Natural Food Recipe for Runners: Energy Bars

Natural Food Options For Runners: Make Your Own Energy Bars

As runners, we’re always looking for that edge that will help increase performance, enhance stamina or speed recovery. When it comes to nutrition, we often look to commercially-available products to give us that advantage, because they’re convenient and marketed well. However, we each have our own unique needs and tastes that aren’t always met by the products available at our local running or health food store. And often those quick food options include more than just whole food ingredients, adding in chemicals to color them or preserve them for longer shelf life.

Creating your own energy bars from real food is not as difficult as it sounds. The recipes I provide in this post involve mixing a handful of ingredients in a food processor and then pressing them into a pan before chilling and cutting them into bars. No baking or crazy chemistry involved!

This time of year is perfect for incorporating some of the flavors of fall into an energy bar that you can take with you on or eat after a run to help you recover for the next activity on your schedule. The Pumpkin Pie Energy Bar recipe incorporates oats for a good source of complex carbohydrates along with simple carbohydrates from raisins and dates. The Apple Spice Energy Bar provides some protein from nuts along with the simple carbohydrates in the apples, raisins, and dates for a good pre-workout fueling option.

Ingredients used in these energy bar recipes can be interchanged as taste dictates, allowing you to create your own masterpiece of energy-boosting deliciousness. In fact, I have some very ripe bananas sitting on the counter right now that just might make some really tasty banana chocolate chip energy bars soon. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie Energy Bars


  • 1/3 c. rolled oats
  • 8 pitted dates
  • 1/4 c. golden raisins
  • 1/4 c. pureed  or canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 c. cashews
  • 1/4 t. nutmeg
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 c. golden raisins
  • 1/4 t. ginger
  • 1/8 t. cloves

Pulse all of the ingredients together in a food processor until completely blended. Press the mixture into a small, greased pan or one lined with wax paper. Allow the mixture to cool completely before cutting into bars.

Apple Spice Energy Bars


  • 3/4 c. dried apples
  • 18 pitted dates
  • 1/4 c. golden raisins
  • 1/2 c. cashews
  • 1.5 t. cinnamon

Pulse all of the ingredients together in a food processor until completely blended. Press the mixture into a small, greased pan or one lined with wax paper. Allow the mixture to cool completely before cutting into bars.

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Chapel Presson

Chapel is a recreational runner and hockey player who enjoys learning and writing about sports nutrition. She is currently working on her MPH (Nutrition) with Liberty University and serves in the U.S. Army Reserve as a chaplain in Columbus, OH.