Oats. Bananas. Dried cherries. Yum!
When I go on long runs I always eat something about an hour before I head out the door. Eating something small satisfies my morning tummy rumbles and prevents me from daydreaming about food while out on the road.
I have been on the hunt for a nutritious, energy-filled breakfast bar for a while now and have come across this recipe from Runners World. They are a great pre-long run meal or even an afternoon on-the-go snack!
I absolutely love these bars- especially because you can substitute different mix-ins to have endless varieties! Over time I have adjusted the original recipe to make them slightly healthier. My version is as follows:
Banana-Oat Energy Bars (Yields 6-8 bars)
2 overripe bananas
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 ½ tsp Stevia (or other natural sweetener)
½ cup apple sauce (Use ¾ cup if you prefer bars to have more of a fluffy/cakelike texture)
¾ tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cup rolled oats
¾ cup whole wheat flour
¾ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
¾ cup chopped walnuts
¾ cup dried cranberries (dried cherries are yummy too! – look for those made without added sugar)
*You can add 1 T of flax seed in for added crunch!
Preheat oven to 375. Grease 9X9 baking pan and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl smash up the bananas. Add in the vegetable oil, stevia, vanilla extract and apple sauce.
In a separate bowl combine the oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flour (and flax seeds if you choose!).
Add the oats mixture to the banana mixture until just combined. Then fold in the walnuts and cranberries. Pour mixture into baking pan and spread evenly.
Place in oven and bake for 35 minutes (or until the top is browned). Allow to cool completely before cutting. Individually wrap bars and keep in refrigerator to maintain freshness. Enjoy!!