Sunday, November 8, 2015

34 Healthy Energy Bars You Can Make at Home

Everyone loves a great bar. Here, we're talking about the kind that you can pack as a perfectly portable meal or snack (though we love bars with great alcoholic drinks too). Whether you need a breakfast you can eat while commuting, a post-workout snack to hold you until dinner, or a scrumptious yet healthy dessert, bars are fantastic, any time and for any mood you’re in.

But anymore the ingredients and sugar content in so many packaged ones aren’t worth their price—especially when homemade bars often wind up easier on the wallet. And they’re beyond easy to make: Can you stir and use a food processor? Then you can make your own bars.

Check out these recipes, whip up a batch, and you’ll have delicious,healthy snacks for the week. So many are more like formula than set-in-stone recipes, so don’t be afraid to swap in different nuts, seeds, fruit, etc. and create your own twists. You’ll come up with tasty flavors that you’ll never find in a wrapper.

Granola Bars

These bars are loaded with all kinds of good stuff, yet it all comes together in a delicious mix of flavors and textures. Almonds lend a bit of protein and crunch, dried cranberries and raisins bring the sweet and chewy, and chocolate chips make it a party. Toasting the oats may seem unnecessary, but it pumps up their flavor and makes then a little crispy.

Seeds aren’t just for the birds, and these not-too-sweet bars prove it. Hemp, chia, pumpkin, poppy, and flax make them crunchy and provide some omega-3s. Nut butter and quinoa add to the staying power, so you feel full until dinner.

For anyone with nut allergies, this recipe is a total win. The oats pack in tons of fiber, raspberries boast a serious zing, and coconut oil adds a subtle tropical note. Ready in only three steps, the only labor you have to put in is stirring. Doesn’t get easier than that. (Now if only the bowl cleaned itself.)

Granola isn’t only sweet, and odd as a Mediterranean-flavored bar may sound, it tastes amazing. And how could it not with sweet sun-dried tomatoes, slightly bitter Kalamata olives, earthy cumin, spicy chili, and zesty oregano? Salt tooths will devour these.

The hardest part about this recipe is waiting two hours while they set in the fridge. (We recommend Games of Thrones to pass the time.) It’s worth being patient because these come up nice and chewy. Tart cranberries contrast with buttery pistachios, which have been shown to be good for your heart .

Breakfast just got so much better. Take everything you love about your favorite Greek yogurt and pack it into this bar for a portable meal that’s perfect to toss into your gym bag. Unlike packaged bars with Greek yogurt, which actually use a powder and contain no yogurt, these are topped with the real thing. Mix up the fruit each time you make them to keep your taste buds entertained.

Remember your favorite Chewy bars as a kid? Think of these as your even better grown-up version—and one you can customize. Use whatever nuts, fruit, and nut butter suit your fancy, and have fun—after all, when it comes to those foods, you really can’t go wrong.

Energy Bars

Topped with a layer of chocolate—that’s mixed with avocado to boot!—these bars are heaven. The bottom layer of almonds, coconut flour, and bananas is like banana bread. Energy bar or dessert? You decide; we’ll eat them whenever.

Get all the goodness of your fave sandwich in this plant-based bar that’s almost as easy to make. Peanut butter and almonds will pack a protein punch to give you energy that’ll last through a workout, while cranberries and dates take the place of sugary jelly. Delicious!

There’s nothing seedy about these energy bars—except maybe the ingredient list. Quinoa plus sunflower, chia, pumpkin, and flax seeds are full of protein to give you lasting energy. Some finely shredded hard cheese of your choice will give this the salty boost your taste buds are looking for, and some garlic powder makes them taste like a healthy version of your favorite breadsticks.

Pomegranates aren’t commonly found in bars—and that’s a benefit to making your own snacks: You can use whatever ingredients and come up with flavor combos you’d never find on shelves. Dates and quinoa mellow out their tartness here. Use black quinoa, which appears to have more nutrients than red or white varieties .

Don't let the name turn you off: Black beans can make delicious, flour-free brownies and cookies, so why not bars too? Mixed with almond butter, cocoa, banana, raisins, and coconut, these are soft, sweet, and a good source of fiber and magnesium, a mineral involved in energy production, muscle function, and more.

No chopping or baking required here! Cashews, apricots, coconut, oats, and a few other ingredients get whizzed up in the food processor, transferred to a pan, and put in the freezer to set. The apricots lend so much natural sweetness, you may not even want to add agave.

Pumpkin pie can be an everyday thing thanks to these. Cashews have a subtle flavor, so the pumpkin really shines. They’re great for those days when you’re in a not-totally-chewy yet not-totally-crunchy mood since the seeds on top add just enough texture.

Trust us, these taste as amazing as they look. The bright pink layer is filled with raspberries (hello, vitamin C) and coconut, which is praised for its good fats . The chocolate base also features coconut as well as almonds, cashews, and peanut butter—that's enough to boost your energy that you don't need the exotic maca powder. All it takes is a food processor and half an hour in the freezer, and you’ve got a scrumptious treat.

Fruit Bars

We love using the flavor of our favorite Girl Scout cookies to inspire healthy recipes, and these gluten-free, five-ingredient bars don't disappoint! The recipe only makes two bars, though, so multiply the ingredients a few times to make enough to last the week.

These bars are like a portable fruit cobbler or crumble. A jam filling is layered between buttery crusts made with whole-wheat flour and oats. We think adding nut butter would only make this even more delicious.

Sweet, salty, and chocolaty is the answer to all your snacking dilemmas. These treats are naturally sweetened with dates, and using both almonds and almond butter makes them super nutty. A quick whirl in the food processor, and you’re done. Easy to make and clean up!

Gingerbread has an addictive flavor, but too often the cookies are baked into little bricks. These bars have all the tasty in a soft, chewy package. Ginger, cinnamon, and cloves bring the spice you love and pair perfectly with almonds and pecans. Leave the cookies for making pretty houses—we’d rather eat these.

It doesn’t get much easier than these bars, made with just two ingredients: dried apple rings and dried apricots. Purée in a food processor, place on a baking pan, and roll out to your desired thickness. The best part? You can cut and serve these immediately, no cooling or baking necessary.

The name says it all: three ingredients. Actually, that isn't all because you'll be happily surprised at how tasty and versatile these are. Pick a nut or seed, add a dried fruit (or a few), and combine with dates in a food processor. Then you just have to chill and cut into bars.

Protein Bars

Matcha is making waves everywhere and now you can even add it to your bars. The ground green tea from Japan is known for ultra-high antioxidant level, and the caffeine may help keep you going in the afternoons. Topped with chocolate, this snack is so much better than a mocha latte.

OK, so there’s six ingredients if you drizzle chocolate on top (and why would we not?). Still, these are incredibly easy and filling with a rich peanut butter flavor. They make a great post-workout snack or breakfast on mornings when you don’t have time to even heat up some instant oatmeal.

When you’re in the mood for something a little less sweet and a bit more salty, these are for you. Quinoa, nuts, and Parmesan (or nutritional yeast if you’re dairy-free) make these the perfect savory bar. For an extra boost of protein, eliminate the oats and double the pea protein. The 13 grams of protein in a bar will keep you full until your next meal.

Protein powder isn’t reserved for post-workout smoothies. These bars combine vegan protein powder with crunchy almonds for a huge protein payoff—almost 13 grams per bar! Sweetened with maple syrup and optional dairy-free chocolate chips, these taste like dessert and are good for you.

With four varieties of seeds, two different berries, and some crisped rice, these bars pack a lot of flavor into a small package. They come together the same way as traditional Rice Krispie treats—but with peanut butter rather than marshmallows. A much better choice for protein bars (much as we love marshmallows—in cocoa or desserts, that is).

If you’re not in the mood to stand over your oven while you wait for your banana bread to bake, you’re in luck. This option gives you all the sweet, comfort food goodness of the bread packed into a smaller, healthier square. And, unlike bread, they’re foolproof: You can’t burn something you don’t bake!

These are perfect solution for Mounds bar fans. The base layer is bursting with coconut butter, oil, milk, and flour in addition to shredded coconut so there’s no way these won’t taste coconutty. The topping has a heart-healthy helping of dark cacao powder sweetened with honey and coconut oil. We’ll take them over candy bars made with PGPR (what?) and hydrolyzed milk protein any day.

Nutty Bars

Who knew nuts and seeds could look so pretty? But it's the taste here that you'll really love. The bonus is that sunflower, pumpkin, chia, and sesame seeds may be small, but they’re rich in vitamin E, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and copper respectively. And don't skip the orange zest—that little amount adds a ton of zing.

A lot of bars rely heavily on raisins or flavored raisins as the fruit, so our taste buds cheered when we found these. Blueberries are rich in anthocyanins, antioxidants that pack heart-health benefits . A touch of cinnamon and cardamom takes these to the next level.

A packaged orange-flavored bar would most likely have "natural flavors" in it and no orange. (If you could even find an orange bar.) These use orange zest and loads of it for a tasty anti-inflammatory boost . Cashews, almonds, and pecans bring the crunch, and ginger adds a nice, spicy hint.

We love big chunks of fruit in our nut bars, and here sweet apricot breaks up the full flavors of almond and cashews. Coconut flakes add such a tropical twist that we want to try these using dried pineapple rather than apricot next time. Piña colada bar? Yes, please!

Paleo enthusiasts don’t shun dried fruit, but they try not to overdo it. So this fruit-free bar is all nuts, seeds, coconut, and honey. That adds up to a lot of fiber, protein, and good fats to keep you full for hours. But how’s it taste? We give it a perfect 10.

Dark chocolate and sea salt are a perfect pair, and almonds as the third wheel only makes things even better. (If only that were the case when going out in groups of three.) While these bars may look complicated, all you have to do is chop and stir to make them. If you have the time, roast the nuts first—it enhances the flavor like whoa.


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