Store-bought snack bars can be expensive. A protein bar can be a handy way to fuel oneself before or after a workout. However, certain protein bars have additives and added sugars, which could be unhealthy.
Store-bought snack bars, either marketed in packets or wrapped in paper, are just good-enough for convenience rather than nutrition.
Why not try making your own?
Preparing energy snack bars at home is pretty easy, and they include all of the macro and micro-nutrients required for athletes. You can either add or remove dried fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, or other toppings as per your liking.
A granola bar recipe may be as simple as combining peanut butter, dates, and oats in a food processor. However, you can also go fancier and prepare nutrient-dense bars with so much more.
Read on to find out three healthy snack bar recipes for athletes.
1. No-Bake Cookie Granola Bars with Lemon Icing
These simple, crunchy but chewy, compact, shelf-stable treats are packed with dazzling, cheery flavor, thanks to sweetened crumbled cookies, citrusy hops with zest, and a splash of fresh-squeezed lime juice.
What You’ll Need
- 5-ounce crunchy lemon cookies(any brand would do)
- 2 cups crunchy cereal of brown rice
- 1 cup gluten-free oats
- 2/3 cup honey(preferably vegan)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon zest or 1⁄2 to 1 tsp concentrated lemon flavor/extract
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 2 tbsp coconut butter
Lemon Icing With a Kick
- 2 tsp. coconut butter
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar (Stevia)
- A generous sprinkle of turmeric powder (pop of color)
For Cookie Granola Bars
- Using parchment paper, grease or line a 9×9-inch baking pan. Also, grease a measuring cup’s flat bottom.
- Toss the lemon cookies in a Ziploc bag, lock them, and pound them into gritty crumbs and smaller chunks with a sledgehammer or similar food object.
- Stir together the cookies, oats, and crunchy cereal in a large mixing bowl.
- Combine the lemon zest, honey, vanilla, and kosher salt in a small saucepan and boil it over medium-low heat.
- Use a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature to reach 250F, leave it to boil, and do not stir.
- Take off the heat promptly and mix in the coconut butter till homogeneous.
- Pour the coconut-honey mixture carefully over the dry ingredients and toss to incorporate completely.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared dish and firmly push it in with the oiled measuring cup till even. Leave to cool for 1 to 2 hours.
How to Make Lemon Icing
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the lemon juice, coconut butter, and powdered sugar until smooth. If using turmeric, sprinkle enough to get the vibrant yellow color.
- Slice the cooled bars in cubes or narrow rectangles as preferred. Then, drizzle with icing.
- If the icing becomes too stiff, heat it for about ten seconds in the microwave and gently whisk.
2. Peanut Butter and Chocolate Energy Bars
The sweetness in these no-bake protein bars comes from dates. Every piece contains a substantial amount of protein (from peanuts and peanut butter) and a bulk of fiber from oatmeal.
What You’ll Need
- 3/4 cup Medjool dates, diced
- 1 cup natural smooth peanut butter
- 1/2 cup oats (preferably rolled)
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted dry-roasted chopped peanuts
- 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
- In a medium dish, soak dates in boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain while keeping the seeping water.
- In the meantime, prepare an 8-inch square baking sheet with parchment paper, leaving some overhanging on two edges. Coat the parchment paper using cooking spray.
- In a food processor, blend the drenched dates, oats, peanut butter, and salt; pulse until quite clumpy. If the mixture appears dry, add a spoonful of the remaining soaking water.
- Shift the mixture to a medium mixing bowl and toss in the peanuts. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and dab it to smooth out.
- Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave for about 2-3 minutes.
- Using a spatula, evenly distribute the chocolate well over the oat batter. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until completely cool.
- Lift the overhanging parchment to remove it from the pan. Make 16 squares.
3. Coconut and Strawberry Energy Bars
Don’t be deceived by the attractive pink color! These delicious strawberry and coconut bars are high in protein, with about 17 grams in each bar. For a rich, decadent taste, coat them with antioxidant-rich dark chocolate.
What You’ll Need
To make the strawberry layer
- 4 cups strawberries, frozen or fresh
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 tbsp cornflour plus 14 cups of water
To make the coconut crumble.
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup desiccated unsweetened coconut
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 cup cubed butter
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup chopped almonds for garnish
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F and line a 9in x 5in x 3in rectangle baking dish with parchment paper.
- In a saucepan, incorporate all fillings and simmer gently over medium-low heat.
- Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring periodically. Using the back of a wooden spoon, mash the strawberries together.
- Simmer the filling until it has thickened and become jammy.
- Add the flour, sugar, coconut butter, and egg to a food processor and pulse until the mixture clumps together to prepare the foundation and crumble.
- Fill the prepped square baking pan with three-quarters of the batter, then cover with the strawberry jam prepared.
- Crumble and sprinkle the remaining dough on top and garnish with the almonds.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked adequately with a nice golden brown color.
- Leave to cool thoroughly before cutting and serving.
When rushing from one activity to the next, it’s tempting to rely on convenience meals or store-bought energy bars. Sure, they’ll fill you up and provide some protein, but that’s about it. And have you ever considered reading the ingredient list?
These quick and healthy snack bar recipes for athletes can provide you with all the nutrients you require during strenuous workouts.
Preparing your energy bars at home gives you complete control over what ingredients go into them.
You can customize these recipes as per your liking to switch between the toppings, and we bet you’ll surely enjoy every bite of it!