Words and photo: Karen Hill

These bars are currently my favourite go-to riding snack; a good mix of rich, sweet and salty flavours with hints of caramel. You will want to keep riding so you can eat more of them. I prefer homemade snacks over packaged food for training to give a bit of variety.

What’s Great About Them?

Carbohydrates are always a contentious issue and I believe they get a bad rap, especially in the athletic arena. For me, and this may be different for others (play around and see what works for your body), my body runs most efficiently when I feed it carbohydrates for my high-intensity endurance work outs. There are plenty of other opportunities away from exercise sessions to reduce carbohydrate intake. To support a solid training block, full-time work and whatever else life throws at you, fuelling your training sessions properly will also support your immune system, meaning you can keep riding all through winter. These bars are great as they pack a good hit of carbs and aren’t too bulky to carry in your back pocket.

The medjool dates are soft, moist and rich that taste like caramel. Because of their concentrated natural sugar content, dates make a good source of instant energy. They’re also rich in potassium, magnesium and vitamin B6, all of which are particularly important for muscle function and energy production in active athletes.

Throw in some peanut butter (crunchy only) because not only does it go with everything, there is the added bonus of fat and protein.

Ingredients – makes 8
·      2 cups (approx. 16) medjool dates
·      ½ cup natural crunchy peanut butter
·      ½ cup of golden syrup
·      2-3 cups of rice pops (you can also use rolled oats)
·      5 teaspoons vanilla extract (or essence)
·      1-2 teaspoons of salt (depending on the flavour you like)
1.     Pre-heat oven to 180°C and line a slice tray.
2.     Soak the dates in boiling water for a minimum of 10 minutes and then blend into a paste. You may need to add a few tablespoons of water to blend up.
3.     In a saucepan on the stove (big enough to hold all ingredients), over low heat, melt the peanut butter and golden syrup.
4.     Add the date paste, vanilla extract and salt, and combine.
5.     Add the rice pops or rolled oats and combine.
6.     Press into your lined slice tray evenly. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes.
7.     Let cool in tray before removing. Further cool in the fridge for a couple of hours prior to cutting to help set.
8.     Store in the fridge.
Nutrition per serve

Energy (kJ) Protein (g) Fat (g) Carbohydrate (g)
1526 6 10 59