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Homemade protein and energy bar alternative

protein energy to go

If you're like me, you eat a lot of bars. Granola, energy, breakfast bar — you name, it I've tried it. But when I began paying more attention to what I was putting into my body and reading the backs of the labels, I started to question my choices. Why was almost every bar's first ingredient some form of processed sugar? And why was I eating it after I'd just spent an hour running? Surely there were better things for my body than rice syrup and sugar alcohol.

After doing a little research, I found plenty of bars with simple, natural ingredients. Unfortunately, they also cost upwards of $2 a bar. That's okay if you're eating one every once in a while, but not so great if you eat several a week. It was then and there I decided to try my hand at my own healthier energy bar — or in this case energy ball — that was better for the body and easier on my wallet.

For this recipe, I used dates as the sweetener, which contain calcium, fiber, and potassium, much healthier than the empty calories and sugar high I was getting from the rice syrup. I added the dates to some all-natural ingredients like quinoa, nuts, and nut butter to pack a protein punch. This mix of healthy ingredients creates a hearty and delicious snack that kicks PowerBars to the curb.

Each energy ball has 195 calories and 5 grams of protein. Keep them in fridge or freezer, individually wrapped in plastic for quick grab-and-go snacks.

Homemade Protein Energy Balls (vegan, gluten-free)

homemade protein bars

  • 10 pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup unsalted cashews
  • 1/2 cup salted peanuts
  • 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa

1. Add dates, cashews, peanuts, peanut butter, and vanilla to a food processor. Process until mostly smooth. It's fine to have some small date pieces in the mixture.