Energy bars are best defined as supplemental bars. This is so since they are made up of cereals among other energy foods. A feature unique about energy bars is that they are expedient, pre-wrapped, durable, and highly portable. Unlike most snacks, energy giving bars are ready and waiting to be consumed. Different bars contain different types of foods.
Most bars are made from whole foods, filled with fiber and fruits for effective digestion. Whole food bars are more preferred compared to candy-like bars. You can always choose to make your own bars if the commercial ones do not meet your needs. This post teaches you how to make energy bars the easy way.
Facts about Energy Bars
The weight of a standard energy bar is supposed to range from forty-five to eighty grams, providing you with two hundred to three hundred calories. The ability of food bars to provide quick energy does depend mainly on the various types of carbohydrates, such as dextrose, glucose, and fructose.
However, most complex carbs are limited, especially barley and oats. On the other hand, protein bar consists of fast digesting foods. Generally, nutrition bars do not have sugar alcohols, but fats exist in minimal levels mostly provided by dark chocolate or cocoa butter. Most supplemental bars are made from whole foods, filled with fiber and fruits, providing you with wholesome quality nutrition.
Supplemented bars are highly portable. All you have to do is tuck them into your gym bag, jacket pocket, or backpack for preplanning or emergency food. The condition of different bars changes significantly depending on the weather. There are some that will melt when exposed to hot temperatures, and there are some that will simply become inedible when subjected to extreme cold.
They are the best for facilitating pre-exercise as well as pre-hiking eating. The energy is crucial for enhancing stamina along with endurance. Supplemental bars happen to be the best for boosting energy when you need it the most because of the two hundred to three hundred calories they supply you with, every time you consume a bar.
Many manufacturers of supplemental bars assert that they are highly digestible. The digestibility of these bars is questionable when compared to standard food. This is so since digestibleness of the bars varies significantly from one individual to another. You will hear some athletes, bikers, or hikers comment on how full their stomachs are after consuming energy bars.
Although, other individuals will claim that the bars are the only food they can possibly stand during hiking or exercising. You have to identify bars that do not instill stomach upset. However, the secret to avoiding any intestinal discomfort is to drink aconsiderable amount of water along with the bar.
You should know that energy bars have extremely low water content. Therefore, you should not expect them to be as compact as fresh fruits (high water content). The reason why the bars fill your stomach so fast is because of their low water content. Fortified energy bars do not smell and test better when compared to organic bars. Athletes would prefer fortified bars as to natural ones because of the high amounts of energy required.
Do not make the mistake of assuming that energy bars are made of some special ingredients. As we mentioned earlier, the secret of supplemental bars is the high calorie content. There is every reason for you to make your own energy bars, especially when you are planning a hiking or alpine climbing activity.
You will get to cut on cost because the commercially produced bars are expensive. Nonetheless, you can always be economical and go for the cheap low-fat bars. Consuming too many commercially produced energy bars can potentially lead to health problems.
In actual fact, getting used to energy bars might motivate you to omit natural foods from your diet. You might find yourself always going for a nutrition bar instead of a fruit you brought to exercise or one that you can forage in the wild when hiking.
It is obvious that outdoor activities and sports require you to carry energy giving foods. Nevertheless, fruits and veggies are among the healthiest foods.
If you were to choose between natural or homemade energy bars and fortified energy bars, it is wise for you to go for the first option. This is mainly so since fortified bars could significantly lead to an overdose of minerals.
It has been mentioned several times in this post that energy bars are meant to boost your energy, but they do not qualify to be your routine diet. A diet composed primarily of supplemental bars is usually poor in variety.
You should think twice before fully engaging energy bars for your day to day dietary plan. The bottom line is that you should eat energy bars when you really need an energy boost depending on the activity you are involved in at the time. However, the wise thing to do is to consume different wholesome meals.
Types of Energy Bars
These supplemental bars are good for extending and sustaining energy. They are good for outdoors, especially activities such as long distances backpacking. Activity bars are effective as food replacement. They contain natural elements, which make them have better textures, more granola, and crunchier.
However, you have to consume enough water when ingesting these bars. Best examples are Clif and Outdoor bars.
These are new addition to the list of nutrition bars. Unlike other types, these ones are aimed at providing energy from natural and organic ingredients. They do not consist of inserted proteins or sweeteners; instead they are packed with simple natural ingredients.
One of the most popular organic bars is Larabar, which does not have any additives other than simple organic makings.
These energy bars are made to provide you with the power you need to withstand the hardship of a long workout, hiking, and climbing among others. Therefore, they consist of high carb content to supply you with non-sugary and complex energy. This type of energy is digested after a considerable amount of time.
The most recommended bars under this category are Honey Stinger and PowerBar energy bars.
These bars are specifically made to assist with muscle mass. They have high protein content, making them the best choice of fast food after a tiring and energy consuming workout or outdoor activity. Bring these bars along when going for long hiking trips and alpine climbing.
Some of the bars that fall under this group are Met-Rx along with Pure Protein energy bars.
Meal Replacement Energy Bars
These are the ideal bars to bring when you want to burn calories with the intent of losing weight. They are not like the other supplemented bars that boost your energy. These are more of dieting. They do usually supply you with complete nourishment for breakfast or lunch.
These bars provide you with enough calories that will get rid of hunger feelings. A single meal replacement energy bar can provide you with up to three hundred calories.
How to Select Energy Bars
The choice you make does highly depend on the type of activity you will be engaged in at a given time. The abovementioned list should give you a clear idea of what you want to buy or make. The very first consideration is the carbohydrates content. You should seriously consider bars that are rich in carbs if you are taking part in spirited activities, such as hiking, biking, and mountaineering.
An ideal carb content should be approximately forty grams. The second concern should be proteins, which are crucial during exercise. Protein rich bars are effective for activities that do not consume too much energy and consistent is required, such as workouts and hiking.Ideal bars should contain at least nine grams of protein.
The third and probably the most important consideration is the calorie count. You need high-calorie bars when engaged in activities that require sustained energy, such as long distance backpacking. However, high-calorie energy bars are not effective for less involving activities, such as camping and short distance backpacking and hiking. You might end up consuming too many calories, which may lead to weight gain. See our earlier article on backpacking food tips to give you more options.
We mentioned earlier that commercially produced energy bars are costly. Therefore, you need to go for bars that you can afford, and suit your needs effectively. However, you can always make your own energy bars, all you need are the correct recipes, which you will learn about shortly in this publication. Do not forget the taste. Typically, most fortified bars tend to have less alluring taste, but the organic ones are normally mouthwatering.
Top 5 Recipes & How to Steps
Recipe #1 –Power Punch Bars
96 g of pitted medjool dates
96 g of cup almond
3/4 teaspoon of vanilla
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon of flaxseeds
1 teaspoon of Chia seeds
2 tablespoons of Goji berries
Step 1: In a food processor, place all the fixings and pulse a number of times to break the larger pieces.
Step 2: Go on processing the mixture until it is broken down into finer particles.
Step 3: In a ball, add the nut mixture and fruit, and then mash them together. Go ahead and split the mixture into the desired number of bars.
Step 4: Wrap the bars and apply the appropriate amount of pressure.
Step 5: Place the bars in the refrigerator for an hour or so to chill flat.
Recipe #2 – Booster Energy Bars
1/4 cup of mini chocolate chips
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
113 g of pure maple syrup
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds
28 g of sliced almonds
43 g of dried cherries
43 g of sunflower seeds (unsalted)
68 g of whole wheat flour
85 g of quick cooking oats
Step 1: Warm up the oven to three hundred and fifty degrees Fahrenheit. Cover your cooking pan with vegetable oil.
Step 2: In a food processor, mix flaxseed, almonds, dried fruits, sunflower seeds, wheat flour, oats, and protein powder. Then beat the mixture until coarsely sliced, and transfer to a sizeable bowl.
Step 3: Obtain another bowl, add oil, syrup, and eggs and stir to mix. Pour this mixture into the main mixture, and stir effectively.
Step 4: Fold the final mixture in chocolate chips, and then press into a pan rubbed with cooking oil in the inside.
Step 5: Bake the mixture for about fifteen minutes. Then cool it and cut out your desired bars.
These bars will provide you with the following amounts of nutrition: 150 mg of sodium, 1.5 g of saturated fat, 8 g of fat, 3 g of fiber, 21 g of carbohydrate, 10 g of protein, and 190 calories.
Recipe #3 – Vegan Energy Bar
140 g of almonds
60 g of hazelnuts
65 g of pumpkin seeds
34 g of carob powder
1 cup of medjool dates
1/2 teaspoon of allspice carrot, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice
½ of shredded coconut (dried)
1/4 cup of Maca powder
¼ of hemp protein powder
2 teaspoons of water
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 cupof dried black mission figs
1/2 cup of dried cherries
Step 1: In a food processor, add all the nuts and grind. Add the other dry elements and mix as well.
Step 2: Pit the dates if need be and grind before mixing with the rest of dry fruit. Pour in the vanilla followed by the dry elements.
Step 3: Press the resulting mass to form a ball. You should add a small amount of water if the formed ball is too dry or few grams of protein if the ball is too sticky.
Step 4: Once the mixture is ready, press into a prepared baking pan. Cool the mixture by refrigerating it for a couple of hours.
Step 5: Cut the bars into your desired shape, such as squares.
These bars will provide you with a considerable amount of energy.
Recipe #4 –Nut & Seed Energy Bars
390 g of crispy rice
95 g of dried apricots
120 g of cranberries
1 teaspoon of sea salt
60 g of almond butter (unsalted)
2 teaspoons of arrowroot powder
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
150 g of brown rice syrup
10 pitted dates
1 cup of raw pistachios
150 g of raw hazelnuts
140 g of raw almonds
140 g of raw sunflower seeds
1 cup of raw pepitas
Step 1: Have the oven preheated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 2: Obtain parchment paper and line it on a baking sheet. Then add the pistachios, hazelnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, and pepitas. Blend the ingredients to mix as you toast them for eight minutes until the elements cook (turn brown).
Step 3: Have the dates spun in a food processor until mashed.
Step 4: In a large broth pot, pour the maple and brown rice syrups, and boil the mixture using medium heat.
Step 5: In the syrup mixture, add the date puree, sea salt, almond butter, and arrowroot powder, and beat to smoothen, and then have the pot removed from heat.
Step 6: Add the apricots, cranberries, seeds, and toasted nuts, and carefully fold in the grain.
Step 7: Use waxed or parchment paper to line your baking pan, and then pour in the mixture and spread evenly. Cover the top with either waxed or parchment paper and press uniformly.
Step 8: Place the pan into the refrigerator and allow the bars to cool.
Step 9: Remove the pan from the refrigerator, and peel the upper and lower papers. Then place the large bar on a cutting board, and cut out your desired number of bars.
Recipe #5 –Breakfast Nut
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
A pinch of sea salt
2 teaspoons of honey
90 g of pitted medjool dates
70 g of sunflower seeds
Step 1: In a food processor, add all the elements, and beat a number of times to breakdown into smaller pieces.
Step 2: Continue processing the mixture in the food processor for around 3 minutes so as to create a sticky solution.
Step 3: Form a ball using the mixture and mash to combine.
Step 4: Flatten the mashed ball, and cover it with waxed paper, make sure you apply a considerable amount of pressure.
Step 5: Place the pan into the refrigerator and allow the mixture to cool for an hour. Then remove from the refrigerator and cut into bars.
What you should always remember about energy bars is that eating too many fortified bars could significantly lead to an overdose of minerals in your body. However, you can control the minerals by simply making your own supplemented bars. The list of recipes should help you avoid the health compromises that come with commercially produced energy bars.
You get to control the exact amount of calories and nutrients that go into your body. Make supplemented bars with respect to a given activity. For instance, if you will be engaged in long distance backpacking, then you should prepare endurance bars.
Check our review of the top energy bars to keep your strength up for any hike.