Made with a handful of whole ingredients and lightly sweetened with maple syrup, these energy bars are a nutritious, kid-friendly snack. Get the recipe now!
Bonus post time! I get it, not everyone likes the taste or texture of protein powder, plus it can be expensive to buy a good quality brand.
That’s where these bars come in.
I’m obsessed with these bars and I know you will be too! Kid-friendly, perfect for hiking season, and an all-around easy recipe to make. Plus, they taste like you’re eating chocolate chip oatmeal cookie dough, so that’s a win in my book regardless of nutrition.
Initially I was going to make them with dates, but started thinking that 1. I already have a few nut and date energy bites on the blog and 2. It’s time to reach out of my comfort zone and make a bar that doesn’t rely on dates or protein powder to hold it together.
So, I started with the same base as my Vegan Peanut Butter Protein bars: oats, peanut butter, maple syrup, nuts and milk. But then started playing around with ways to still add protein, but without using a powder supplement.
As I’ve really been digging flax seeds lately, I figured it was worth adding some in. However, ½ cup of flax seed sounded like a lot. And I was right. After some playing around ¼ cup was just right. Of course, I then had to adjust the peanut butter and milk to get the texture just right.
And the result? While still slightly lower in protein than the bars made with protein powder, these guys are still full of healthy fats and fiber while being relatively low in carbohydrate. If using for hiking and want a little carb boost, feel free to add in chocolate chips (like I did) or dried fruit.
As convenient as store-bought snack bars are, they’re usually packed with added sugars (or artificial sweeteners), are low in either fiber or protein, and contain a list of additives. While there’s nothing wrong with grabbing a bar in a pinch, making your own at home is not only healthier but easy.
These bars on the other hand have a good amount of fiber, 4 grams per serving, 6-grams of plant-based protein, and just 5 grams of natural sugar from the maple syrup. Oh, and let’s not forget all those healthy fats – 5 grams monounsaturated and 3 grams of polyunsaturated fats!
It took me awhile to actually buy flax seeds and I have no idea why. As a dietitian, I’m constantly counseling and writing about how good they are for us, yet I use chia seeds so often that I just never appreciated how useful flax seeds can also be.
Just 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds contains almost 2 grams of fiber, 1.3 grams of protein, and 1,597 mg of Omega-3 fatty acids! They’re also a good source of magnesium (needed for good bone health) and B-vitamins (important for energy levels and brain functioning).
It’s important to use ground flax seeds when cooking, baking or sprinkling them on your food as our bodies can’t properly break down the hard outer shells. As a result, our bodies aren’t able to absorb all the nutrients found in flax seed and we may experience GI distress.
However, ground flax seeds can sometimes be cheaper and have a longer shelf-life. WHen ready to use, all you need is a spice or coffee grinder.
Personally, I go through ground flax seeds pretty quickly, so I end up buying pre-ground flax seed (often called flax seed meal) for the convenience factor.
Step 1: Cover a 7×11 baking sheet or 8×8 pan with parchment paper and set aside. Measure out ingredients.
Step 2: Pulse oats in a food processor until it forms a coarse flour. Pour into a large mixing bowl.
Step 3: Place cashews in food processor and pulse into small pieces, similar to coarse sand. Add to mixing bowl with flour.
Step 4: Pour remaining ingredients into mixing bowl and stir well to combine. The texture should resemble a sticky oatmeal cookie dough batter.
Step 5: Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly using the back of a spoon or rubber spatula.
Step 6: Place bars in the fridge for 20 minutes. Remove bars from pan by lifting parchment paper.
Slice into 12 squares.
Store bars in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Whether you’re hiking or need a snack while you’re out and about, I recommend freezing as many bars as you’ll need overnight in an airtight container. The next day, wrap each bar individually and place in a small food container or zip bag. The bar will soften throughout the day.
Make your coworkers or hiking buddies jealous with these homemade bars! And be sure to tag @TheHealthyToast_RD on Instagram of your bar creations 😉
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These are great! I made them last night for my whole family. My husband and I kept snacking on little pieces. My kids had some today after their lunch and my little boy kept saying “yum” as he took bites. Thank you for this easy and tasty recipe!
Thank you Gemma! I’m so glad they were a hit with the whole family 🙂