Energy bars can be a lifesaver if you’re in need of a quick boost on the trails. On your next weekend or day hike, consider taking along a few homemade energy bars. Homemade bars have several benefits over the store-bought variety, including chemical-free ingredients, no fillers, and a budget-friendly price. This article discusses the essentials of creating delicious, nutrient-rich homemade energy bars.
6 Tips for Making Homemade Energy Bars
Tip 1: Choose Your Energy Bar
Energy bars provide essential ingredients to keep you going through the day without the fuss of stopping for a full meal. They are not a substitute for a fully balanced meal, but they can be a great pick-me-up. The most common formula for an energy bar is a grain, fruit, binding liquid combination, but you can easily mix it up to fulfill your dietary restrictions.
Before settling on basic granola homemade energy bars, check out some of the health food blogs. There are several recipes available that you can experiment with, such as Vegan Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars, Chocolate Fig Sea Salt, or Quinoa Chia Seed Bars.
Although not technically an energy bar, Logan Bread is a common high-energy food many hikers rely on. This recipe is very similar to other energy bars and delicious too. The official shelf life is a week, but many hikers claim that if the bread is properly sealed and stored, it can last much longer.
Tip 2: Choose No-Bake or Baked Bars
Homemade energy bars can be baked or simply mixed depending on your ingredients. Many recipes offer both solutions. You won’t lose any nutritional value with a baked bar; however, no-bake bars have a noticeably different texture and a slightly different taste.
Tip 3: Choose Your Dry Ingredients and Blend
Oats are the traditional ingredient for energy bars. They are rich in fiber and antioxidants and contain vitamins that are essential for energetic outdoor activities. Many hikers substitute nuts for oats. Nuts are high in protein, fats, and omega three fatty acids.
If you’re constantly battling hunger or looking for a gluten-free energy bar, consider making a quinoa and chia seed bar. Like oats and nuts, chia seeds contain ample amounts of fiber and omega- 3 fatty acids. They can also easily fulfill your appetite.
Once you’ve selected your grain or nut, you can mix them with spices to add flavor. Cinnamon, brown sugar or sea salt is the most common add-in. You can also add in dry fruits, such as figs, raisins, or raspberries.
Your mixing method should depend on your desired consistency and texture. For a more traditional granola bar, mix the dry ingredients by hand.
Tip 4: Choose and Mix Liquid Ingredients
Honey is a staple ingredient for homemade energy bars. Not only is honey high in energy-inducing vitamins, but it contains antioxidants and antibacterial properties. If honey isn’t your thing, many hikers also mix brown rice or maple syrup, melted chocolate, and butter in the batter as well. Warm the ingredients in a pan or microwave before whisking.
Some recipes require that you pour the liquids into the dry ingredients still warm, but if you’re working with heat-sensitive ingredients, such as chocolate chips, make sure to let it cool first.
Tip 5: Mix the Dry and Liquid Ingredients
Mix the liquid batter with the dry. Make sure that the dry ingredients are thoroughly mixed, creating a sticky, slightly cumbersome batter. For a crunchier bar, the batter should be somewhat dry. Softer, chewy bars will have a runnier batter.
Pour the mixture into a glass baking pan lined with parchment paper. If baking, set in the oven for the recipe’s designated time, usually about 15 minutes at 350 degrees. If you choose to do a no-bake recipe, you will most likely need to refrigerate the pan overnight.
Tip 6: Cut and Store
Cut the bars with the parchment paper still attached. You can store the bars in zip locks, or you can seal them with an airtight vacuum to increase their shelf life. Some no-bake recipes do not require refrigeration, but baked and unbaked versions should be frozen if you don’t plan on using them for a couple of months.
If you’re going on a long-term hike and need to create non-refrigeration dependent bars that keep for over a month, consider a recipe that will allow you to dehydrate the bar before storing in a vacuum bag.
Putting It All Together
Homemade energy bars are packed with the nutrients necessary for a successful day in the great outdoors. Oats, nuts, and quinoa are the most common dry ingredients for these bars. Honey, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, and melted butter and chocolate, fuse the bars together.
Add dried fruits, such as raspberries, raisins, and figs to customize the bars to your taste. Be sure to store the bars properly, so when you’re ready to begin your trek, your homemade energy bars will be too. Do you have a favorite energy bar that you can’t live without? Share your recipe below.