Homemade Energy Bars

By Joyce

Months before our epic John Muir Trail hike last summer, I experimented with making homemade energy bars; the goal being to bring along tasty nutrient rich snacks that could fuel us on our calorie burning days. I scoured all the energy bar recipes on the web and closely inspected the ingredients lists on the huge array of protein/power/nutrition/ raw bars sold at my local food coop. I was most interested in what manufacturers were using as binders to hold bars together.  After my research and experiments, I found what worked best for me was using a combination of dried dates or apricots, chia seeds, honey, nut butters, apple sauce and coconut oil.  Because I favor raw foods, I used a dehydrator instead of an oven to retain the most nutrition, and preserve the energy bars.  Be assured that the chewy texture was not compromised from being dehydrated.

As we prepared for our hike, I brought along samples of my energy bars for my hiking partners to try out on our training hikes which helped me refine my recipes. Although I wasn’t scientific about calculating their carbohydrate, protein and fat ratios, they were definitely satisfying.  I can attest that once we were on the John Muir Trail, these energy bars did fuel me up all the mountain passes and kept me going on long mileage days. They traveled well in high heat, held their shape and performed admirably on a caloric level, so much so that we ate far fewer of them than anticipated.  Whether you are hiking or not, it’s handy to have these bars around as snacks or additions to lunches.

The following recipes, although all yummy, are listed in order of popularity. Use my recipes as a guideline for proportions but make substitutions for different protein powders, nuts, seeds or dried fruit if you have a different preference.  Store them in glass sealed containers or, if traveling, you can vaccuum pack or keep them in Ziploc plastic bags.

Sprouted Buckwheat & Carob Energy Bar

The sprouted buckwheat offers a nice crunchy texture and Carob satisfies chocolate lovers.

1 cup dried dates (soaked)

1 cup almond meal

1 cup whey protein powder

1 cup walnuts

2 cups sprouted buckwheat groats

½ cup Chia seeds  (soak ½ cup chia seeds in 1 cup water)

¼ cup carob powder

½ cup cacao nibs

¼-1/2 cup honey

pinch salt


Sprout  your buckwheat groats.  I place my grouts in a colander to sprout so it is easy to rinse.

Soak ½ cup chia seeds in 1 cup water.  Wait ½ hr.

In Cuisine art, pulse walnuts into small chunks.  Put aside

In Cuisine art, pulse soaked dates into a paste.

In mixing bowl, mix together all of the above ingredients until they all stick together. Transfer and flatten mixture to ½”-5/8” on dehydrator trays covered with either parchment or non-stick dehydrator sheets on them.  Use a pizza cutter to cut energy bars into a grid of whatever dimensions you prefer, but don’t cut all the way through so you can easily flip it later.  Set temperature on dehydrator to 115
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