Energy bars are marketed as nutritious snack options for active and health-conscious folks. But they’re typically loaded with sugar or sugar alcohols.
The average Clif Bar contains about 22 grams of sugar and 250 calories. A PowerBar, meanwhile, delivers 230 calories and a whopping 26 grams of sugar — that’s more than a woman’s recommended sugar allowance for an entire day.
Like both of these products, most sugar comes from added sweeteners, not fruit. The good news is you can make healthier versions of energy bars at home. Check out these quick, nourishing recipes for homemade energy bars that we’ve rounded up from the web!
Grain-free no-bake protein bars
If you want some added protein in your energy bars, this recipe from Whole New Mom is a great option. Customize the amount of protein by using flax meal or protein powder. These bars are sweetened with stevia, making them completely sugar-free.
Chia seed energy bars
Chia seeds are a great source of fuel, iron, and calcium. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which support heart health. But these energy bars from Wellness Mama have plenty of other good stuff too. Your energy will come from the natural sugars in medjool dates — a great alternative to sugar or other sweeteners. Make these bars your own by adding your favorite stir-ins.
Apricot and cashew energy bars
Turkish apricots bring out the color in these pretty energy bars from Nutritionist in the Kitch. The apricots and agave syrup work together to sweeten the bars. If you want to get truly sugar-free, you could use stevia in place of the syrup. In addition to apricots and cashews, these bars are filled with other healthy ingredients like hemp seed, coconut, and oats.
Paleo nut energy bars
These paleo energy bars from Tastes of Lizzy T’s are free of sugar, gluten, and dairy. They’re sweetened with dates and are loaded with nuts and cinnamon to help sustain you when hunger hits. They even have some extra protein, thanks to the use of egg whites.
No-bake energy bar
It doesn’t get much easier than this no-bake energy bar recipe from Delishably. They’re made with dates, flax seeds, nuts, and dried berries. Along with blended dates, a little bit of coconut oil helps bind the recipe, so you don’t have to use the oven. You can mold the mixture into bars or roll it into balls for quick energy on-the-go.
Peanut butter and banana energy bars
Looking for something easy? This recipe calls for only five ingredients: bananas, honey, peanut butter, oats, and nuts/seeds. While these bars include honey, bananas make a great sweetener. There’s no reason you can’t cut back even further on the sweet stuff and let the overripe bananas do the work. From Bowl of Delicious, these bars taste like a dense banana bread and have a fluffier texture than the average crunchy energy bar.