Recipe: Quick & Easy Homemade Energy Bars


Any athlete knows the feeling: You’re heading out for a run, hike, ride or workout and reach into the pantry to grab an energy bar only to discover there’s not a prepackaged snack to be found. For some athletes, this can cause a mini-panic attack or force a drive to the store. For those who know it takes just three basic components and a bit of time to make awesome (and delicious!) preservative-free energy bars at home, this is an opportunity.

To make amazing homemade energy bars that rival any packaged bar, all you need are these three building blocks:

  • Binder: Brown rice syrup, honey, maple syrup, agave and other similar binders are the glue that holds your bars together. Another idea: Combine cherries, dates, apricots or figs in a food processor with a little water to make a fruit paste.
  • Healthy Energy Bar Body: Use a nutrient-rich base that adds texture. Typical examples include a grain or another high-fiber product with liquid-absorbing power. Think: wheat germ, wheat bran, uncooked quinoa, ground nuts, toasted oats or unsweetened coconut.
  • Crunch: A crunchy texture makes your mind and body feel more satisfied. A crunchy bar feels more like eating a much-deserved, convenient treat instead of energy food. Adding crunchy elements like nuts, seeds, toasted small grains (like quinoa) or cacao nibs, delivers a powerful, nutritious punch and will keep you satiated.

Raid your pantry to hunt down these components, chances are you’ll have them nearby. Add depth of flavor by toasting nuts, seeds and even grains. Combine ingredients in a food processor, adding them  at varied times to control your texture. For example, if you like smoother, less-crunchy bars you can fully crush nuts and seeds; if you like more crunch, blend the bars less.)


Here are two recipes to get you going:

Seedy Cherry-Quinoa Energy Bars


  • 1 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup raw quinoa
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup dried, tart cherries
  • 2 tablespoons brown rice syrup
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons water


Preheat oven to 350°F and coat 8-by-8 baking pan with cooking spray. Line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on all sides. Toast almonds, quinoa, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds on a rimmed baking sheet, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 10–12 minutes. Let cool.

Reduce oven temperature to 200°F. Process cherries, brown rice syrup, sea salt and water in a food processor until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in toasted almond mixture. Press firmly into prepared pan and bake until no longer sticky, 20–25 minutes. Let cool, then cut into bars. Recipe makes 16 servings at 1 bar each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 133; Total Fat: 6g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 115mg; Carbohydrate: 16g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 8g; Protein: 5g


Cashew-Sesame Crunch Bars


  • 1 1/2 cup cashews
  • 6 tablespoons raw sesame seeds
  • 5 tablespoons flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup wheat bran
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil


Preheat oven to 350°F and coat 8-by-8 baking pan with cooking spray. Line with parchment, leaving an overhang on all sides.

On a rimmed baking sheet, toast cashews, sesame seeds and flaxseed in separate areas, stirring occasionally, but not mixing, until golden brown, 10–12 minutes. Let cool. Set aside 2 tablespoons sesame seeds and 1 tablespoon flaxseed.

Process cashews and remaining seeds with wheat bran, sea salt and cardamom in a food processor until finely chopped. Place mixture in a medium bowl.

In a small saucepan, bring maple syrup and coconut oil to a boil; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Pour over cashew mixture and stir to coat.

Wet hands and press mixture firmly into prepared pan; it will be sticky. Top with reserved sesame and flax seeds; press to adhere. Bake until golden brown, 25–30 minutes. Let cool, then cut into bars. Recipe makes 16 servings at 1 bar each. 

Both recipes can be made 2 weeks ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 124; Total Fat: 8g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 3g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 112mg; Carbohydrate: 12g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 7g; Protein: 3g

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5-Pose Yoga Fix for Desk Dwellers

Hey, desk dwellers, if you spend too much time hunched over that computer, your neck, shoulders, low back and hips are going to become super sore. Fend off tight muscles by taking two minutes every hour to sneak in at-your-desk stretches.


Side-bending postures stretch and lengthen your sides and back, release compression between the vertebrae, help open the diaphragm and increase range of motion in the spine, which can help relieve tension in the neck.

The Move: Sit at the edge of your chair with both feet flat on the floor. Inhale and sweep your arms overhead. Interlace your fingers, turn your palms up and keep your arms by your ears. As you exhale, bend toward the right. Hold here for 5 breaths, inhale to center and exhale bending to the left.



In this variation of Eagle, you’ll focus on the arms, which will help relieve tension in your neck and shoulders and stretch the upper back.

The Move: Loop the right arm under the left and try to bring the palms to touch. Lift the elbows toward shoulder height and take your hands away from your face. Hold for 5 breaths and switch sides.


The pose opens up the hips, groin, hip flexors and thighs, which is the perfect antidote to hours sitting at your desk.

The Move: Scoot to the edge of your chair and cross the right ankle over the left thigh. Flex the right foot and gently press the right thigh toward the floor. Sit tall and take 5 breaths in this hip opener before switching sides.


This pose is a panacea for the back. It stretches your chest, abdominals and low-back muscles, releases tension and toxins and just feels good.

The Move: Come to the edge of your chair and keep both feet flat on the floor. As you exhale, twist to the right, holding the arm or back of the chair. Hold here for 5 breaths and switch sides.



This modification of down dog stretches the arms, shoulders and back and creates length and space in the spine, which can get compressed with too much sitting.

The Move: Stand in front of your chair and hold onto the back of the chair. Without moving your hands, walk back until you make an L-shape with your body. Keep a small bend in the knees. As you lengthen the arms, think about pulling your hips away from the desk, stretching the shoulders, chest, low back and hamstrings.

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Recipe: Misty Copeland’s Healthy Bran Muffins


From her book, “Ballerina Body,” Misty Copeland, the first African-American female principal dancer for American Ballet Theater, emphasizes her need to eat for energy. Not surprisingly, she approaches daily meals in the same way she approaches dancing. In the chapter entitled “Meal Choreography,” she breaks down meal-planning suggestions for 21 days. These healthy bran muffins are just one of her nutritious building blocks.

Bran Muffins

Along with oatmeal, muffins are my go-to morning meal. There’s something comforting and particularly satisfying about a luscious morning pastry, but the great thing about these particular muffins is that the bran is also really good for you, and the honey and applesauce give the muffins just enough sweetness.


  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup bran
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Cooking spray


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, bran, baking soda and salt.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs. Mix in the oil, honey, applesauce and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and mix well. Let sit for 5 minutes so that the coconut flour can absorb the liquid.

Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray. Pour the batter into the muffin tins, filling each muffin tin 3/4 full. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until brown.

Let the muffins cool before serving. Extra muffins can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Nutrition Information

Serves: 12 |  Serving Size: 1 muffin 

Per serving: Calories: 145; Total Fat: 8g; Saturated Fat: 5g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 93mg; Sodium: 146mg; Carbohydrate: 16g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 12g; Protein: 4g

Nutrition Bonus: Potassium: 49mg; Iron: 6%; Vitamin A: 3%; Vitamin C: 0%; Calcium: 2% 

Get more recipes like this in Misty Copeland’s book “Ballerina Body: Dancing and Eating Your Way to a Leaner, Stronger, and More Graceful You,” available now.

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11 Ways You Never Thought to Use Your Waffle Iron

Back away from the Bisquick, friends, because your waffle iron can do a lot more than make waffles.

By creating additional surface area, and applying a high temperature to it, a waffle iron produces new textures and flavors, crisping starches like rice or potatoes and caramelizing vegetables and fruits.

Just as a waffle’s myriad compartments hold syrup and butter, other foods similarly benefit when it comes to salsa, pesto and other toppings.

Altering the shape and topography of food doesn’t change its nutritional properties. This accords with the principle of “TITO,” or “Twinkie-in, Twinkie-out.”

Still, waffling your foods adds a fun twist to familiar favorites as well as reinventing leftovers.


A waffle iron is great for cooking veggies such as zucchini and other squash, eggplant, peppers and asparagus. Slice about 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick, toss with olive oil,  kosher salt and cook for 3–5 minutes. Asparagus stalks 1/2 inch in diameter or skinnier work best. Go really green by making  these waffle iron kale chips.


Any firm-fleshed fruit suitable for grilling can also be tossed on a waffle iron.  Stone fruits, apples, pears, figs, pineapple and even plantains work well.


You might wonder if the waffle maker will punch holes in a quesadilla. The answer: not really. Instead, it  makes little waffle-shaped tortilla pockets of cheesy goodness. A round waffle maker is probably better than a square one, but it’s hard to see how you’d go wrong either way.


For each omelet, beat two eggs plus two tablespoons of milk, stir in chopped onions and peppers, pour onto a waffle iron and cook until the eggs are set. Is it an omelet? Is it a frittata? You decide.


Waffles are basically muffins anyway, though muffin batter is a little thicker and usually sweeter. Still, any muffin recipe will cook up in your waffle iron. Pour it in, close the lid, cook until steam stops coming out. Leave it in a little longer if you want a more crispy bite. Keep a sheet pan underneath your waffle iron to catch any spills.

With this in mind, you can see how a waffle maker would also be great for making banana bread,  carrot cake and even brownies.


Hash browns and other grated root vegetables offer a wealth of waffle iron opportunities. Shred potatoes and cook for about 15 minutes on a waffle iron brushed with melted butter to produce  waffled hash browns. Combine with beaten egg for latkes. Change the flavor by substituting sweet potatoes for some or all of the potato or use  other root veggies like carrots, parsnips and turnips. Shred something else entirely, like zucchini, and bind together with milk, flour and grated parm to make fritters.


Some people may say these are simply another form of hash browns, but I beg to differ. Skip the grating and fill your waffle iron with tater tots for a crunchy delight.


The grilled-cheese variations alone, when you consider the innumerable combinations of bread, cheese and other ingredients, are simply staggering. Here’s one example, another and another. I’d be inclined to make a grilled-cheese sandwich using two leftover waffles as the bread.


Falafel is usually pan- or deep-fried, but when you make a waffle falafel, the only oil necessary is cooking spray. Bonus points for using a round waffle maker, since falafel shape matches round pita bread.


Whole potatoes, baked or microwaved until tender first, take on a fabulous browned exterior in these waffle whole potatoes. Use red potatoes, yellow or Yukons.


There are a lot of leftovers that take on new life in a waffle iron. A short list: leftover fries, leftover pizza, leftover mac & cheese, leftover mashed potatoes, leftover stuffing, leftover fried rice, leftover risotto, leftover polenta, and leftover meatloaf.

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