Homemade Energy Bars- The Perfect on-the-go Snack

Homemade date and nut energy bars. Photo by Jennifer Maliniak

Homemade date and nut energy bars. Photo by Jennifer Maliniak

When you are a working mother, busy student, or young professional with a non-stop schedule keeping you busy every minute of every day, sometimes eating properly or regularly just doesn’t happen.

It is often the case that you simply can’t  find the time to stop and make yourself something, or even go out and pick up something quick. Hours go by without eating, and when starvation hits, we transform into irritable, short-fused rage monsters that just want something to eat- anything that will  satisfy our bellies, and keep us going without taking up too much of our time.

Solution: homemade energy bars. These things are amazing and are my personal go-to. One bar provides an even, sustained energy boost that lasts hours- not a spike and crash jolt like that of coffee or other caffeine related food items.

The bars take about 15 minutes to make, and they store in the fridge for a good week.They are also gluten free, sugar-free, and can be made dairy free. And best of all- they happen to be absolutely delicious, and infinitely alterable, so you won’t tire of eating them everyday.

I first made these because I found myself in a situation where I was working and running around and before I knew it, it was 1 o’clock and I hadn’t eaten a thing. I was in IGA and saw something called a Cliff Bar. I read the label and was overjoyed to have found a quick snack that was actually healthful and not full of garbage.

I devoured the thing in about 3 bites and was  blown away by how tasty and satisfying it was, and so I  immediately decided that I just had to make my own. While the Cliff bar that I had demolished was made with a base of figs and dried cherries, I only had dates on hand, so I used those. The other ingredients in this recipe came to be because they are my personal preference, but  many can easily be replaces or omitted.

What you’ll need to make these bars:

8×8 square pan

parchment paper

offset spatula or small rolling pin

food processor

Recipe- Natural Energy Bars

2 cups of dates, pitted

1.5 cups of oats ( if you are Celiac, make sure they are gluten-free oats)

3 tbsp milk, almond milk, or coconut milk

3 tbsp cocoa powder

1 cup walnuts, almonds, or any other whole nut.

1/2 cup ground almonds, or other ground nuts


Fit your food processor with the blade attachment. Prepare your pan by spraying and lining it with parchment paper, so that you have some overhang on 2 of the sides.

Lined pan. Photo by Jennifer Maliniak

Lined pan. Photo by Jennifer Maliniak

Now it’s time for the dates. I only had dates with pits, so I had to remove them. You can however buy pitted dates at your local supermarket. Jaffa is a brand of pitted dates found in the baking isle, and would be a suitable option, though you may not need to grind them as much as the self-pitted ones.

Dates Halved. Photo by Jennifer Maliniak

Dates halved and pitted. Photo by Jennifer Maliniak

Place your dates in the food processor and grind until they are chopped in small pieces and sticky.

Ground dates. Photo by Jennifer Maliniak

Ground dates. Photo by Jennifer Maliniak

Next, add your oats and grind until they are also small and mostly evenly-textured with the dates.

Ground oats and dates. Photo by Jennifer Maliniak

Ground oats and dates. Photo by Jennifer Maliniak

Now add your cocoa powder, whole nuts, ground nuts and milk.
You may need to add more than the 3 tbsp of milk depending on the milk you choose, but start with the 3, and add as needed.

You are looking for a sticky texture mix that sticks together when pressed, but that is not complete paste.

All ingredients ground together. Photo by Jennifer Maliniak.

All ingredients ground together. Photo by Jennifer Maliniak.

A good test is to take a handful of the mix and squeeze it. If it keeps its shape and doesn’t completely stick to your hands then it’s perfect.

If by some chance you add too much liquid, balance it out by adding more nuts or oats, a little at a time.

Clumped together and holding it's shape without being sticky. Photo by Jennifer Maliniak

Clumped together and holding i’s shape without being sticky. Photo by Jennifer Maliniak

Dump the mixture into your lined pan.

Dumped in pan

Using an offset spatula, or  your hands, press the mixture down into the pan, creating an even, smooth layer.

Using an offset spatula to pack down the mixture.

Using an offset spatula to pack down the mixture.Photo by Jennifer Maliniak.

If you have a small rolling pin, you can roll it over the top to make the surface extra flat and smooth.

Smoothed top.

Smoothed top.Photo by Jennifer Maliniak

Place the pan in the freezer for 15 minutes. Once the mixture has firmed up it’s time to slice.

Run a small knife around the edges of the pan, then lift out.

First cut 4 equal sections in one direction, then cut them all in half to create your bars.

Cut bars.

Cut bars.Photo by Jennifer Maliniak

Wrap each bar in plastic and store in the fridge.

They are a wonderful quick meal solution that are healthy, and delicious.

Some additional facts about the nutritional value of the bars: Each bar had 324 calories,  7.5 g of fiber, 8.8 grams of protein, contain iron, and calcium.

They are a meal replacement that actually leaves you satisfied. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

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