Why you should make your own nutrition bars (and how to do it)

Power Hungry

Crispy Kale Bars from “Power Hungry: The Ulimate Energy Bar Cookbook”


When Camilla Saulsbury—founder of the supercharged recipe blog Power Hungry—was in grad school, her bag was just as likely to be packed with protein bars as with textbooks, providing what she thought was a much-needed jolt of energy for long days of lectures and studying. But they started to make her feel kind of sick, so she did a little digging. “I started to look at the ingredients,” Saulsbury says. “I was horrified at what was in them.”

Saulsbury’s been making her own energy bars ever since, and now the certified fitness trainer and marathon runner is helping others do the same with her new book Power Hungry: The Ultimate Energy Bar Cookbook.

Why make your own? It gives you control over what goes in them, so you can pass on preservatives and go easy on the sugar. Plus, you’ll save serious money by making big batches you can freeze, instead of picking up price-gouged $3 nutrition bars at the deli.

The energy bar entrepreneur

“You’re pretty much just stirring and smushing things together,” says the energy bar recipe writer.

And while the prospect may sound intimidating to a kitchen novice, Saulsbury designed her recipes with the untrained cook in mind. “If you can stir and smush, you can make these bars!” she says.

Here are three tips to help you get started. Read ’em, then try the tasty protein truffle recipe Saulsbury shared with us!

1. Pick your protein powder. There are lots of varieties available (pea, whey, and vegan, to name just a few). The one you pick affects how you make your bars, so spend some time familiarizing yourself with the various options. For example, in her book, Saulsbury explains how to adjust proportions for a recipe if you’re using a vegan powder where whey is called for.

2. Build an energy bar pantry. In addition to keeping protein powder on hand, Saulsbury suggests stocking up on a range of mix-and-match ingredients, like oats, quinoa flakes, or brown rice crisps, a nut or seed butter, a sweetener like honey, and foods for texture, like nuts, dried fruits, and seeds.

3. Get creative. Once your protein bar pantry is properly stocked, you can adjust recipes to fit your needs and tastes (and to what you happen to have on hand). Kinda like smoothies. “Once you start making them and get the swing of it, it’s really easy to start freestyling,” Saulsbury says. Don’t stress—unlike more complicated baked goods, it’s almost impossible to mess up these healthy goodies. —Lisa Elaine Held

For more information visit www.powerhungry.com or check out the book on Amazon.com

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13 Comments | ADD YOURS

  1. September 10th, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    Sounds like such a great idea, I’ve been thinking about making my own bars for a while. But I’m always so busy. Thanks for the tips!

  2. September 11th, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    This is a great idea. I think making my own bars comes close to my decision to make a green drink every day as something that is important to my health, plus it’s fun. Thanks WellandGoodNYC.com for another good article.

  3. September 11th, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    i find it fascinating when i run across a topic that is so utterly boring and also common sense, such as “make your own [something]”. really? THAT MANY people don’t just make their own? THAT MANY people will read an article (with interest?) that, among the gems of good advice, are “buy the ingredients you want” and also, once you’ve done that, we’ll recommend using “what you have on hand.” brilliant.

    i already do this, i made that decision myself, and i clicked on this article in hopes of finding something i’m missing. but no, just as i had thought before discovering this article, the world was just fine on its own.

    we now live in a world where there are “content managers,” or whatever it’s called when your job is to write garbage for people clicking around on the internet. where, instead of real innovation and new ideas, everything is game to be labeled as such. so, in our quest to learn about the new thing, it’s here. and it’s going right past us in the real world which can’t be captured by a device.

  4. September 13th, 2013 at 11:03 am

    I’m a cook-a-holic, but was reluctant to attempt homemade bars. Thanks for this article, it’s a useful start.

  5. September 22nd, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    Should have included a recipe for us!!

  6. April 13th, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    +1 to tracy’s comment. This is a total non-article. I don’t have the slightest bit of more knowledge after reading it than I did before. This article is the equivalent of a candy bar: a lot of words, but devoid of any worthwhile information.

  7. April 16th, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    What a useless article. Less of those please.

  8. July 29th, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    A recipe would

  9. July 29th, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    A few recipes for homemade bars would’ve been useful!

  10. August 10th, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    Sneaky way to try to sell you an energy bar cookbook on Amazon! A recipe or two would have piqued my interest a bit more….. Thanks! :(

  11. October 4th, 2015 at 5:24 am

    Agree with the other posters, it was really poor form not to include one basic recipe. Blatant crass marketing – you know you’ve got to balance that out with a little actual content. Badly played. Unsubscribe.

  12. October 7th, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    Please check out our clean and raw nutrition bars at http://www.avanisnacks.com
    Unlike any other bar in the market, these do not use any additives and only real food. primary sweetener is raw honey. only premium ingredients. peanut free, soy free, gluten free, non-gmo.

  13. November 4th, 2015 at 9:03 pm

    Check out our pinterest page for some receipes of homemade bars that we like.

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