Helpful ingredient tips
Baked & non-baked
Creating your own energy balls & bars
Top 12 ingredients
No-bake Energy Bars
Peanut & Cacao
Peanut & Carob
Beetroot & Dark Chocolate
Almond & Raisin
Peanut & Honey
Coconut, Almond & Date
Strawberry & Almond
Almond & Vanilla
Spiced Apple & Date
Cashew & Date
Apricot, Coconut & Cashew
Peanut & Banana
Prune & Almond
Puffed Almond & Cranberry
Baked Energy Bars
Cinnamon & Carrot
Yoghurt & Oat
Banana & Flaxseed
Lemon & Honey
Apple & Date
Pumpkin & Coconut
Quinoa & Date
Almond & Raspberry
Pumpkin & Goji
Banana & Hemp
Chocolate & Black Bean
Chickpea & Pineapple
Spiced Apple & Almond
Nut & Seed Crunch
No-bake Energy Balls
Tahini & Fig
Cranberry & Almond
Coconut & Cashew
Cacao Chia Coconut
Fig & Walnut
Almond & Carob
Cranberry & Orange
Golden Sultana & Coconut
Date & Nut Butter
Almond & Quinoa
Lemon Chia Cashew
Spiced Oats & Acai
Chia & Cherry
Apricot & Cashew
Coconut & Date
Cranberry & Pomegranate
Lemon & Poppy Seed
Spiced Carrot & Pistachio
Butters & Purées
Cinnamon Pumpkin Seed Butter
Home-made Nut & Seed Butters
Energy balls and bars are the number one snack. They are full of amazing ingredients and are easy to make at home. Most of these recipes are dairy-free, gluten-free, and packed full of protein. The ingredients are rich in vitamins and minerals and can help boost the immune system, as well as having anti-inflammatory properties. Each one helps to boost your body’s natural defences, giving it the protein it needs to function at its very best.
These energising snacks are easy to grab on the go, as they can be packed in a lunchbox for work, school, travel or workouts. You won’t find any refined sugar in them, so they won’t cause spikes in energy levels, just a consistent energy flow. They will also keep you feeling fuller for longer while giving you a boost in vitality and well-being. What more could you ask for in a little snack?
Shop-bought versus home-made
Making your own energy bars could not be easier, but if you have been tempted to buy them in the past, here are a few reasons why you might think again.
These are bad fats that should be avoided. They increase the accumulation of body fat, which defeats the purpose of energy bars. They are found in shop-bought baked and deep-fried foods.
These help to improve flavour in shop-bought products, but they are digested quickly and may result in a blood sugar spike, which can lead to insulin resistance and increased appetite.
Soy protein isolate (SPI)
Even though it says soy, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is a good source of protein. In fact, SPI is a by-product of soy processing and some consider it to be a ‘waste’ product of this process.
A lot of shop-bought bars contain over 20 g of sugar. Excess sugar means excessive amounts of calories, which makes you gain more weight instead of lean muscle.
However, there are some commercial energy bars available that are good for your health, so make sure you read the label to check the ingredients.
HELPFUL INGREDIENT TIPS
There is such a wide range of ingredients that you can use when making these energy snacks. Here are a few useful ingredient suggestions along with valuable hints and essential budget recommendations.
Organic coconut oil is used in many of the following recipes. Try to buy a large jar to save money and store it in the cupboard. Bear in mind that coconut oil liquefies at around 21°C/32°F.
Nuts and seeds can be expensive when buying small packets, so try to buy these in bulk, either online or at a local shop. This can reduce the cost dramatically. Store nuts and seeds in the cupboard in large airtight jars.
Medjool dates are used in a lot of these recipes instead of chopped or other dates. They are sold whole and are moister than chopped dates giving them a greater sticking power. Try to find these in bulk too.
Natural nut butters are used in some recipes. Some commercially made peanut butters contain a lot of oil, sugar, salt and preservatives to give them a creamy, whipped consistency and an artificial flavour, so make sure you check the label carefully before buying.
If you suffer from a nut allergy, you can replace the nut butter with seed butter in all these recipes. For example, sunflower seed and pumpkin seed butters are good alternatives.
BAKED & NON-BAKED
There are two types of bars to make at home, and one type of ball.
Baked bars tend to make a stronger crunchier bar, which maintains a longer shelf life. They keep their freshness, and are more likely to keep their shape. This makes them ideal for packed lunches or taking them on a run. Store them in an airtight container and perhaps wrap each bar in parchment or baking paper. Most recipes can last for up to a week in the fridge. Energy balls tend not to be baked due to their shape.
These bars and balls are not cooked. It is sometimes better to keep ingredients fresh, and leaving them for 15–60 minutes in the fridge helps them to become firm. With this method, the ingredients retain their texture and the fibre content of the fruits and nuts is preserved. This is why recipes with more of these fibrous ingredients in them are better uncooked, giving the bar or ball a satisfying chewiness. Store them in the fridge for up to 3 days. It is good to freeze them wrapped in parchment paper and then cling film, and only take them out when needed. Make sure the bar or ball has defrosted before eating.
Food processor – this is very helpful as it makes energy balls and bars even quicker and easier to prepare. You can use a pestle and mortar to grind up the nuts and seeds, but if you have a food processor you can whizz the ingredients up in seconds.
Square silicone tin or 20 x 20 cm baking tin – these are perfect for making bars. If making baked energy bars ensure the baking tin is lined with parchment paper before using. A silicone tin is also good as it saves the hassle of lining a tin when making non-baked bars.
Digital scale – helpful for measuring the ingredients.
CREATING YOUR OWN ENERGY BARS & BALLS
There are many ways to combine ingredients to make the perfect energy ball or bar. This is just a simple guide to create your very own, and help you get started.
Depending on what’s in your cupboard, choose a mix of nuts and seeds. To help bind it together pick your favourite dried fruit, from large figs to small raisins. Then add optional ingredients from superfood powders to natural sweeteners and toppings. These can be whatever you like, so experiment and come up with your very own healthy protein boosting snack.
1. Pick one item from each category, pop in a food processor and whizz to a paste.
2. Wet your hands, roll the mixture into balls or push into a lined baking tin. Roll in one of the topping ingredients or sprinkle on top, if using, and chill to firm up.
TOP 12 INGREDIENTS
Here is a list of the top superfood ingredients to make those delicious energy balls and bars taste great. They are all incredibly good for you and full of nutrients that make you feel better from within.
1 Chia seeds These are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and are higher in calcium than cow’s milk. They are also rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and fibre.
2 Sesame seeds Black or white, these little seeds are full of vitamins and minerals, which help keep the immune system in top shape.
3 Hemp seeds Grind these to make an alternative to nut butter if you are allergic to nuts. They are an excellent source of essential fatty acids including omega-3 and -6, as well as zinc, magnesium and calcium, which are all powerful anti-inflammatories.
4 Oats Sometimes ground to make oatmeal, oats are high in fibre, helping to lower cholesterol and leave you feeling energised for hours.
5 Quinoa This contains all the essential amino acids that our bodies need and is full of manganese, magnesium and phosphorus, which is vital for our wellbeing.
6 Almonds The best nut for vitamin E and great at making butters and milks. They are also high in calcium, which is good for bones and teeth.
7 Walnuts These contain the stress-busting hormone melatonin and are high in cholesterol lowering compounds.
8 Cacao A natural chocolate full of antioxidants and vitamins, which helps send feel-good messages to the brain.
9 Carob Similar to cacao, but a little lighter in flavour. It contains gallic acid that works well as an antibacterial and helps improve digestion and lower cholesterol.
10 Coconut oil This contains a rich source of lauric acid, which helps boost immunity and fight disease.
11 Goji berries These contain more beta-carotene than any other plant as well as being very high in iron.
12 Dates As well as being high in fibre, dates are high in B vitamins, which help in the metabolism of food and formation of new blood cells. They are also a rich source of minerals.
Peanut & Cacao • Peanut & Carob
Beetroot & Dark Chocolate • Almond & Raisin
Peanut & Honey • Coconut, Almond & Date
Cashew Granola • Blueberry
Strawberry & Almond • Almond & Vanilla
Fudgy Maca • Maca • Spiced Apple & Date
Cashew & Date • Apricot, Coconut & Cashew
Super Seedy • Peanut & Banana • Choccy Fig
Prune & Almond • Puffed Almond & Cranberry
PEANUT & CACAO
Preparation: 15 minutes + 30 minutes chilling
135 g rolled oats • 90 g whey protein powder
20 g puffed brown rice • 85 g natural peanut butter (see home-made nut & seed butters)
85 ml honey (preferably raw) • 1 vanilla pod, split and scraped
2 tablespoons cacao nibs
Cacao contains a high amount of magnesium, which helps relax your muscles.
P Protein rich V Vitamin rich D Aids digestion
Line a 20 × 20 cm baking tin. Blitz the oats in a food processor until fine. Mix with the whey powder and rice. Heat the peanut butter, honey, and vanilla seeds in a pan until melted, then add to the dry ingredients and mix well. Add the cacao nibs, stir, then press the mixture into the tin and chill until firm. Turn out of the tin and cut into 16 bars. Keep chilled.
PEANUT & CAROB
Preparation: 15 minutes + 30 minutes chilling
100 g puffed brown rice • 90 g oatmeal • 75 g carob chips
75 g unsweetened desiccated coconut • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
70 g coconut oil, melted • 4 tablespoons natural peanut butter (see home-made nut & seed butters)
60 ml brown rice syrup • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Carob contains gallic acid, which has antibacterial properties.
V Vitamin rich E Boosts energy P Protein rich
Line a 20 × 20 cm baking tin. Combine the rice, oatmeal, carob, coconut and cinnamon in a bowl. Combine the coconut oil, peanut butter, brown rice syrup and vanilla extract, then stir both mixtures together and press into the tin. Use the back of a spoon to level the top. Chill until firm. Turn out of the tin and cut into 16 squares. Keep chilled.
BEETROOT & DARK CHOCOLATE
Preparation: 30 minutes + overnight chilling
250 g beetroot, cooked and chopped • 5 tablespoons honey (preferably raw)
40 g rolled oats • 180 g strawberry-flavoured soy protein powder
30 g dried strawberries, chopped • 100 g dark chocolate chips
Beetroot contains tryptophan, which helps relax the mind and creates a sense of well-being.
V Vitamin rich B Blood purifying E Boosts energy
Line a 20 × 20 cm baking tin. Blend the beetroot and honey together in a food processor until smooth. Combine the oats, protein powder and strawberries and stir into the beetroot. Press into the tin. Melt the chocolate chips in a non-stick pan over a low heat, then spread over the top of the mixture. Chill overnight. Turn out of the tin and cut into 16 bars. Keep chilled.
ALMOND & RAISIN
Preparation: 15 minutes + overnight chilling
200 g rolled oats • 150 ml honey (preferably raw) • 90 ml unsweetened almond milk
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup • 100 g blanched almonds, chopped
1 teaspoon salt • 70 g raisins
These bars are high in fibre, which aids digestion.
B Boosts bone health I Boosts immunity M Mineral rich
Line a 20 × 20 cm baking tin. Mix the oats and honey together, then slowly add the almond milk and maple syrup. Add the almonds, salt and raisins and stir well. Press the mixture into the tin and chill overnight. Turn out of the tin and cut into 16 bars. Keep chilled.
PEANUT & HONEY
Preparation: 20 minutes + 30 minutes freezing
30 g golden flaxseeds • 90 g rolled oats • 50 g unsweetened desiccated coconut
180 ml honey (preferably raw) • 1 vanilla pod, split and scraped
130 g peanuts • 80 g raisins
Flaxseeds are the richest plant source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to keep your brain, heart, joints and immune system healthy.
V Vitamin rich D Aids digestion P Protein rich
Line a 20 × 20 cm baking tin. Blend the flaxseeds, oats and desiccated coconut in a food processor. Transfer to a bowl and add the honey, vanilla seeds and peanuts. Stir well, then add the raisins. Press the mixture into the tin and freeze for 30 minutes. Turn out of the tin and cut into chunky bars. Keep chilled.
COCONUT, ALMOND & DATE
Preparation: 20 minutes + 6 hours chilling
150 g blanched almonds, toasted • 100 g walnuts • 150 g Medjool dates, pitted
60 g rice protein powder • 1 teaspoon salt • 180 ml light coconut milk
30 g puffed brown rice • 40 g raisins • 45 g unsweetened desiccated coconut
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
Almonds are a great source of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.
B Body strengthening M Mineral rich I Boosts immunity
Line a 20 × 20 cm square baking tin. Blend the nuts, dates, protein powder, salt and coconut milk in a food processor. Pour the mixture into a bowl and add the brown rice, raisins, dessicated coconut and coconut oil. Stir to combine, then press the mixture into the tin. Chill for up to 6 hours. Turn out of the tin and cut into 16 bars. Keep chilled.
Preparation: 15 minutes + 1 hour freezing
120 g rolled oats • ½ teaspoon salt • 5 tablespoons honey (preferably raw)
120 g cashew butter (see home-made nut & seed butters) • 70 g whey protein powder • 30 g raisins
Cashews contain minerals, zinc, copper and iron.
V Vitamin rich P Protein rich I Boosts immunity
Line a 20 × 20 cm baking tin. Mix the oats, salt and honey together in a bowl. Whisk the cashew butter and protein powder together in another bowl and add to the oat mixture. Stir in the raisins, then press the mixture into the tin. Freeze for 1 hour. Turn out of the tin and cut into 16 squares. Keep chilled.
Preparation: 20 minutes + overnight chilling
120 g rolled oats • 70 g whey protein powder • 5 tablespoons honey (preferably raw)
120 g edible cocoa butter • ½ tablespoon salt • 50 g blueberries
Blueberries are a good source of vitamin K.
V Vitamin rich B Brain support D Aids digestion
Line a 20 × 20 cm baking tin. Blend the oats in a food processor until they are a fine powder. Pour into a bowl and add the protein powder. Heat the honey, cocoa butter, salt and blueberries in a pan over a medium heat and pour over the protein mixture. Mix well, then press the mixture into the tin. Chill overnight. Turn out of the tin and cut into 16 bars. Keep chilled.
STRAWBERRY & ALMOND
Preparation: 20 minutes + 2 hours chilling
130 g blanched almonds, toasted and chopped • 30 g hemp seeds
180 ml honey (preferably raw) • 120 g rice protein powder • 60 g dried strawberries
Hemp seeds are an excellent source of essential fatty acids including omega-3 and -6.
E Boosts energy M Mineral rich I Boosts immunity
Line a 20 × 20 cm baking tin. Mix the nuts and seeds together in a bowl, then pour over the honey. Stir in the protein powder. Fold in the dried strawberries and press the mixture into the tin. Chill for 2 hours. Turn out of the tin and cut into 16 squares. Keep chilled.
ALMOND & VANILLA
Preparation: 20 minutes + 30 minutes freezing
100 g oatmeal • 50 g rolled oats • 40 g vanilla whey protein powder
3 tablespoons puffed brown rice • 110 ml honey (preferably raw)
100 g almond butter (see home-made nut & seed butters) • 1 vanilla pod, split and scraped
60 g carob chips
Oats have a very high fibre content and help remove cholesterol from the digestive system.
M Mineral rich D Aids digestion P Protein rich
Line a 20 × 20 cm baking tin. Combine the oatmeal, oats, whey protein and brown rice in a bowl. Heat the honey, almond butter and vanilla seeds in a saucepan until melted together, then add to the dry ingredients and stir in the carob chips. Press the mixture into a tin and freeze for 30 minutes. Turn out of the tin and cut into 16 bars. Keep chilled.
Preparation: 10 minutes + 30 minutes soaking & 30 minutes freezing
110 g chia seeds • 30 g hemp seeds • 230 ml unsweetened almond milk
80 g cacao nibs • 75 g almond butter (see home-made nut & seed butters)
60 g coconut oil, melted • 4 tablespoons honey (preferably raw)
2 tablespoons maca powder • pinch of salt freeze-dried raspberries, for topping
Maca powder is high in vitamin B6, calcium and iron. It is also a good source of thiamin and protein.
B Blood building E Boosts energy H Balances hormones
Line a 20 × 20 cm square baking tin. Soak the chia and hemp seeds in the almond milk for 30 minutes. Blend all of the ingredients in a food processor until they form a thick batter. Pour into the tin and press down to 4–5 cm in height. Sprinkle the raspberries over the top. Freeze for 30 minutes until firm, then turn out of the tin and cut into 12–16 bars. Chill for up to 2 weeks.
Preparation: 12 minutes + 1 hour chilling
150 g blanched almonds • ½ teaspoon salt • 70 g sunflower seeds
65 g pumpkin seeds • 2 tablespoons chia seeds • 2 tablespoons maca powder
80 g ground flaxseeds • 65 ml pure maple syrup
35 g almond butter (see home-made nut & seed butters) • 65 ml coconut oil, melted
Maca powder is great for balancing your mood.
V Vitamin rich E Boosts energy B Blood building
Line a 20 × 20 cm baking tin. Pulse the almonds in a food processor until they reach a coarse consistency. Put into a bowl with the salt, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, maca powder and flaxseeds. Melt the maple syrup, almond butter and oil in a pan for 3 minutes. Pour over the seeds and mix well. Press the mixture into the tin and chill for 1 hour. Turn out of the tin and cut into 8–10 squares. Keep chilled.
SPICED APPLE & DATE
Preparation: 20 minutes + 30 minutes chilling
150 g cashews • 100 g Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, grated
2 tablespoons Date Purée • 90 g rolled oats • 160 g wholemeal flour
2 tablespoons hemp seeds • 30 g sunflower seeds • 30 g unsweetened desiccated coconut
2 tablespoons cashew butter (see home-made nut & seed butters) • 75 ml pure maple syrup
70 g dried apples, chopped
Cashews are high in copper, which is vital for energy production.
V Vitamin rich H Boosts heart health B Body strengthening
Line a 20 × 20 cm baking tin. Blitz the cashews, dates, cinnamon, nutmeg and date purée in a food processor for 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl. Add the oats, flour, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds and coconut and stir well. Melt the cashew butter and maple syrup in a pan until combined. Pour over the dry ingredients and add the dried apples. Stir, then press the mixture into the tin. Chill until cool. Turn out of the tin and cut into 16 bars. Keep chilled.