Energy Bar

March 30, 2012 at 10:37 am 3 comments

I’m always looking for a quick snack for athletes.  Snacks are important, especially for those who need extra calories and have a hard time eating large meals.  Snacks made of real food are a good way to maintain your energy between meals.

A snack should be a combination of carbohydrates and protein.  It is also a good idea to have a carbohydrate that contains fiber.  Real food is always better than a bar.  Many bars have few ingredients with minimal processing, but an apple and peanut butter or yogurt and carrot sticks are better options.

I recently discovered this recipe from the Food Channel and made some alterations.  It’s GREAT for high school athletes as they can pop it into their backpacks for an afternoon snack between lunch and after school athletic practices.  This recipe has been “Teen Approved” and has become a favorite!  It is quick and easy to prepare and contains a good balance of carbohydrates and protein and naturally-occurring fiber.  But don’t tell!

(The first time I made these they came out very crumbly and wouldn’t stick together.  I tried a different peanut butter that was more stable at room temperature, and they held together quite well.  I recommend Teddy Natural Peanut Butter.)

Peanut Oat Energy Bars

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter

2 Tablespoons maple syrup

1 Tablespoon canola oil

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 cups rolled oats

2 cups Koala Crisp cereal

1/4 cup toasted wheat germ

1 cup chopped roasted peanuts

1/2 cup chopped dried apricots

1/2 cup dried cranberries


Heat oven to 350°.  Place oats on large sheet pan with sides.  Roast in the oven for 15 minutes or until lightly toasted.

Spray a 9″ X 13″ pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine honey, peanut butter, maple syrup, canola oil, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  Stir and cook until mixture just begins to bubble.  Remove from the heat.

In a large abowl, combine oats, rice cereal, wheat germ, peanuts, apricots, and cranberries.

Pour the peanut butter mixture over the oatmeal mixture and stir gently with a spatula until well combined.  Transfer to the pan and press firmly into the dish.

Allow to cool completely (about 1 hour) and cut into squares or bars.

Serving:  14 bars

Calories: 240; Fat: 10g; Saturated fat: 1.5g; Carbohydrates: 30g; Protein: 6g; Sodium: 70g.

I  would like to try an alteration of this recipe by replacing the peanut butter and peanuts with almond butter and almonds.  Adding different dried fruit would also be good, such as dried cherries.   FYI:  These bars are gluten-free if you use gluten-free oats.  Stay-tuned for a really yummy GF snack from a fellow dietitian!

This weekend I will be bringing these bars to my son’s regatta.  They’ll be rowing fast!


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Mushrooms! Coconut Almond Snack Balls

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Tracy Bolden  |  March 30, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    Looks delicious, Marcia. I think I’ll try it with the almond butter and almonds. What are your thoughts about coconut oil? (instead of canola oil) The Paleo enthusiasts that I’ve been reading ( Rob Wolf, Mark Sisson) are very down on canola as a GMO and overall poor choice as a food oil. THey LOVE coconut oil, even w/ the high saturated fat, or olive oil.

    • 2. Marcia Nelson, RD  |  April 3, 2012 at 12:36 pm

      Can’t wait to hear how the almond butter works! Canola oil is an excellent source of Mono-unsaturated fats, which reduce LDL and raise HDL cholesterol. If you purchase organic canola oil, it is non-GMO. Coconut oil is high in saturated fat. Paleo-enthusiasts LOVE to say that coconut oil does not raise LDL cholesterol, but the proof still isn’t there. Since there is only one tablespoon in these bars, it might be a great time to use it. I have used coconut oil in cookies and it does add a gentle hint of coconut which I find pleasing. Other than that, it is more difficult to use. Olive oil is also a good option. Take your pick! It’s up to you!

  • 3. Tracy Bolden  |  April 3, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    Thanks,and good perspective on the coconut oil. I’ll let you know how it goes!


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