No-Bake Cranberry Almond Energy Bars

With tons of quick and easy energy bar recipes out there, the options are endless. Nourishing bars that give energy and save you money from the processed versions? Sign me up! 

These bars are so versatile and easy, and they give you no excuse for skipping breakfast. They include sunflower seed butter and dried cranberries, but you can substitute any nut or seed butter and other dried fruits like apricots or raisins. Just make sure the nut or seed butter is unsalted and the dried fruit is unsweetened — who needs the extra salt and sugar? 

I learned a few lessons from this recipe. I needed to add a ¼ cup of honey to make the bars stick together, but at the same time I was trying to cut the sugar. I did some research, and a lot of bloggers are trying pureed dates or figs to make the right cohesiveness. I’ll try one of those next time, but you can try the substitution with this recipe if you'd like.  

Antioxidants and minerals, including potassium and iron, naturally occur in honey, but are reported to be more concentrated in the form of raw honey. No matter the benefits, just remember that honey is still a source of added sugar and should be consumed in moderation. 


No-Bake Cranberry Almond Energy Bars 

Makes 8-10 bars 

Ingredients 

  • 1½ cups rolled oats 
  • ¼ cup dried unsweetened cranberries 
  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds 
  • ¼ cup shredded unsweetened coconut 
  • ⅓ cup chopped almonds 
  • ¼ cup honey 
  • ½ cup unsalted sunflower seed butter 

Instructions 

  1. Place all dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir together. If toasting the almonds, do this while the almonds are in the oven. Chop the almonds after toasting. 
  2. In a microwave-safe bowl, stir together the honey and sunflower seed butter. Cook in the microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes to achieve a thinner liquid. 
  3. Stir the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients. 
  4. Lightly oil an 8-by-8-inch pan using olive oil spray or line with parchment paper. Transfer the mixture to the pan and, using your hands and/or the bottom of a large drinking glass, pat down until evenly distributed.  
  5. Refrigerate the mix for at least three hours. Cut into 8 or 10 squares and keep refrigerated to keep firm, covered with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Bars should keep for up to one week refrigerated. Enjoy!
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Katie Pfeffer-Scanlan
Katie Pfeffer-Scanlan, MS, RD, LDN, is a clinical Registered Dietitan in Boulder, CO. She also runs her own food blog called One Hungry Bunny. Follow her on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.