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DIY energy bar recipe

The six rules of the energy bar and recipe you can try.

by Matthew Kadey

DIY Fruity Nut Bar
DIY Fruity Nut Bar

Hungry cyclists usually have no  trouble finding high-energy  grub on the go. They can simply  swing by the supermarket, health  food shop or even the gas station  for convenient, compact energyon-  the-go. There are many energy  bars on store shelves, each with its  own hook. Some tempt you with  a promise to fuel your ride or spur  muscle growth. Other bars are geared  toward providing a meal in a hurry or  accelerating fat loss. Instead of being  lured by sales pitches and flashy  packaging, use these rules to raise  the bar and pick the best one to sink  your teeth into.
Rule 1: Less is more
More and more bar manufacturers  are following the lead of forwardthinking  Larabar by scaling back  their ingredients into only items your  grandma would recognize. The best  bars have an all-natural mix of whole  foods, such as nuts, seeds, dried fruit,  oats and nut butters. In general, the  longer the ingredient list, the more  likely you’ll find nutritional fluff  gluing things together, such as soy  protein crisps, fractionated palm oil  and cane juice syrup.
Rule 2: Taste matters
With so much competition in the  marketplace, there is now no reason  to settle for a bar that does not play  well on your taste buds. Gone are  the days when you had to settle for  bars that were drier than the Sahara.  Generally, whole foods–based bars  with an ingredient list that does not  read like a chemistry quiz are the  most palate-pleasing.
Rule 3: Don’t shun protein and fat
Many cyclists are obsessed with  taking in enough carbohydrates  while riding hard. Yet, some protein  and fat can provide valuable calories  during long rides, not to mention  keep your appetite from waning in response to overindulging on sugar-bomb bars. Still,  carbs are the primary bonk-preventing fuel for working  muscles. A rule of thumb: if you’re selecting a bar as a  riding fuel shot, choose one with about 10 g of protein and  7 g of fat for every 20 to 25 grams of carbohydrate. A bar  with some protein is also important after a ride as it will  accelerate muscle recovery.
Rule 4: Play the field
Use your training rides as an opportunity to experiment  with a few different bars. Find what works best when it’s  consumed before, during or after a ride. You don’t want  anything that will cause your stomach to cry foul. Some  people can handle more protein, fibre and fat, while others  are best served by sticking with bars that are mostly fastdigesting  carbohydrates.
Rule 5: Coating is not your friend
The last thing you probably want to do on a ride is rip  open your bar package only to discover a chocolate mess.  Steer clear of bars with any sort of coating that is prone  to melting, such as chocolate or faux yogurt. Besides, the  ingredients used in these coatings is often sketchy.
Rule 6: Don’t become a bar slave
Since energy bars are so convenient, it’s easy to rely on  them for quick snacks or post-ride fuel. But no matter how  healthy the ingredients, bars should never be a dietary  staple. Use them only as a supplement to a healthy, whole  foods–based diet.

DIY Fruity Nut Bars
These “scarfworthy” bars – with their  nutrient-rich mix of real food – are  just the ticket for cyclists on the go.  During rides, keep a stash in a resealable  plastic bag in your jersey  pocket. They’re also great for a  quick snack.
1 cup walnuts or  almonds
2 cups rolled or  quick-cook  oats
1 cup dried plums  (prunes),  chopped
⅓ cup coconut oil,  melted
¼ cup honey or  maple syrup
1 tsp minced fresh  ginger
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp sea salt
Chop the nuts in a food processor until  they are cut into small pieces. Add oats,  dried plums, coconut oil, honey, ginger,  cinnamon and salt to the processor.  Process until the mixture is moist and  sticks together when pinched between  your fingers.
Place the mixture in a greased or  parchment-lined square baking pan  and press the mix down firmly into an  even layer about ½-inch thick. Place  the pan in the freezer for one hour to  firm up and then slice into 12 bars. Store  the bars in an airtight container in the  refrigerator.

Nutritional Information for one bar
Calories 223
Carbs 26 g
Saturated  Fat  6 g
Protein 4 g
Fibre 3 g