10 Homemade Energy Bars and Bites That Are Sugar Savvy

Updated: May 26, 2021

Inspired by the book Sugar Savvy, we challenged these food bloggers to create wholesome energy bars and low-sugar snacks.

Courtesy Brittany Mullins

Simply Fruit and Nut Bars

Vegan bars from the blog Eating Bird Food are full of healthy ingredients.

•1 cup spelt flour
•1 cup old fashioned oats
•1/2 cup pitted prunes (around 11 prunes)
•1/2 cup raisins
•1/2 cup dried apricots
•1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
•2 tbsp cacao nibs
•1/2 cup + approx. 1-2 tbsp water

1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Cover an 8-inch x 8-inch pan with parchment paper.
2. Place prunes, raisins and apricots in a mini-chopper or food processor and pulse until well chopped.
3. Combine spelt flour, oats, chopped fruit mixture, nuts, cacao nibs and 1/3 cup water in a large bowl and knead with your hands until a ball of dough forms. (Add more water if the mixture is too dry.)
4. Press dough firmly and evenly into the prepared pan. Cut into squares with a sharp knife before placing in the oven.
5. Bake for 25 minutes, until baked through but still soft (don’t over-bake them or the bars will be dry and tough).
6. Store leftover bars in the refrigerator.

Courtesy Ryan Baggett

Peanut Butter, Banana, Cranberry Bars

Soft energy bars from the blog i.run.on.nutrition call for chia seeds.

•1 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
• 1 cup buckwheat flour
• 2 tbsp chia seeds
• 1 cup dried cranberries
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1/2 tsp unrefined salt
• 2 medium overripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
• 1 egg
• 1/4 cup raw honey
• 1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
• 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
• 1 tsp vanilla

1. In a large bowl combine oats, buckwheat flour, chia seeds, cranberries, baking powder and salt.
2. In a separate bowl whisk together mashed bananas, egg, honey, yogurt, peanut butter, and vanilla until combined.
3. Mix wet and dry ingredients together until just combined.
4. Spread into a greased 9×9 pan (batter will be thick), and bake for 25 minutes at 350°F, or until bars are fully set in the middle.
5. Let cool completely, and cut into 12 squares.

Courtesy Priya Kedlaya

Bean Power Cookies

Peanut butter and beans contribute to the protein power in this energy bar recipe from the blog Sugar Free Sweatheart.

• 1 cup navy beans (cannellini beans)
• 1/4 cup oats
• 2 tbsp peanut butter
• 1/2 tsp cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
• pinch salt
• 3 tbsp honey or maple syrup
• 1/2 tsp flax meal
• 3/4 tsp baking powder

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Blend together all the ingredients using a food processor. You can start with the beans and oats, then add the rest so that it’s easier to mix.
3. Spoon the sticky dough onto a baking sheet or greased tray. Gently pat down each dollop into a flat cookie shape. You should get about 12 cookies.
4. Bake at 375°F for 18 to 20 minutes.
5. Cool and serve!

Note: For a lower-calorie version, substitute 1 to 2 packets of Stevia for 1 to 2 tbsp of honey or maple syrup.

Courtesy Ryan Baggett

Mocha Hazelnut Energy Bites

This fudgy version is from the blog i.run.on.nutrition.

1 cup quick cooking oats
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup hazelnuts
1 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
1 tsp coconut oil
1 cup packed pitted Medjool dates (about 14)
2 tbsp raw honey
1 tsp instant coffee
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp water

1. In a blender or food processor, process oats into a fine flour. Combine oat flour, salt, cocoa, and chia seeds in a large bowl and set aside. Roast hazelnuts at 350°F for 10 minutes. Remove skins by rubbing hazelnuts together in a towel. In a food processor or high powered blender, pulse roasted nuts until they resemble a course flour (a few larger pieces is fine, it adds texture). Stir hazelnuts into bowl with oat flour.
2. Melt chocolate and coconut in microwave. Combine melted chocolate, dates, honey, instant coffee, vanilla, and water in a food processor, and process into a paste. Combine date paste with nuts and oat mixture, and stir until mixed. Let mixture set up in fridge for 15 minutes. Form into 24 balls, and store at room temp or in the fridge.

Courtesy Kristi Rimkus

Granola Bars with Dates, Chocolate and Almonds

Baked granola bars from Mother Rimmy’s Cooking Light Done Right contain good-for-you ingredients.

• 2 1/4 cups oats
• 1/2 cup diced dried plums
• 1/2 cup almonds, chopped
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/8 cup coconut oil, melted
• 1/4 cup brown sugar
• 1/2 cup low fat milk
• 1 large egg
• 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Grease an 8″ square pan or smaller baking dish with cooking spray.
3. Combine oats, plums, almonds and cinnamon in a bowl.
4. Melt coconut oil and brown sugar by microwaving on high for 35 seconds.
5. Whip egg and milk together. Add coconut mixture to the bowl and mix together well.
6. Add chocolate chips to the bowl and mix together with egg mixture.
7. Pour into the baking dish and push down to flatten with a spoon.
8. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Courtesy Vered DeLeeuw

Baked Apple Chips

All-natural baked apple chips from the blog Healthy Recipes call for two ingredients only.

Makes 2 servings

• 2 medium Fuji apples, unpeeled
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 225° F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Using a very sharp knife, slice the apples as thinly as possible. Gently remove the seeds with a small paring knife.
3. Arrange the apple slices in a single layer on the baking sheets. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp cinnamon.
4. Bake 1 hour. Flip to the other side, sprinkle with more cinnamon, and bake 1 more hour.
5. Check to see if the apple slices are crisp. If they’re still a bit soft, flip again and bake 30 more minutes, or until crisp.
6. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool for 30 minutes before serving.

Courtesy Alex Curtis

Banana Coconut Granola

Homemade granola from the blog Spoonful of Sugar Free that’s gluten-free, dairy-free, corn-free, soy-free, vegan, and sugar-free. Yields 5 cups granola; a serving is 1/2 cup.

• 3 bananas, mashed
• 3 cups rolled oats
• 1 cup dried, unsweetened coconut
• 1 cup walnuts, chopped
• 2 tbsp flax
• 1 tbsp coconut oil
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
2. Combine all ingredients until evenly mixed, and spread in an even layer on a baking sheet.
3. Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown and slightly crunchy. Stir the granola once or twice throughout cooking time.
4. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving or storing. The granola will crisp up more while it cools.

Courtesy Kristi Rimkus

Apple and Cinnamon Stuffed Tortillas

More quesadilla than energy bar, this recipe from the blog Mother Rimmy’s Cooking Light Done Right is naturally sweet.

• 2 large apples, seeded and chopped
• 1 tbsp honey
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 1 cup water
• 2 ounces low-fat cream cheese
• 2 tbsp lemon juice

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, add apples, honey, cinnamon and 3/4 cups water. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes until the apples are tender. Add additional water if needed. Apples should not be watery.
2. Combine cream cheese and lemon juice until softened and spreadable.
3. Toast tortillas in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just brown. Spread one side of a tortilla with cream cheese, then top with 1/2 the apples. Fold the tortilla over, then warm through again on each side in the skillet.

Courtesy Jennifer Gacek

Healthy Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry muffins from the blog The Fit Housewife use Greek yogurt for a protein boost.

• 1/3 cup raw honey, melted
• 1/3 cup organic coconut oil, melted
• 2 eggs
• 1 1/4 cups non-fat plain Greek yogurt
• zest of 1 orange
• 1 cup whole wheat flour
• 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp sea salt
• 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a muffin tin with paper muffin cups. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, melt the honey and coconut oil in the microwave on low. Once melted, remove from microwave and add eggs, yogurt, and orange zest. Whisk together.
3. In a large bowl, combine both flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Fold in blueberries.
5. Spoon batter into muffin cups and bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of muffins comes out clean.

Courtesy Ashley C. Fleming

Gluten-Free Coconut Macaroons

The blog Fitness is Delicious uses coconut and coconut butter to create these vanilla-flavored energy bites.

• 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
• 1/2 cup coconut butter
• 6 tbsp St. Dalfour Pineapple & Mango Conserves (or other flavor)
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 1/8 tsp sea salt

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pre-heat your oven to 350°F. In a small pot, melt the coconut butter on low heat, constantly stirring it so it doesn’t burn or stick
2. Add in the conserves and vanilla and stir together. Add in the shredded coconut and the sea salt, stirring until they are completely mixed. The mixture will be stiff and will turn into a small ball. Continue to stir until all ingredients are mixed well.
3. Scooping the mixture into small balls with a spoon, and place on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
5. Bake approximately 10 to 12 minutes or until the coconut is a little brown around the edges. They may be a little soft when you take them out, so try and resist the temptation to eat them immediately!
6. Wait about 15 to 20 minutes or until they are completely cool. Enjoy!

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest