If you get caught up in an emergency situation after a pleasant time spent in the woods, energy bars are a great addition to your diet.
“You are what you eat, so don’t be fast, cheap, easy, or fake.”
The pros are solid: light to carry, easy and fast to eat, comfortable to place in your pockets, in your backpacks, and even inside the smallest pouches.
Energy bars are the real thing when it comes to having fast food at your immediate disposal, and it’s a smart thing to learn how to make them at home and always keeping them in reach.
Plus, they are healthier than candies or any other kind of sweets. They also have a considerable shelf life, so you don’t have to worry too much about their expiration date.
You can purchase them quite everywhere, from big supermarket chains like Walmart to gas stations, from Duty-free shops inside airports to vendor machines.
Currently, they aren’t that expensive, but what if you want to test your cooking skills and try to make them at home or… straight out in the woods?
In doing so, you won’t only cut the expenses related to the packaging itself, but you will also have the possibility to produce them on a large scale for you and for all the family members.
Benefits from making survival energy bars by yourself
“Your diet is a bank account. Good food choices are good investments.”
– Bethenny Frankel
There are several benefits for making your own survival energy bars:
- you can select the ingredients of your choice
- you can make a lot of baking sheets by yourself
- you can cut them in the manner you prefer – square, rectangular.. so you can stuff them even in the most narrow parts of your gear
- you can decide the best method to wrap them (kitchen film, aluminum, bamboo boxes, etc.)
- you save time rather than purchasing them somewhere else
- you can involve all your family in making them
Investing in the right choices always means investing in your health and in your future too.
Sounds very good, doesn’t it?
Now let’s see how we can produce some survival energy bars with the best selection of ingredients in terms of energy and calories.
Additionally, we will learn how to bake granola bars at home and in the great outdoors.
Ingredients and energies
“Healthy eating is a way of life, so it’s important to establish routines that are simple, realistically, and ultimately livable.”
Be mindful when you select and pick up the ingredients you want to make your survival bars.
As a matter of fact, they should be the result of careful thinking about what you really need to eat when you find yourself lacking energy and proteins.
Vegetal proteins are indeed a great and precious resource once you find yourself in the outdoors, and you actually need a few of them to regain vigor and mental strength. You must have them in order to face different activities.
Let’s look now at some essential raw materials for our survival bars.
Nuts are traditionally a synonym of energy. This is because they contain a high level of fat.
In fact, all the existing types of nuts have all major macronutrients, like:
Keep in mind that nuts contain a good amount of total protein, and vegetarians can get the most out of it.
“[…] In addition, nuts have a low lysine:arginine ratio, which is inversely associated with the risk of developing hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis. Carbohydrates are the second-highest macronutrient in nuts in terms of total calories provided. The fat fraction is characterized by a high amount of unsaturated fatty acids and a low content of saturated fatty acids. In conclusion, the high content in unsaturated fatty acids, the low lysine:arginine ratio, and the presence of other bioactive molecules (such as fiber, phytosterols, vitamin, and other antioxidants, and minerals) make the addition of nuts to healthy diets a useful tool for the prevention of cardiovascular heart diseases.[…]” ( “Nuts: source of energy and macronutrients” – Published online by Cambridge University Press – 19 April 2007)
Nuts are also a good source of phosphorus, magnesium, copper, folate, and vitamin E, and they are extremely rich in fiber, which is absolutely beneficial for your digestion too!
Basically, you can add any kind of fruit you want to your energy bars, and the most popular are: blueberries, raspberries, currants, apples, pears, bananas, pineapple, and figs.
All of these fruits should be in dried form.
Nonetheless, you can try new flavors by adding the fruit you love the most. Even oranges, tangerines, lemons, and limes can be very good.
Do not forget that every single kind of fruit corresponds to a specific vitamin. So you can actually prepare some energy bars from scratch, pay attention to what you want to get out of it.
I mean, not only vegetal protein but also Vitamin A, B, C.
By using a good food dryer, you can process your fruit by cutting it into thin slices or tiny pieces and mix them in the pastry.
My suggestion is to organize your food storage by dedicating a specific box to contain all the ingredients you need to make granola and, consequentially, your survival bars.
In this manner, you know exactly what you need to prepare, let’s say, “survival bars” with Vitamin C (with citrus, et cetera..).
You have plenty of choices when it comes to picking some grains you want to add to your pastry.
In recent years, some companies started introducing some seeds inside the preparation of their energy bars. My personal suggestion is to not abuse the use of seeds when making your energy bars. Keep in mind that our digestive system isn’t fit to handle a large number of seeds.
Usually, chia seeds and black/white sesame are what you can find in most commercial survival bars.
In order to keep your pastry together and well blended, you definitely need a thickening agent. Stay far away from getting some chemical stuff you don’t really need because you can go 100% organic, and it’s easy to do so.
You have plenty of options, like:
- Coconut oil
- Sesame oil
- Maple Syrup
- Honey – in all the different varieties
- Peanut butter
- Almond butter
- Pistachio butter
- Date Palm oil
You can also add some jaggery, which happens to be more fit for granola than processed cane sugar.
How to make survival energy bars from scratch at home
“Let food be thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food.”
Besides the nice amount of perks we covered in the previous paragraphs, you will also be surprised by how fast the overall preparation of your granola pastry is.
Besides the essential elements, you just need a fridge (or oven) and no more than twenty minutes of your time. And I am speaking for all the customizable recipes you have in mind!
Put in a bowl all the ingredients of your choice, respecting proportions between nuts, fruit, grains, thickener, and seeds. They depend on the dimension – and numbers – of the baking sheets you have at your disposal.
Mix them together in order to create a pastry.
Press this pastry inside a baking dish.
Then store inside the fridge for at least 3 hours. Later on, you can cut them into slices or small pieces as you like.
Energy bars can last up to five or even six days in the fridge. You can also freeze them!
In case you prefer to bake them, keep them in the oven at 356 F for no more than 10 minutes. Check their baking progress repeatedly and carefully in order not to spoil them.
Once out of the oven, leave it cool for at least one hour.
This second method of preparation may turn them a little bit crispy, as I personally prefer them.
How to make survival bars from scratch – in the Great Outdoors!
“You don’t have to eat less, you just have to eat right.”
What if you want to prepare your survival bars in the great outdoors? If you have a fire, you can definitely do it.
All you need to use is a collapsable bowl, a spoon, and an upper grill to make sure they won’t get burned.
Few minutes of preparation and at least 60 minutes to cool down, and they are ready to be cut in pieces or broken with your own clean hands.
“The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.”
We don’t have to be a super chef to make these survival energy bars from scratch.
If you go with a balanced amount of nuts, dry fruit, sugar, and fats, you will definitely have the essential elements to create some delicious, healthy, and full of energy bars. You can also add some dark/milk or white chocolate chips.
Add creativity, and go for it! Making survival bars could turn out to be not only a good investment but also a way to share your knowledge with the community of preppers out there.
Kyt Lyn Walken has written this article for Prepper’s Will.