If you are tired of yet-another highly processed energy bar, you’ll like this recipe for a homemade alternative. These crunchy, seedy bars offer a yummy balance of fiber, protein, and healthy fats, with minimal prep time and no cooking.
You are welcome to mix-and-match the ingredients. That is, don’t fret if you don’t have chia (although the chia seeds do add a fun crunch) or if you want to use chopped walnuts instead of sunflower seeds.
These bars are best stored in the refrigerator for a quick and hearty snack (or dessert). At room temperature, they can become crumbly. That said, the crumbs are totally enjoyable by the spoonful and as a topping for yogurt or oatmeal.
1 1⁄2 cup dry oatmeal
1⁄2 cup sunflower seeds, hemp hearts, or chopped nuts of your choice
3 tablespoons chia seeds
1⁄4 cup dried fruit of your choice such as craisins or chopped dates
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup peanut butter or nut butter of your choice
1⁄2 cup honey
Optional: 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- Line a 9-x 9-inch square pan with parchment paper or plastic wrap with enough overhang for easy removal.
- In a medium-sided bowl, combine oats, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, dried fruit, cinnamon, and salt.
- In a small microwaveable bowl, combine peanut butter, honey (and vanilla extract); warm in the microwave oven (30 to 60 seconds), and then mix together until very smooth.
- Pour the peanut butter mixture over the dry ingredients. Using a sturdy spoon, stir until evenly combined.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Using the back of the spoon or a spatula, firmly press the mixture evenly into the pan.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
- Gently lift the parchment or plastic overhang to remove from pan and slice into 16 bars. Enjoy immediately or wrap individual bars and place in a freezer-safe bag to store in the fridge or freezer.
Yield: 16 bars
Nutrition information: 2,900 total calories; 180 calories per bar; 20 g carbohydrate; 5 g protein; 9 g fat
Recipe from Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook, 6th Edition (2019)