Great Energy Bar for Runners

Great Energy Bar – El Guapo’s recipe put to the test

Recipe for Runners

As a long distance runner you have to figure out what to eat when you let’s say set out on a long trail run in the forest, down a quiet country lane,  run around the blocks in your neighbourhood or in a city park where you live. You need to replenish your energy stores if you want to be able to sustain training for a long period of time. That’s usually about 3/4 hour to an hour before I personally start to notice that my energy is dropping off. It means my body has used up it’s stored sugars and is starting to fatigue. At that point I need to refuel. Fast. It means my body needs sugar that is easily absorbed.

Some people refuel with energy gels, drinks, sweets and store bought energy bars. For people with dietary restrictions or food intolerances that can be tricky. Even finding a good recipe for a do-it-yourself fuel bar isn’t that easy. So I tend to read recipes I find in magazines etc with great interest.

This recipe is based on one of the recipes for do-it-yourself energy bars for runners featured in the Runner’s World article I reviewed in one of my latest post. The recipe is the Great Energy Bar by El Guapo.

The Great Energy Bar tried and tested – here my review:

I’ve taken the gluten free route and used soya flower instead of ordinary wheat flour. I’ve also substituted vanilla essence with real vanilla sugar. In addition to the pecan nuts I’ve added some flaked almonds and some chopped hazelnuts because the original recipe wanted shredded coconut which I didn’t want to use because of the high saturated fat content.

I’ve baked these bars and here is my verdict. I did extend the baking time by an extra ten minutes, maybe it’s just my oven, maybe it’s because i added some more nuts and thereby had a bigger mass to heat. it is worth your will to keep and eye on them while baking. The next time I bake them I will probably use a bigger pan and spread the dough out to no more than 1/2 inch/1.5 cm.

The Great Energy Bar make for a very tasty snack. The cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla are well balanced. Non of them are over-powering. The bars have a yummy  banana flavour and the nuts make for a crunchy texture. I really enjoy the intermitted taste of raisin (cranberry) and pecan, too.

Overall these energy bars reminds me more of a granola bar than a high energy snack. Having said that they are quite calorific with the sugar and banana providing quick release carbohydrates and the oats for more complex carbohydrates. So they will work as an energy bar as well. I’m not sure if I personally would want to eat them on a long run though. I can certainly see myself eating them about an hour before a long run or even as a quick breakfast snack.

They are fantastically tasty for sure. With the fats coming from cold pressed rapeseed oil and nuts, as well as being vegan and gluten free and being baked at medium heat they pass the test with flying colours.


Ingredients for 16 bars:

  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cold pressed rapeseed oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla sugar (or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup of soya flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of gluten free rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecan nuts
  • 1/3 cup chopped hazel nuts
  • 1/3 cup flaked almonds
  • 3/4 golden raisins/cranberry/raising mix


Preparation time 15 minutes, baking time 20-25 min:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350˚F/180˚C.
  2. Combine the sugar, vanilla sugar, oil and bananas in a mixing bowl and whisk until you have a smooth mass.
  3. Combine all the dry ingredients except for the pecans and raisins in a separate bowl.
  4. Mix the dry with the wet ingredients briefly and then fold in the pecan and raisins.
  5. Pour the dough into a non-stick silicone baking pan.
  6. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until the top is golden brown and slightly puffy.
  7. Cool on a wire rack then cut into equal pieces.
  8. Once cooled cut out 16 bars and wrap in cling film or sheets of paper to keep fresh.