It's late in the afternoon. The work day is winding down, and you're looking forward to escaping from the office and getting in a good bike ride, run, or (insert your favorite activity here). There's just one problem: lunch was 4 (or more) hours ago, and your energy level is starting to dip. You need some high-quality pre-workout fuel, and that bag of animal crackers from the vending machine just isn't going to cut it.
Does this scenario sound familiar? For me, it's pretty much a daily occurrence. Consequently, I'm always looking for tasty, nutritious, and portable snacks to give me a quick energy boost before my afternoon workout. That's why I love these Apple Cinnamon Energy bars -- they're great for a pre-workout snack, or anytime you need a quick, nutritious snack.
The bars provide a nice combination of carbohydrates (from oatmeal, apples, and raisins), protein (from yogurt and whey protein powder), and healthy fats (from ground flax seed). The recipe is free of refined sugars, but the apples and raisins provide just the right amount of sweetness.
I use whey protein powder in this recipe, but I'm sure you could substitute another type of protein powder if you prefer. And feel free to experiment with different flavors of protein powder. I usually use Optimum Nutrition Double Rich Chocolate, since that's what we have on hand. I realize that apple + chocolate sounds like an odd combination; however, the protein powder has such a mild chocolate flavor that I really can't taste the chocolate in the final product.
It only takes a few minutes to whip up a batch of these bars, and you probably have most of the ingredients on hand. Plus, they're easy to stash in your workout bag for a quick snack on the way to the gym. I've found that these bars give me the boost of energy that I need to power through my afternoon workouts. And they're definitely much tastier than anything that I could get out of the vending machine!
Apple cinnamon energy bars (makes 8 servings)
Refined sugar-free; can be made gluten-free
1 cup rolled oats
¼ cup ground flax seed
2 scoops (60 grams total) whey protein powder (any flavor)
½ cup raisins
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp baking soda
1 large apple, grated (leave the skin on for maximum nutrition)
6 ounces plain yogurt
Preheat oven to 350. Spray an 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray. Stir together the dry ingredients. Add the grated apple and yogurt, and stir until all ingredients are moistened. Spread the mixture in the baking dish. Bake until firm and slightly browned on top, about 28 minutes.
Cut into 8 bars. Store in the refrigerator.
This recipe is posted on Slightly Indulgent Tuesday