We’re all familiar with that afternoon energy slump. You know, when you’re in dire need of a pick-me-up but don’t want to indulge in something unhealthy. If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to store-bought energy bars, look no further! This homemade energy bar recipe is easy to make, delicious, and packed with healthy ingredients.
The Best Power Bar Recipe Ingredients
It might seem like common knowledge, but many people don’t realize how their food choices affect their energy levels.
Ever notice how you tend to feel more sluggish after eating a greasy cheeseburger than you do after consuming a hearty salad? That’s because ingredients like refined carbs, added sugars, and saturated fats can all lead to that dreaded afternoon slump.
On the other hand, foods that are rich in nutrients like protein, fiber, and healthy fats can help boost your energy levels and keep you feeling fuller for longer. That’s why the best power bar recipes contain a balance of all three macronutrients, and some micronutrients.
How Do Carbohydrates Affect Your Energy Levels?
Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients that your body needs in order to function properly. They’re your body’s main source of energy.
Simple carbohydrates are made up of simple sugars and refined starches, and they’re usually found in processed and refined foods like white bread, candy, and cake.
These types of carbohydrates are absorbed into your bloodstream quickly, which can give you a temporary energy boost. But, they can also cause your blood sugar levels to spike and then crash soon after. This can leave you feeling tired, irritable, and hungry (5).
Complex carbohydrates are made up of long chains of sugars, and they’re found in whole grain breads, starchy vegetables, and legumes. These types of carbohydrates are broken down more slowly by your body, which can help to provide a more stable source of energy.
The energy bar recipes below contain both simple and complex carbohydrates to give you a sustained energy boost that will last until your next meal.
Some ingredients you’ll want to look for in a power bar recipe include:
- Oats: rich in whole, slow-digesting carbohydrates
- Fruit: a natural source of simple sugars plus fiber
Read More: Arugula Salad With Steak Recipe
How Does Protein Affect Your Energy Levels?
Protein is an essential macronutrient that plays a key role in many bodily functions, including the building and repair of tissues, the production of enzymes and hormones, and the transportation of nutrients throughout the body.
Not to mention that it’s also necessary for the development and maintenance of lean muscle mass.
While protein is important for everyone, it’s especially important for athletes and active individuals because it helps to repair and rebuild muscle tissue that’s been broken down during exercise. Consuming protein after a workout can also theoretically help to reduce post-exercise soreness (2).
The minimum Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for protein is 0.36 grams per pound, or about 56 grams per day for the average sedentary adult (8).
However, active individuals and athletes often require more protein than the RDI, anywhere from 0.54 to 0.73 grams per pound of body weight, or about 82-109 grams per day (8).
In the energy bar recipes you’ll find below, we’ve used a range of protein sources including:
- Whey protein – whey protein is a particularly good option because it’s a fast-digesting protein that’s been shown to promote muscle growth and recovery.
- Nuts – nuts are a great source of plant-based protein as well as healthy fats.
- Nut butters – nut butters are another good source of plant-based protein and healthy fats.
- Seeds – like nuts, seeds are a great source of plant-based protein and healthy fats.
How Does Fiber Affect Your Energy Levels?
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body cannot digest. While that might sound like a bad thing, fiber actually has a number of health benefits.
For one, it helps to keep you feeling full after eating, which can help to control weight in the long-term. Fiber is also important for promoting regularity and keeping the digestive system healthy (3).
There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble.
Both types are important for overall health, but soluble fiber is particularly beneficial for regulating blood sugar levels. That’s because it slows down the absorption of carbohydrates into the bloodstream, which can help to prevent blood sugar spikes after meals (3).
The RDI for fiber is 14 grams per 1,000 calories consumed, or about 25 grams per day for the average sedentary adult. However, many people don’t get enough fiber in their diets. In fact, the average American only consumes about 15 grams of fiber per day (4).
To up your fiber intake, look for energy bars that contain high-fiber ingredients like:
- Oats – oats are a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber.
- Fruit – fruit is a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber.
- Nuts – nuts are a good source of insoluble fiber.
- Seeds – seeds are a good source of insoluble fiber.
- Vegetables – vegetables are a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber.
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How Do Healthy Fats Affect Your Energy Levels?
Healthy fats are an important part of a balanced diet. Not only do they help to keep you feeling full, but they also play a role in hormone production, cell growth, and absorption of certain vitamins and minerals. In addition, healthy fats are a good source of energy.
There are four main types of healthy fats: monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, saturated fats, and trans fats. Of these, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are the most beneficial for health.
Healthy fats can be found in a variety of foods in our energy bar recipes, including:
- Nuts – almonds, cashews, pistachios, etc.
- Seeds – chia seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.
- Oils – olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, etc.
The Best Power Bar Recipes
Now that you know what ingredients to look for in a power bar recipe, it’s time to get cooking! Here are some of our favorite recipes:
Healthy Fruit And Nut Energy Bar (1)
This is a healthy, crunchy, homemade energy bar filled with flavor that you can snack on at any time.
Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
For The Crust:
- 1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts or almonds) or rolled oats, divided.
- 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
For The Fruit Filling:
- Three 1/4 cups diced, mixed soft dried dried fruit (about 16 ounces), divided
- 1 1/2 cups apple cider
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- To make the crust, combine the whole-wheat flour, 3/4 cup nuts, all-purpose flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor then pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add in the butter and continue pulsing until well incorporated
- Whisk the oil, egg, almond extract, and 1 teaspoon vanilla in a small bowl.
- Add the mixture into the food processor with the motor running, process, then pulse for about 30 to 45 seconds until the mixture begins to clump. Scrape down the sides if necessary.
- Measure out 1/2 cup of the mixture and combine with the remaining 1/4 cup chopped nuts in a separate bow. Set aside for the topping.
- Now preheat your oven to 400 degrees F then generously coat a 9×13 inch baking dish using cooking spray.
- To make the fruit filling and assemble the bars, mix 2 cups of dried fruit, sugar, cider, and cornstarch in a large saucepan.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer using medium heat while constantly stirring for about 4 to 5 minutes until the mixture becomes very thick.
- Stir in 1 teaspoon of vanilla and the remaining 1 1/4 cups dried fruit.
- Transfer the doubt to the prepared baking before spreading evenly. Press firmly to the bottom to form a crust.
- Spread the fruit filling over the crust then sprinkle the reserved topping over the filling.
- Bake the bars for about 15 minutes then reduce the oven temperatures to 350 degrees and continue baking for about 25 to 30 minutes until the crust and topping are lightly brown.
- Let it cool for at least 1 1/2 hours before cutting into bars.
This recipe is courtesy of eatingwell.com
Read More: Hearty Salmon Salad Recipe
Oatmeal Peanut Butter Energy Bar Recipe (7)
This is an easy no-bake energy bar recipe that uses whole ingredients that deliver the full nutritional value without compromising on flavor.
Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
- 1 cup nuts like walnuts, pecans, cashews, or almonds
- 1 cup oats
- 1/2 cup raisins, or dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup peanut butter, or alternative nut butter
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Place the nuts in the bowl of a large food processor and pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Ensure you stop before they start turning into butter.
- Add in the raisins, oats, cinnamon, chia seeds, and nutmegs the pulse five 1-second pulses until they are well combined.
- Add the honey, vanilla, and peanut butter to the mixture and continue pulsing until all the ingredients are well blended. Scrape the bowl’s sides as necessary.
- Scrape the mixture onto an 8×8 inch baking dish and firmly press it into an even layer. Cover and chill it for about two hours or until firm.
- Slice into bars using a knife and store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
This recipe is courtesy of fivehearthome.com
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Diabetic Energy Bar Recipe (6)
This energy bar is low in sugar and fat compared to most variants making it a good option for people with diabetes or anyone who wants to limit their sugar intake.
Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
- 200ml water
- Spray oil
- 200g jumbo rolled oats
- 2 bananas, mashed (peeled weight 200g)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sweetener
- 2 heaped teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 carrot, grated
- 1 courgette, grated
- 1 apple, unpeeled, cut into small chunks
- 100g dried apricots, roughly chopped
- 50g pumpkin seeds
- Start by preheating your oven to 180 degrees C then lightly oil a large baking sheet.
- Next, place the oats in a bowl, stir in the water and set the mixture aside.
- In a separate bowl, lightly beat the mashed bananas until they are almost creamy before adding cinnamon and the sweetener.
- Add in the courgette and carrot and mix until well-combined. Add the apple, soaked oats, apricots, and seeds then mix again.
- Spread this to attain a thickness of about 1 1/2 – 2cm thick and gently press it down onto the baking sheet.
- Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes. Check after about 20 minutes to see if it’s getting very brown around the edges and cover it with foil for the remaining cooking time.
- Set aside to cool, cut into 16 portions and serve.
This recipe is courtesy of diabetes.org.uk
The Bottom Line
When it comes to finding the best energy bar recipe for you, it’s important to consider your individual needs. For example, if you’re looking for a power bar recipe that will help you recover from a workout, you’ll want to look for one that contains protein and carbs.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for an energy bar recipe that will help you control your blood sugar levels, you’ll want to look for one that’s high in fiber and healthy fats.
No matter what your needs are, we hope that you find the perfect energy bar recipe from our list!
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Dried-Fruit Bars (2010, eatingwell.com)
- Effects of protein supplements on muscle damage, soreness and recovery of muscle function and physical performance: a systematic review (2014, pubmed.gov)
- Health benefits of dietary fiber (2009, pubmed.gov)
- Increasing Fiber Intake (n.d., ucsfhealth.org)
- Is Your Mood Disorder a Symptom of Unstable Blood Sugar? (n.d., umich.edu)
- Muesli energy bars (n.d., diabetes.org.uk)
- OATMEAL PEANUT BUTTER ENERGY BARS (2021, fivehearthome.com)
- Protein for Life: Review of Optimal Protein Intake, Sustainable Dietary Sources and the Effect on Appetite in Ageing Adults (2018, nih.gov)