosely covered in the refrigerator. For travel, we simply remove bars and wrap them in a cloth napkin secured with a safety pin, string or band.
We like to make fruit purees (pumpkin, zucchini, apple, banana, prune, fig, etc.) and store in the freezer in 1 cup portions, then the desired flavor can be pulled out and used in baking and cooking.
Fruit and Nut Bars (Gluten Free)
Makes one brownie pan (ours is about 6×10)
- 1 cup dried fruit of choice (cranberries, blueberries, bananas, apples, cherries, strawberries) home dried in low heat dehydrator is best to remain food integrity. You want the fruit to remain tender, not crunchy if you’re going to use it in this recipe.
- 1 cup dates (whole- roughly chopped, do not buy pre-chopped)
- 2/3 cup Raw almonds
- 2/3 cup Raw cashews
- 2 tsp. finely grated citrus zest (lemon, orange, lime)
- 3-4 drops almond extract if desired
Spray or oil pan, set aside.
Place fruit, dates, zest and extract in food processor/blender/Vitamix and process until you have a smooth paste. Pour into a bowl and set aside. Pulse nuts in blender until finely chopped but not pureed/mushy.
Combine nuts and paste. Mix well (fingers work best). Transfer to prepared pan, smooth and allow to sit until firm. Store tightly covered in refrigerator, makes about 8 bars.
Eat Well. Be Well.
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By Jamie Ervin, Green Options