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I am beginning to plan out our summer adventures. Seriously, I can NOT wait until we go on our upcoming backpacking trip, so much so that I am doing an entire series over the next month and a half on everything you will need to get ready for YOUR family's outdoor adventures! You're going to love what I have in store for you! This post however, is a tasty way to start your day! These strawberry banana oat energy breakfast bars are soooo good, they might not make it to your breakfast table!
Adding superfoods to make this bar super awesome
When it comes to putting together a great breakfast or snack bar for our outdoor adventures on the trail, I like to add as much nutrition as I can without my kiddo knowing it. With a picky eater in our house, it's always a win when I can make something filled with nutrition that he actually loves. This is when my greatest ideas are invented! For breakfast or snack bars that double as protein bars made to fuel your workout (or hike), adding the following superfoods are a must:
- Chia Seeds – This superfood is a staple in this energy breakfast bar. Nutrient dense, chia seeds were known by the aztecs, to give energy! Aztec warriors used to eat these chia seeds to give them high energy and endurance before battle! Today, we're using them for the same purpose, but without all the bloodshed. Just 1 oz. of these little tiny seeds gives us 11 grams fiber, 4 grams protein, calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, Zinc, Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Potassium, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) and Vitamin B2. That's a TON of nutrition in a tiny vessel!
- Hulled Hemp Seeds – One of my favorite additions to salads, homemade bread, and more, hemp hearts (aka hulled hemp seeds) are a must have addition to these energy bars! These superfood seeds contain 33 percent protein, 9 percent omega-3 essential fatty acids, and are an excellent source of iron, vitamin E and GLA (gamma-linolenic acid), an Omega-6 fatty acid.The protein profile in hemp hearts makes them one of the densest sources of plant protein out there! Hemp seeds are also rich in calcium, manganese, magnesium, vitamin B6, zinc, and iron! Plus, they're super tasty!
- Flax Seed – Another one of my favorite superfood additions is flax seed! Flax seed is the richest sources of a plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in the world! Also super rich in fiber, flax seeds contain protein, vitamin B1, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, vitamin B6, iron, potassium, copper, and zinc.
- Protein Powder – To add even more nutrition to these bars, I like to also add a scoop of our vegan protein powder. This does not change the taste and adds an extra boost of nutrition (especially since the protein powder we use has a bunch of greens in it too! The kiddo has NO IDEA!!!).
Using the dehydrator to make these energy bars travel-ready
When these come out of the oven, it can be extremely hard not to want to bite into them right away. They smell so good that if you cannot wait, that's ok! They are super delish just the way they are, but if you want to take these on-the-go in a slightly less messy version, pop the cut out bars into your dehydrator and dehydrate them for 2-3 hours at 125 degrees! This helps to take some of the gooeyness out of the jam on top, and makes this more like a travel-ready chewy granola bar, power bar, or breakfast bar! These bars will last easily stay preserved on a backpacking or hiking trip this way too! The hubby and I both agree that this is the best way to eat these bars!
Try using other fruits, nuts, and seeds to get a variety of flavors
If you are like me, diversity is the key to happiness! I like to mix things up and add different ingredients to my energy bars too! There are so many different options for you to choose from, the sky is pretty much the limit! Some of my favorite variations include:
- blueberries, raspberries, cherries, apples, mangoes, etc. – no matter what fruit you are in the mood for, you can switch the flavor up in this recipe very easily! You can use either fresh or frozen fruits, giving you a plethora of options for flavor! I have even made this with mixed blends of frozen fruit, giving this a fruit cocktail flavor!
- cacao/cocoa powder – Chocolate makes everything taste better, and it's totally true for these energy bars too! Add 2 Tbsp. cacao powder and sub chocolate protein powder for the vanilla kind in the recipe!
- nuts – I LOVE almond butter and pretty much any bar with almonds in them. You can add chopped nuts and/or nut butters to this recipe. Don't add too much though, you don't want to make the bar too soft! 2-4 Tbsp. max!
- seeds – Hulled sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, and more make great additions to this breakfast bar.
Strawberry Banana Oat Energy Breakfast Bars – Gluten-Free, Vegan
You can switch up the flavors in this recipe for all sorts of different flavor variations! Switch out the strawberries with blueberries, raspberries, or even peeled apples for different flavor options!
STRAWBERRY CHIA SEED JAM INGREDIENTS
- 2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp. cinnamon powder
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp. chia seeds
OAT ENERGY BAR INGREDIENTS
- 2 cups oats, divided
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (optional – This adds more nutrition!)
- 2 Tbsp. chia seeds
- 2 Tbsp. hulled hemp hearts
- 2 Tbsp. ground flax
- 2 tsp. cinnamon powder
- 3 mashed ripe bananas
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Over medium heat, add the strawberries, maple syrup, cinnamon powder, and lemon juice to a small sauce pan and let simmer 10-15 minutes, or until the jam is starting to thicken up.
- Add vanilla extract and chia seeds, and let simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper.
- In your blender (I like to use my Blendtec blender), pulse 1 cup of the oats until oat flour is formed.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine oat flour, the rest of the oats, baking powder, protein powder, chia seeds, hulled hemp seeds, ground flax, and cinnamon.
- In a separate smaller bowl, mash bananas, maple syrup, and vanilla extract.
- Pour the mashed banana mixture into the dry oat mixture and stir together until a dough type consistency is formed.
- Spread out 2/3 of the dough in the baking dish, making sure to smooth and press down the mixture using the back or your spoon.
- Spread the jam evenly over the dough.
- Crumble the remaining dough over the jam and press down with your spoon again to flatten and smooth the top layer.
- Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Allow to cool completely. before removing, and slicing into bars!
- Optional – These can be a bit sticky for taking on the trail as is, so I put the cut bars into my dehydrator and dehydrate them at 125 degrees for a 2-3 hours to make these better for travel! This helps them keep longer and makes them easier to package for outdoor adventures!
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