Make your own nutritious power packed bars for training rides and races.
1 cup packed dates, pitted and no sugar added
1/4 cup honey (or maple syrup or agave, or combination)
1/4 cup all-natural peanut butter
1 cup raw almonds
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 Tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
Optional add-ins: 1 scoop protein powder of choice , other nuts, vanilla, sunflower seeds, raw cacao nibs (I like 2 Tbsp, for crunch), flaked coconut, toasted oats, etc. I like to add 1/4 tsp salt if both my PB and my almonds are unsalted. The recipe is very forgiving so you can adjust ingredients pretty freely if you stick to similar proportions of wet/dry. I also like to sub half the dates for other dried fruit, like cherries, to add more tartness and flavor. Just make sure you look for options with no added sugar.
These are no-bake bars, but you’ll need a food processor.*
1. Soak dates in warm water for 10 minutes and drain (will process a lot easier this way).
2. Meanwhile, process your oats, almonds, and chia seeds together to grind them more finely, which should take less than a minute. (The finer grain helps keep the bars from being crumbly and really closely matches the softer dough-like consistency of a Bonk Breaker). Add to a mixing bowl.
3. Add your drained dates (and other dried fruits, if using) to the processor, and process until only small bits remain (a minute or so). Should be very sticky and doughy. Add the PB and honey and pulse a few times to mix in (it's okay if it's not uniform). Add to the oat/almond/seed mixture, and any other optional ingredients.
4. Mix either by hand, or with a stand mixture and paddle attachment.
5. Once thoroughly mixed, transfer to an 8×8 pan.
6. Press down very firmly until densely packed and level (may need to flour or oil your fingertips to keep them from sticking). Set in ‘fridge or freezer for 15-20 minutes to firm up (optional).
7. Cut into 6 even bars or serving size of choice. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week (room temp is probably fine if just for a few days).
*If you don’t have a food processor and are very determined, you can try chopping the dates/fruit as finely as possible. Your end result will be less doughy and potentially crumbly, so make sure to press into the pan firmly, or add a bit more PB/honey for hold. I've also been asked if a blender will work, and I don't know for certain, but I would advise against it unless you have something pretty powerful like a Nutribullet.
Nutrition breakdown for the recipe and serving size given above (approximated):
7 g fiber
13 g fat
9 g protein (even without protein powder)
48 g carbohydrate
28 g sugars
How it stacks up against a store bought Race bar:
Very similar texture. Main difference is the protein source. This recipe gets most of it’s protein from nuts, which makes it higher in total fat (but still low in saturated fat). Race bars use rice protein isolate, brown rice flour, etc, which is a bit harder to find for the average Jane. This recipe is also high in fiber, so depending on what you’re used to, you may want to limit your intake during exercise. They also have a decent amount of sugar, although as natural sweeteners they come with a few nutrients and are lower on the glycemic index, compared to table sugar. It’s still less than what’s in a bottle of Energade, and not much more than an apple. I love these.