What Makes a Good Energy Bar?
To me, energy bars are all about sustained, slow release energy for the body.
There needs to be a balance of protein, carbohydrate and fat in order to do this as each of the food groups are broken down and absorbed by the body at different rates.
These are the first ones to be digested, with any refined sugars giving an instant energy kick. Refined sugar also helps to stick the bar together and make the texture crunchy.
Dried and fresh fruits baked into the bar will give a longer, more sustainable sugar spike and also cut down the amount of refined sugar needed in the bar for flavour.
Ingredients like oats, flaked buckwheat, quinoa, spelt or millet all work well as slower release, wholegrain carbs. Because they are wholegrain, they take longer for the body to break down, releasing their energy more slowly and following the sugar to prevent a sugar crash.
The next food group to be broken down and absorbed. They include ingredients like nuts and seeds.
Nuts and seeds can be used raw or toasted to give extra flavour.
The final ingredients to be broken down and converted into energy, whether butter or oil, either will give flavour, energy and texture to the bar.
Here is my go to energy bars recipe, which I have used in various guises over the years. It can be cut into whatever size bars you like, depending on whether you’re fuelling hungry teenagers or keeping toddlers going between meals. It can be scaled up or down and the ingredients can be adjusted to suit either what you have in your cupboards or your dietary requirements.
I make these for my kids as snacks, it keeps in the fridge for about a week (although usually doesn’t last that long). I’ve used bananas in this recipe, it’s a really good way to use up over-ripe ones, but if you’re all out, a drained tin of fruit mashed & stirred in works just as well.
Play about with the dried fruit and nuts and even the oats can be swapped for gluten free alternatives.
85g soft brown sugar
2 – 3 bananas
225g rolled oats
50g desiccated coconut
50g flaked almonds
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
- Heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4
- Lightly grease a 28 x 23cm approx roasting tin or baking tray
- Melt the butter and sugar over a gentle heat.
- Measure the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix together
- Once the butter has melted, mash the bananas and stir into the butter and sugar mixture. Mix with the dry ingredients.
- Press the mixture into the prepared tin with the back of a spoon to level and smooth the top. Put into the oven for about 45 mins, you want a good golden brown colour.
- Once ready, remove from the oven, allow to cool for 10 mins, then cut into squares with a knife and allow to cool completely before removing from the tin.
- Layer into a lidded container and keep in the fridge.