DIY Energy Bars to Limit Waste and Eliminate Preservatives

An easy way to reduce waste and save money, in the long run, is to make your own energy bars from simple ingredients bought in bulk.

An easy way to reduce waste and save money, in the long run, is to make your own energy bars from simple ingredients bought in bulk. Having full control of what goes into your body, allows you to accurately measure your fat, protein and carbohydrate intake (this should be appealing to any athlete).

As an eco-blogger and all-around advocate of living an environmentally conscientious life, I wanted to see how I could expand those principles to every aspect of my life, including cycling. For instance, I actively try to choose recycled or reused parts for my bikes, and repair rather than replace where possible. It is feasible to be mindful of your carbon footprint, beyond just contributing to “One Less Car.” Consider all your options next time your bike needs a tune-up.

Another common waste pitfall I wanted to combat was to reduce the plastic wrappers on energy bars and snacks that I go through due to my heavy training schedule. Plastic wrappers are convenient for bars that leave a mess or unpleasant surprise in jersey pockets, but they also add a lot of waste to our ever-growing landfills.

By handpicking your ingredients from the bulk food section at your local market, you can completely customize your homemade bars in endless ways. While you’re shopping, bring your own cloth produce bags or mason jars when buying in bulk. You’ll be creating virtually no waste at all.

Creating my own energy bar recipe has been especially useful for attending races. The typical nervousness and race-anxiety is inevitable, but knowing that I have nutritional bars without weird ingredients that will keep me energized, is definitely my key to success. – Lisa Erikkson

No Trash Life Cashew Cookie Energy Bars
(Vegan, gluten-free) makes approx. 10-15 bars
30 pitted Medjool dates
1.5 cups of raw cashews (unsalted)**
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
½-1 teaspoon of sea salt (adjust to taste and
your sodium replenishment needs during training)

**Not a fan of cashews? Swap them out for roasted peanuts, almonds or macadamia nuts.

  1. Place all pitted Medjool dates in the bowl of the food processor. Process until the dates form a ball. Stop the processor and, using a spatula or wooden spoon, break up the ball in to smaller pieces. Give it another go until it forms into a ball again.
  2. Next, add in raw cashews, coconut and salt. Pulse a few times until the cashews are coarsely chopped. You may need to scrape the sides of the bowl a few times to completely mix the ingredients.
  3. Transfer the doughy mixture into a mixing bowl or clean surface and mix with your hands to get everything incorporated evenly.
  4. When dividing your dough, you have a few options: If you’re using a rolling pin, roll it out to about 1” thick and then cut your desired shape. Or, you can press firmly into a deep dish, then cut into bars. You may also roll them in to bite-sized balls for the on-the-go snacks.
  5. If bringing them along for rides, wrap each in aluminum foil, reuse candy wrappers or reuse the parchment foil wrapper from chocolate bars (as pictured). These bars should hold up approximately 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

For more actionable, every day tips on how we can all make a positive impact on the Earth by making simple changes in our day-to-day behaviors, follow @NoTrashLife and

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