Sunday, November 14, 2010

Make Your Own "PowerBars"

Ever since I started increasing my amount of running and exercising in preparation for my half marathon, I've learned how important it is to eat healthy yet satisfying snacks in between meals in order to keep my metabolism and energy levels consistent.

One of my favorite snacks has become my homemade no-bake "PowerBars". I thought I would share the recipe with everyone in case you were interested in making them as well. I prefer making these bars to buying something because I know exactly what's going in them, and in the long run it's substantially cheaper. They make for a great snack that you can take with you on the go.

4 scoops chocolate protein powder
1 cup water
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons honey
4 cups oatmeal

A note on the protein powder: the kind I bought was EAS Chocolate 100% Whey protein powder, only because making these bars was an experiment and that was the smallest yet cheapest tub of it ($10 for 12.5 ounces at Kroger). $10 might seem like a lot, but this tub will make about 4 batches (64 bars), reducing the cost to $2.50 a batch. In the future, I'll probably get a bigger tub that will last me a little longer and will be cheaper per ounce (I think I saw a tub 2x bigger for $15 at Wal-Mart). Also, I don't claim to know anything about which brands of protein powder or which type of protein powder is best...I just picked something and went with it.

To make:
Mix 4 scoops protein powder with 1 cup water in a large bowl

Place 1 cup peanut butter and 2 tablespoons honey in a smaller bowl. Microwave for 2 10-15 second intervals, stirring in between to mix the peanut butter and honey (note: try to resist eating all of the peanut butter and makes a delicious combination).

Add the peanut butter and honey mixture to the large bowl and mix with the liquid.

Add 4 cups of oatmeal and mix well. You might want to use your hands.

Prepare a baking dish with wax paper

Place the mixture into the dish and press firmly to compact it well (note: you might want to use another piece of wax paper to help you press down the mixture evenly - but be warned, don't leave the wax paper firmly attached to the top while freezing/refrigerating because it has a tendency to leave a waxy residue on top of the bars...for some reason I've never had a problem with it sticking to the bottom though).

Place the dish in the freezer for about 2 hours (or refrigerate overnight) or until the bars harden to a point that you can cut them without having them fall apart.

Remove from the dish and cut into bars.

I prefer to individually wrap mine so they are easy to grab and go. You could also use baggies, but the bars can be really soft and chewy, so I'd recommend the plastic wrap to help them keep their shape.

I would also highly recommend storing them in the refrigerator so that they stay firm. For some reason, this batch was a little softer than normal, so you may want to consider reducing the water to 3/4 cup or increasing the amount of oats (obviously I haven't quite perfected this recipe).

This recipe will make about 16 bars, depending on how small or large you cut them. If you divide this recipe into 16 bars, I've calculated that each bar contains 210 calories, 12.75 grams of protein, 20.625 carbs, 4.25 grams of sugar, and 9.875 grams of fat. Compare this to a Chocolate Peanut Butter PowerBar, which has 240 calories, 9 grams of protein, 44 carbs, 26 grams of sugar, and 3.5 grams of fat.

My bars have a few less calories, considerably less sugar and carbs, more protein, and a little more fat (the majority of the fat comes from the peanut butter; each bar has about 1 tablespoon of peanut butter in it).

Enjoy your bars, and let me know if you have any questions about the recipe!

It's now less than a week away from my half marathon and the forecast is looking good; Sunny with a high of 61 and a low of 39...perfect running weather! I'm nervous about it, but I know I'm ready. Sure, I could be more ready, but this is my first one so I'll have plenty of room for improvement in the future. I'm worried because I know I have a competitive nature and I will want to go fast, but doing that will only hurt me because I will overexert myself and not have enough juice to make it to the finish line gracefully. So my game plan is to go slower than I think I should go (I know that will be A LOT harder than it sounds), take it mile by mile, and not worry about how long it takes me. I am going to walk through the water stations for mini walking breaks and so that I won't spill water ALL over myself. And most important of all, I'm going to have fun! Now, if I could just decide what I'm going to wear...


  1. Lauren- these power bars sound yummy! I am def. going to try and make them. Josh and I eat Cliff Bars like they are going out of style so anything that's, healthy, tasty and cheap would be great. Good luck on your race.


  2. Hi Lauren,
    I thoroughly enjoyed the blog posts I read (esp the nascar one), and I especially love the recipe! I seem to eat a lot of Zone bars...This sounds great and I'll definitely give it a try!!

    I wonder if you add 1/4C of wheat germ... that might help them not be so soft and give them a little crunch!