These protein energy bars are packed with nutrition but small enough not to weigh you down. The fruit, honey and cereal will give your body high-glycemic carbs for fast-acting energy, while the low-glycemic oats offer longer-lasting carbs. The peanuts, sunflower seeds and peanut butter also provide some of the good fats your body needs as a fuel source for endurance activity. We recommend eating two squares about one hour before a run.
- 1/2 cup honey-roasted peanuts
- ½ cup roasted sunflower seeds, shelled
- 2 cups mixed raisins/dried cranberries (or other chopped, dried fruit)
- 1.5 cups dry oatmeal
- 2 cups crisped rice cereal
- ¼ cup whey, soy, or pea protein isolate (vanilla or unflavored)
- 1 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
- ¾ cup honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Coat a cookie sheet with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine the peanuts, sunflower seeds, dried fruit, oats, protein, and crisped rice cereal. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the peanut butter, honey and vanilla. Microwave on high for one to two minutes, until bubbling. Add the peanut butter mixture to the dry ingredients and stir well.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared cookie sheet and press down firmly. It may help to spray fingers with cooking spray. Refrigerate or freeze briefly to set. Cut into 1.5-inch squares and keep the energy bars refrigerated until ready to eat.
Change it up!
- Substitute the crisped rice with toasted whole grain oat cereal or crushed corn flakes
- Mix up the dried fruit: Try tart cherries, banana chips, golden raisins or dried plums
- Use almond butter instead of peanut butter
- Replace the sunflower seeds with coconut
- Instead of peanuts, try pecans, almonds, cashew pieces or a mix of these
This is the second article in a 3-part series of recipes designed for marathon runners by Leslie Bonci, R.D., UPMC Sports Medicine’s director of sports nutrition.
Ms. Bonci is a nutrition consultant to organizations in Pittsburgh and nationwide, including Pittsburgh’s own Penguins, Steelers, and Pirates. Among her many other roles, she has authored or co-authored several sports nutrition books, including Run Your Butt Off, and serves on the editorial advisory board of Fitness magazine.
An avid runner herself, Leslie has completed SEVEN marathons!