Make sure your next race really bears fruit: these strawberry bars provide a perfect pre-event energy boost. ‘Making your own energy bars not only saves money but means you can use natural ingredients packed with nutrients – dried fruit, nuts and oats,’ says nutritionist Anita Bean. ‘Commercial bars contain processed carbs, like maltodextrin, glucose syrup and a host of other ingredients that you wouldn’t find in
your kitchen. More importantly, homemade bars taste better!’
The berries – which have a unique blend of polyphenols, minerals and vitamin C – might also help fight harmful cholesterol, according to a recent review of multiple studies, published in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry. Stick them in an airtight tin and they will keep for a week.
Makes 16 bars
Prep time 10 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
While the bars are relatively high in fat – 9g per slice – each has only around 186kcal, and a very high 11g of energy-delivering sugar
- 100g unsalted butter
- 50g light muscovado sugar, unrefined
- 100g clear honey
- 100g dried strawberries
- 60g mixed seeds
- 40g chopped nuts
- 200g oats
- 50g plain flour
- 5tbsp reduced-sugar strawberry jam
- Heat the oven to 170C. Line a 20x20cm baking tray or brownie tin with greaseproof paper. Heat the butter, sugar and honey in a pan until all melted together.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the dried strawberries, seeds, nuts, oats and flour. Stir in the butter mixture.
- Pour half the mixture into the baking tray and spread out evenly. Press with the back of a spoon to compact. Spread the jam over the flapjack. Pour the rest of the mixture on top and spread to the corners, compacting with a spoon.
- Bake for 35 minutes until golden on top and set aside to cool before cutting into squares or bars.
Pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium and manganese – both needed for strong bones – and zinc, which helps keep your immune system healthy.
A special type of fibre called beta-glucan gives oats their own cholesterol-controlling powers.