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Homemade Energy Bars

Try this easy, homemade snack that you can make ahead for active days!

June 28, 2017

Whether you’re running in the park or running errands, save money by making your own energy bars.

I’m an avid runner. Not a great runner, or a fast runner, or even a very consistent runner, but boy do I love it. It’s amazing to think about where I started and where I am now, because I didn’t start running until three years ago (and I’m no spring chicken).

On my first date with my husband, he tried his best to swoon me with — among other tales — stories of his marathons, bike races and swimming feats. I was not impressed. I told him that I did not run, swim or bike. And I had absolutely no interest or intent on starting. Ever.

Fast forward a year to a visit with my athletic, younger brother in sunny California. He asked if I wanted to go for a run along the boardwalk. I laughed. Me? Run with him? Not possible! So, instead of running until blue in the face, we alternated running and walking at a comfortable pace.

Something shocking happened: I had a great time. This was a revelation. And, quite the confidence booster.

When I returned home, I started walking/running around the neighborhood. Then one day it turned into more running than walking. Next, I ran up a hill I couldn’t run up just a few weeks before. Then, I ran my first full mile without stopping. Bit by bit, I built up to my first half-marathon. Miracles do happen!

My older stepson, now 8, is starting to show an inkling of appreciation for the sport, and I’m hoping to encourage it. Enter the yearly-but-it’s-really-only-our-second-race-together Superhero Run! A fantastic opportunity, in which he and I get to do something together, be healthy and active, and dress up like superheroes.

But, all of this fun sure makes us hungry!

Whether you’re refueling after a tough workout or just need a pick-me-up to get out the door in the morning, homemade energy bars are a healthy and cost-effective option. They’re cheaper than buying store-bought bars and there are endless opportunities to experiment with the flavors.

Keeping with the superhero theme after our super run, these bars are made with ingredients that are super good for you: oats, honey, nuts, seeds and dried fruits — no added fillers or sugars to zap your powers. You can swap and switch the nuts, seeds, dried fruits and butters depending on what you like or have on hand. Homemade energy bars use pantry staples, and they’re so easy to make that even an 8-year-old dressed in running tights and a Batman cape can do it.

homemade energy bars

Easy Homemade Energy Bars

Makes 16 bars.


  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup chopped nuts, such almonds, pecans, cashews, pistachios,, etc.
  • 1/2-cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 cup almond, sunflower seed, or peanut butter
  • 1 cup chopped dried fruit, such as blueberries, apricots, cherries, papaya, currants, etc.
  • 2 tablespoons chia, sesame, or hemp seeds (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (see note)


Preheat oven to 325° F. Line a 6-cup square or rectangular baking dish with two pieces of parchment paper, so that it overhangs the dish on both sides (this will help make the bars easier to remove).

Place oats and nuts in separate rimmed baking sheets or baking pans. Toast until fragrant, stirring once halfway through, about 15 minutes for oats and 7 minutes for nuts.

Combine honey, oil, and nut butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat until mixed and an even consistency.

Stir together oats, nuts, dried fruit, seeds, salt and nut butter until evenly mixed. Press firmly into the prepared pan. Let cool, then flip out onto a cutting board and cut into bars.

Wrap bars tightly in waxed or parchment paper or plastic wrap and eat within five days.

Note: If using salted nut butter or nuts, omit the additional salt in the recipe.


Jackie Freeman

Recipe developer, food stylist and culinary tinkerer, Jackie Freeman has worked in the culinary field for over 20 years as a private chef, cheesemaker, culinary instructor, recipe editor and a radio and video personality.

More stories by Jackie Freeman

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Not a bad start, but there's too much honey. Just made this with PB, date pieces, and almonds, and it's sickly sweet. If you have a sweet tooth, 75% of the recipe's amount of honey might be good, but if I were to make it again, I'd probably start with half as much honey.