I have a weakness for energy bars. I know they’re overpriced and that many are basically glorified candy bars and provide far more vitamins and minerals than I probably need from a snack, but when in unfamiliar territory (like a road trip) with no snacks in my purse, I’m very apt to reach for a Clif Bar when my stomach starts growling. I actually don’t buy them that often, but that’s because I try to always have something to eat with me.

Now that classes have started again, I have to get back in the habit of carrying around food to get me through eight-and-ten-hour stretches. For better or worse, this requires some planning—and cooking!—ahead. Yesterday I had a few free hours, so I decided to make my own damn energy bars.

Here is the recipe I came up with, based on various other recipes I saw online. They’re pretty moist, and intentionally so. If that’s not your thing, you can cook them a little longer or use a tiny bit less milk. Enjoy!

Baked Oatmeal Energy Bars

Ingredients
• 1.5 cups rolled oats (I used 1 cup rolled oats and 1/2 cup steel-cut oats)
• 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or other nut)
• 3/4 cup dried fruit (I used 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots, ¼ cup chopped dried dates, and ¼ cup raisins)
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 1 1/4 cups skim or soy milk
• 1 egg or egg substitute (I used Ener-G Egg Replacer)
• 1 tsp vanilla

dsc01588 - Cooking Ahead and Homemade Oatmeal Energy Bars!

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350*
2. Mix dry ingredients.
3. Mix wet ingredients.
4. Pour wet into dry. Stir to combine.
5. Pour into a 9×9 baking dish either coated in cooking spray or lined with parchment.
6. Bake for 40 minutes.
7. Cut into 9 squares.

Makes 9 servings . Each bar is about 125 calories with 3 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein.

Notes:
• If you want it sweeter, you can add ¼ cup brown sugar, maple syrup, honey or molasses, but I thought the mellow sweetness from the fruit was plenty.
• You also might want to add a scoop or two of protein powder to the mix for extra energy!

I also made a big pot of zucchini, eggplant and chickpeas in tomato sauce last night along with some whole wheat couscous. It travels well and tastes good and provides a lot of protein, fiber, and some veggies, among other necessities. Good stuff.

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