These are so delicious it’s hard to believe they are good for you. If you are like my family and spend too much money on packaged energy bars such as Kind, Cliff, Luna, or Lara, you may want to try to whip up your own. I know what you’re thinking—won’t this take hours and dirty a bunch of dishes? Nope. Won’t I have to go out and buy a bunch of ingredients-probably not! Won’t an entire batch go bad within a week or so? Nope! Too good to be true? Not at all!
These nutrition packed snacks (or breakfasts) are super simple and easy to make using what you probably already have in your cabinet and only use 1 bowl-that of your food processor. If you don’t have one, I highly recommend investing in a good one-there are so many uses from making your own hummus to making batters such as for sunflower butter blondies (from a previous blog post). I love my 14-cup Cuisinart one, but there are other good ones out there too.
This recipe is also a great way to use up small bits of leftover nuts, dried fruit, seeds, oats, and other odds and ends you may have lingering in your pantry. I have also added protein powder such as 100% whey to make them even more filling. And, with all of the flavors available now, the possibilities for variety are endless.
When adding protein powder, I use less oats, so that the total of oats and powder together is equal to 1 cup. And, I needed a nut free option to send to school in my daughter’s lunch bag, so I substituted sunflower seed butter and sunflower seeds. You could also use soy nut butter and roasted soy beans.
As if the above reasons were not enough to make you want to head to your kitchen, it gets even better—these bars (or balls, as I often form them into ball shapes), also make perfect gifts -I made a batch of chocolate chip peanut butter ones for my mom for Mother’s Day and gave them to her in a cute oversized coffee mug.
And, what about nutrition? This IS a nutrition blog, right? Ok, so these bars are choc full of vitamins and minerals, fiber, protein, and heart healthy fats! In short, they are tasty nutrition powerhouses! Here is the basic recipe, which can be adapted according to your pantry inventory and your family’s tastes..
Basic Energy Bar Recipe
1 cup dried fruit (we like raisins and/or dates)
1cup old fashioned oats or 1 cup combined oats and protein powder. Can also add ground flaxseed in this part to total 1 cup.
2 tbsp oil; I use olive (not extra virgin because of the strong flavor) or canola because they are heart healthy
1/2 c nut or seed butter (any kind. We like sunflower seed, cashew, almond, and peanut or a mix of any of them)
1/3 cup nuts or seeds such as sunflower or chia or can substitute chocolate chips here
Pinch of salt-rounds out the flavor
Cinnamon to taste
Puree first 5 ingredients to desired consistency in food processor. Add, nuts, seeds,and optional chocolate chips for texture and pulse a few times in the processor. Oil hands and form into balls and place on small cookie sheet or press into greased or parchment lined baking dish to make bars. Place in freezer and when frozen, place in zip top bag back into the freezer so they stay fresh for a long time. They are good right out of the freezer or you can let them thaw for a few minutes before eating.
Makes 10 large or 20 small servings
One of my favorite combinations is peanut butter coconut made with 1 cup of dates , 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut, 1/2 cup of chunky peanut butter and extra peanuts left whole, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. I have thought also about trying a sweet and savory option but have not tried it.
Here is what I want to try:
And, I also found 33 more recipes for homemade energy bars here: