Saturday, August 28, 2010 12:33 am

BUILD A BAR

The on-the-go fuel that’s easy-to-bake.

NUTRITION
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An athlete performing with little carbohydrate intake is like a car running with little gas—neither will go far. You need adequate energy, whether for short bursts of strength in weightlifting or longer distances in marathon training, and an additional calorie boost if you’re planning to play long and hard, such as a 90-minute soccer match or an all-day surfing event. With energy bars, fuel searching is easier, thanks to the prepackaged convenience and dessert-like flavors that make them the perfect treat for active people.

Energy bars may taste like cookies and look like candy bars—and some may be as sugary and fattening as those treats—but they supply energy in the forms of protein, fat and carbohydrates. ConsumerLab.com defines energy bars as at least 200 calories per 50 gram serving and no low-calorie sweeteners. Compared to other nutrition bars, energy bars tend to provide more carbohydrates.

Our homemade version combines the flavors of an old-fashioned oatmeal raisin cookie with dried fruits and almonds. Make these bars in less than 30 minutes, and they will last up to a week refrigerated. The complex carbohydrates in steel-cut oats and oat flour boost fiber, B vitamins, immune-boosting beta-glucan, and selenium and manganese, which are required for muscle function.

Don’t discount simple sugars totally; they provide quick energy before, during and after workouts. The best simple sugars are those found in fruits, dried fruit, applesauce and brown rice syrup. Rice syrup even provides some calcium and potassium, which are essential minerals for muscle contraction. Unsweetened applesauce substitutes for the hydrogenated fats and oils typically used in store-bought bars, while the almond butter provides omega-3s, which manages inflammation and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. The almond butter also keeps you feeling satisfied longer than fat-free bar versions, yet it has less fat than store-bought  “natural” bars, which tend to overload on fat calories.

If an extra 30 minutes isn’t on your weekly agenda, there are dozens of bars on the market; we’ve included a few for comparison. But don’t expect a nutritional bargain; they have up to twice the calories, and about triple the fat and sugar of the SOBeFiT bar. With just 120 calories and 2 grams of fat, you could even have two of ours (if you need the extra fuel) without breaking your calorie budget.

Do it yourself

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
½ c. non-GMO oat flour
¼ c. steel cut oats
1 oz apple pectin powder
½ tsp. baking powder
1/3 c. raisins
1 oz ground almonds
½ c. dried blueberries
2 oz brown rice syrup
3 oz ?unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp almond butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp egg whites

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°
2. Combine dry ingredients ?in a bowl.
3. Combine wet ingredients in another bowl. Stir well and ?then pour onto dry ingredients.
4. Spray with non-stick cooking spray in a 9” cake pan.
5. Bake for 25 minutes.
6. Cool and cut.

Find more delicious and healthy recipes in the September/October 2010 issue of SOBeFiT Magazine.



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