Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Kids Snack on the Go! Homemade Energy Bars

Okay so you got me – I’m a fraud. Am I a mom? No. But I do have ten rugrats that refer to me as, “Aunt Doodle.” Don’t ask questions, I’m not sure where the nickname came from either. What I do know is, it’s important to keep your kids happy, healthy, and anything but hungry!

Whether you’re running the kids to school, soccer, play dates, or to that thing you really don’t want to go to, a quick snack is what you need! But store-bought energy bars, granola bars, or those delicious Kids Clif ZBars I can’t stop stealing from my sister’s diaper bag, can be so expensive over time. Besides, I’m intimidated when I can’t pronounce half the ingredient list. So, today is the day!

Here’s a fun recipe to make your own energy bars and all with ingredients you may already have in your pantry. Feel free to get creative with the nuts and seeds, and add in your favorite dried fruit (or chocolate chips – I won’t tell!) to the base. I’ve made a note in the method on when to add in any additional ingredients.

The recipe makes 10-12 bars that can be stored for up to 1 week. I like to individually wrap mine in plastic wrap or snack bags after they’ve hardened so they’re easy to grab on the go (and prevent me from gobbling them all myself!). Keep stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Enjoy!

Base ingredients:
•    2 cups almonds
•    ½ cup sunflower seeds
•    ½ cup hazelnuts
•    ½ cup unsweetened almond butter or peanut butter
•    ½ cup coconut oil
•    3 Tbsp honey
•    2 tsp vanilla extract

Topping ingredients:
•    2 Tbsp coconut oil
•    4 Tbsp cocoa
•    6 Tbsp honey or agave nectar

1.    Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Leave a 2-inch overhang on each side.
2.    Base: using a food processor or blender, blend the almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, and almond butter until mostly ground.
3.    Melt the coconut oil in the microwave (about 30 seconds). Mix in the honey and vanilla extract.
4.    Add the coconut oil concoction into the nut mixture in the food processor or blender and blend until well combined. Note: If you want to add dried fruit or chocolate chips (I suggest mini), remove the well-combined mixture from the food processor or blender, and mix in your additional ingredients by hand.
5.    Place the combined mixture in the lined baking pan. Using the back of a large spoon, pack down the mixture to make a firm, even layer. Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour or in the freezer for 30 minutes (don’t forget it!) until firm.
6.    Topping: melt the coconut oil. Mix in the cocoa and honey. Pour over the hardened nut mixture. Place the pan back in the refrigerator until the top layer is firm.
7.    Remove from refrigerator and cut into 10-12 bars. Store in the refrigerator (up to 1 week) or freezer for longer storage. 

Stacey James, a.k.a "Aunt Doodle," is an intern in nutrition services at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas.


  1. Yum! I made these last night (swapped out the hazelnuts for more sunflower seeds & topped with dried cranberries instead of the chocolate) & they are very good. Mine never really hardened up, possibly a little too much oil or maybe I blended the nuts a little too much?

    I am going to try subbing pumpkin puree & pumpkin pie spice for the oil, will let you know how that works!

  2. Exactly! So simple and I've been snacking on them all week when I need a quick energy boost! looks sooooo tempting n delicious...

    Workshop Taarten Maken & Workshop Chocolade Maken