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Home made energy bars, granola bars and rice cakes for cyclists, tri-athletes, runners, hikers, yogis, etc

Updated on July 11, 2013

I recently began a lifestyle change of eating only whole foods (minimally processed foods and no flour) and needed to find food that could be a substitute for traditional sports/energy bars which I ate very often. I've experimented with more than a few bar recipes and have found the following to be the best for me. Try them, experiment with what works and adjust the ingredients to suit your needs. If you have any suggestions, come up with an awesome substitution, or have any other ideas please post them in the comments section below.

Bacon Maple Walnut Rice Cakes
Bacon Maple Walnut Rice Cakes

Typically I take 1 bar per hour I plan to ride my bicycle. So for a 3 hour ride I'll take 1 rice cake and 2 "energy" bars. For 4 hours on the bike I'll take 2 rice cakes and 2 of energy bars (or a potato or two) and typically use the granola/penut butter bars for a snack when I'm at work or not exercising, but they are still good for a ride. When racing, during intervals or when the going gets tough, and your heart rate is 170, higher or even blowing out your head, sometimes there is nothing other than a gel that will go down.

I have to say, Eddie Borysewicz had it right with his old school methods of nutrition in his book Bicycle Road Racing, serving ham and jelly sandwiches and real fruit and food to his athletes. Everyone who wants to race a bike should get this book. It's not a cook book, so I never really got into the foods he mentioned, although I just picked up a copy of The Feed Zone Cookbook by Allen Lim and Biju Thomas, which I highly recommend for any athlete. It's all too easy just to grab a clif bar, power bar or honey stinger. It may be organic but does it look like food? Does it taste savory and delicious?

To learn more about the lifestyle (not diet) change that I've been working on you can read about it in our 12/19/2011 newsletter in the LeBauer Physical Therapy newsletter archives.

Leah Vande Velde's Energy Bars

These energy bars are great! I found this video first when searching for home made energy bars on google/youtube. These energy bars are sweet, delicious and packed with calories and sugar for on the bike, run, hike, swim energy. Be forewarned, they are packed with calories!

The only modifications I've made to her recipe, to make these even better for putting in my pocket, was to cut the applesauce amount in half and eliminate the 2 tablespoons of milk and I add 2 cups of puffed cereal (wheat, rice, millet, etc) to help soak up some of the liquid to create a more balanced consistency. These were awesome when I used black strap molasses.

My modified Ingredients:
- 3 cups of uncooked Oatmeal (Quaker Oats)

- 2 cups of plain puffed grain cereal

- 1 cup of dried mixed fruit, chocolate chips, fruit bits, or favorite ingredient

- 3/4 cup of brown sugar or molasses

- 1 cup Honey

- 1 cup of yogurt

- 1/2 cup of applesauce

- 2 egg whites, lightly beaten

- 2 teaspoons of vanilla

- 1 teaspoon of baking soda

- 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

Combine the ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Spread out in a lightly greased baking pan and bake @ 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 28-30

Let them cool, cut and wrap them. These store really well in the freezer.

Rice Cakes & Boiled Potatoes

Man, these rice cakes are good! Watching this video and eating these changed my whole outlook for on the bike nutrition as well as sports nutrition. These savory rice cakes are a great way to get good calories as well as break up the monotonous and all too often sweet flavors of traditional sports food.

Pay special attention to the wrapping techniques, as it is very useful for the other recipes. I've used wax/parchment paper, plastic wrap, and aluminum foil, sran wrap and the best of these is foil lined parchment paper. Target sells Reynolds version and "martha wrap" is another version of parchment lined foil and it's also really good. Be sure to also, check out this sweet version of his rice cakes.

Allen Lim's Potatoes Rock! I'm continually amazed at the delicious and nutritious food I'm now eating on the bike and just tried boiled potatoes for on the bike carbs. You can bake or boil them, remove the skin under cold running water. Mix with olive oil, salt and some cheese, then wrap them up and put them in your pocket.

2.9 stars from 14 ratings of Granola Energy Bars

No Bake Granola Energy Bars

These bars are a sweet and salty snack that are packed full of whole grain goodness and energy. I wrap them individually and take them with me to work, on a bicycle ride or when I know I will want a snack. The keep really well, taste great cool or room temperature and contain nothing that will spoil.

Granola Energy Bars
Granola Energy Bars

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in: 35 min
Yields: makes 8-12 bars


  • 2 Cups Oatmeal
  • 1 Cup Peanut Butter, or other nut butter
  • 2 Cups Chopped Dried Fruit, Raisins, Dates, Figs, Apricots, etc
  • 1/2 Cup Salted Roasted Peanuts
  • 1/2 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips
  • 2/3 Cup Honey or Agave Nectar
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/2 cup Ground Flax Seed
  • 1/2 cup Oat Bran, uncooked Quaker oat bran hot cereal
  1. Measure and mix dry ingredients (oatmeal, flaxseed, oat bran, chocolate chips, peanuts) Stir in dried fruit. Mix in peanut butter and vanilla. Stir until everything is mixed evenly.
  2. Line a baking pan or other container with wax or parchment paper. Spoon in your mixture and refrigerate for approximately 20 minutes or until cool.
  3. Once chilled, turn the pan over and let the chilled mixture fall onto a cutting board, slice into bars, wrap them in plastic/parchment and enjoy! Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 1 month.


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    • Dr. Aaron LeBauer profile imageAUTHOR

      Aaron LeBauer 

      3 years ago from Greensboro, NC


      thanks for your comment. I'm assuming your are talking about the second recipe for the "no-bake" granola bars. They do not go in the oven so there is no oven temp.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      You didn't put in the oven temperature

    • DommaLeigh profile image


      5 years ago

      The No Bake Granola Energy Bars look yummy. It looks like a perfect pick me up snack.

    • Dr. Aaron LeBauer profile imageAUTHOR

      Aaron LeBauer 

      5 years ago from Greensboro, NC


      Thanks for your feedback. I've definitely started adjusting my proportions. This sounds great. I haven't made a batch with molasses in a while and just got a new bottle of black strap so thanks for the tips. Good luck with your marathon.

    • profile image

      robert fales 

      5 years ago

      I'm heading out for a marathon this weekend with the energy bar recipe. I used 80/20 choc chips and raisins and molasses. The extra chocolate evened out the strong molasses taste. They are very good. Nice consistency.

    • nifwlseirff profile image

      Kymberly Fergusson 

      5 years ago from Villingen Schwenningen, Germany

      The no-bake bar looks good, and perfect for a 'non-meal' between teaching my English classes. Thanks for the recipes and tips!

    • Dr. Aaron LeBauer profile imageAUTHOR

      Aaron LeBauer 

      6 years ago from Greensboro, NC

      Thanks for your feedback. I'm always tweaking my recipes. Please leave a comment with any variations you have discovered.

    • vespawoolf profile image


      6 years ago from Peru, South America

      Wow, I look forward to trying these. I often make granola bars for a quick breakfast or snack and I like the idea of a no-bake granola bar. Will definitely give it a try. Thank you!

    • yudora profile image


      6 years ago from China

      It seems very good,i want to try .

    • Sparkle Chi profile image


      6 years ago from Chandler, AZ

      These recipes look delicious! Thanks for sharing!


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