Energy Bars


Sports nutrition strikes me as a marketing scam. You can get water out of a tap for free which is no good to a struggling multinational corporation. Put it in a bottle, add some sugar and salt, slap on an isotonic label, and you can charge 160 yen for a small bottle of nothing. Research has yet to show any benefit of sports drinks (except for the manufacturers). During hot races, it seems prudent to replace minerals lost through excessive sweating, but generally water works best.

Energy bars are much the same. There are so many superfood energy bars on the market, but when you look at the label, they are basically oats, dried fruit, and a few mystery ingredients. I wanted to know what I am putting in my mouth, so I decided to experiment with making my own. After trying many different recipes, I have found that simple seems to work best. Here is my recipe for date, nut, and oat bars. All you need is a simple food processor. A Costco membership card also helps.


225g dates – I use Natural Delights Medjool Dates

100g unsalted, unroasted nuts – I use Costco unsalted mixed nuts

80g oats – Costco sell huge boxes of old-fashioned Quaker oats.

30g sesame seeds – goma is available in every Japanese supermarket

30g dried fruit – I use non-sugared fruit, such as sultanas

1/2 tsp vanilla extract – the real stuff, not vanilla essence

Making the energy bars is just a case of mushing the ingredients together and forming them into bars. Here is my method.

1. Destone the dates and then chop in a food processor. Put aside.

2. Put the oats and sesame seeds through the food processor till fairly fine. Do the same with the nuts.


3. Put everything together in the food processor and mash it to a paste. My food processor is not very powerful so I stop before it forms a ball (I broke the last blade when the mixture formed a sticky ball).

4. Lay down a sheet of kitchen paper, and put the paste in the middle. Wrap paper over the top of the paste and push down. Form into a slab using a rolling pin or similar.

5. Cut into bars, keep wrapped in the paper, and put in the fridge for a couple of hours.


I’ve tried adding olive oil and other ingredients, but always go back to this simple recipe. Simple, healthy ingredients, no cooking, quick to make, and even quicker to eat.


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