Energy bars are ideal portable nutrition when you're bicycling, hiking or backpacking -- or whenever you need a quick snack. They’re also a perfect post-workout food. Although prepackaged energy bars are plentiful on supermarket shelves, you can make energy bars easily and cheaply at home; you may already have the ingredients in your kitchen. Best of all, you'll be able to customize your homemade bars to match your caloric needs and individual taste.
Mix the dry ingredients (such as rolled oats, protein and milk powders) in a large bowl. Separately, mix the liquid ingredients (such as egg whites, fruit juice, nut butters and honey) in a medium bowl. Blend the contents of each bowl thoroughly.
Fold the liquid ingredients mixture carefully into the dry ingredients mixture. Blend with a wooden spoon or other appropriate utensil. Mix together well.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray two baking sheets with cooking oil spray. Spoon out the energy bar mixture and drop it onto baking sheets in large mounds. Use the back of a spoon or a butter knife to mold the mixture -- this is like making big chocolate chip cookies, except you’ll flatten the rounded heaps into bar-like shapes. They do not need to be perfectly molded into rectangular bars; just make sure they’re more or less consistent in thickness and shape.
Bake for 15 minutes or until the energy bars are light golden brown on top and browned on the underside. Watch them carefully during the last few minutes; don’t overbake them.
Remove the baking sheets from the oven and allow the energy bars to cool completely -- about 20 minutes. Transfer the energy bars using a spatula and put them on a plate, or roll them in plastic wrap or aluminum foil until needed. You can also store them in a plastic container, storage bags or a cookie jar.
Shannon Leigh O'Neil, a New York City-based arts and culture writer, has been writing professionally since 2008. Her articles have appeared in "GO Magazine," "The New York Blade" and "HX Magazine," as well as online media. O'Neil holds a Master of Arts in modern art history from the City College of New York, where she also studied French and minored in classical languages.