Bean bars have become a running staple for me in the last 18 months and a cornerstone of my “whole food” running nutrition. They are similar in texture to a brownie although less sweet. Rich, balanced and delicious, bean bars are easy to freeze and pull out when you need them. Best of all they are soft and moist. Often I find other energy or muesli style bars dry/chewy (which I don’t enjoy on longer runs when I’m already a little dry in the mouth).
They work well for the family too. Our two children (7 & 2) love them and we take them with us when we go tramping to keep the kids fuelled up with good energy to balance out the lolly snakes we have to bribe them with to get them out the door.
This is an adaptation of a recipe that I first discovered on the No Meat Athlete website. The original recipe is more of a formula so you can create your own special version to suit your needs and tastes.
Black Bean Bar
- 1 can (400g) Black Beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup of Almond Butter
- 1 cup soaked Dates
- 1 mashed Banana
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1 1/2 cups Oats
- 1/2 cup Cacao Powder
- 2 Tbsp Chia Seeds hydrated
- 1/2 LSA
- 1/2 cup Shredded Coconut
- 1/2 Cup Raisins
- 1/4 Cup Cacao Nibs
- 1/4 Cup Hazelnuts halved or chopped
- Pre heat the oven to 180 Degrees (Celsius)
- In a food processor blend the beans, almond butter, dates, banana, vanilla, cinnamon and salt until smooth
- In a large mixing bowl place the dry ingredients and the hydrated chia seeds.
- Mix the blended ingredients from the food processor into the dry ingredients with a spatula until well combined. If the consistency seems spreadable then you are good. If it is too runny add more oats or LSA. If it is too dry add a little water.
- Line a 20cm baking dish with grease proof paper and spread the mixture evenly into it.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until the surface feels slightly crusty but not dried out.
- Remove from oven and cool. Cut into rectangles
Makes: about 25 or 30 bars depending on how small you cut them
According to MyFitnessPal the above recipe when divided into 25 bars yields approximately:
For me, what works is dividing a bar into thirds and then taking one portion every 15 minutes on long runs. I’ve found for me that I have to fuel regularly in smaller quantities to avoid stomach problems. This combined with the Chia Drink and Electrolytes seems to give me good nutrition for medium and long runs. Bean bars do take up more room in your pack than gels or other pre packaged food. I’m happy to carry a little extra though to eat real food on the trails.
I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.