BicycleSource Newsletter

Beth Boomer shares her own personal recipe:

"Burn fat faster" claimed an energy bar manufacturer in a recent magazine advertisement. The ad described me to a tee -- living on a low-fat, high carb diet, and typically "bonking" about 80 miles into a century ride, even though I had been gulping bananas and fig bars throughout, and loaded up on pasta the night before. An 800 number appeared at the end of the ad, so I called.

What was described to me by the gentleman on the other end of the phone was a diet containing 40% carbs, 30% protein, and 30% fat -- the 40/30/30 plan. By eating two of their energy bars daily and maintaining the 40/30/30 ratio with every meal and snack, one could train his or her body to use body fat rather than carbohydrates as fuel.

We next discussed two problems that I saw with the diet -- number one, as vegetarians, it appeared that it might be difficult to get 30% of our calories from protein, and number two -- the energy bars were outrageously expensive at $40 for a one-week supply.

The first problem was solved easily enough, with Mike and I finding plenty of meatless high protein foods - tofu, beans, and peanut butter to name a few. Knowing that the energy bars would not fit into my budget, and using a little math and chemistry (it is my profession), I determined the amounts of the various ingredients, which are listed on the wrapper, required to make an energy bar that is 40% carb, 30% protein, and 30% fat.

Before I reveal the secret recipe, I will tell you that the "40/30/30" plan works! Mike lost several pounds of body fat, and gained muscle mass. Beth the bonker has ridden several centuries eating only two of these 250-calorie bars per ride -- one before and one during -- with energy to spare at the end. We also recently set a "PR" (personal record), riding the Endless Summer Watermelon Century in 4.5 hours, each bettering our previous best time by nearly 30 minutes! And now, here's the recipe (this makes 30 bars):

2 cups corn syrup
1 tablespoon honey
2 cups natural peanut butter, preferably fresh ground
1 to 2 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon (or more) cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups naturade vegetable protein powder (available at health food stores)
3 cups oats, quick or old fashioned, pureed into a powder in a food processor

Mix the first 6 ingredients in a bowl. Stir in protein powder until the mixture becomes too stiff, then use your hands to mix. Add in oats; at this point upper body strength is required. The dough will be very stiff. After mixing, spread onto a 11.5" X 15" jelly roll pan coated with non-stick cooking spray. Refrigerate for at least one hour; cut into 30 bars, and place each into a Ziploc bag or store them somehow. They will remain fresh longer if refrigerated. Happy eating!

Each Bar Total
Calories: 253
Fat Grams: 15.6
Carb Grams: 25.6
Post a Comment
6 comments posted so far.
Posted By: DMac on April 25th, 2011
I have been making these for years. They are great and all my riding buddies love them. I have modified the recipe however. I use 1.5 c of brown rice syrup .25c of molasses, .25c of honey, 3 c of whey protein powder-chocolate, 3 c of rolled oats blended fine, a jar of natural peanut butter, and cinnamon. I have tried different nut butters and additives like chocolate chips or chopped up nuts. The reason for the extra cup of protein powder is that the bar holds its firmness better at room temperature.
Posted By: Conrad on April 9th, 2011
These bars are the best stuff I have every had! Very cheap too. I add a little lemon juice and salt (for electrolytes). They do not lift you up and drop you like the sugary drinks and gels.Thanks.
Posted By: Eddie on January 10th, 2011
Timbo: It depends. On a "tour" type ride, where you're going all day at a moderate pace, you're going to want a good mixture of protein, complex carbs & faster sugars. This is why the turkey sandwich supplemented with 50% strength juice is a classic touring regiment.

For solid rides in the range you're talking about, I'd advise eating something with complex carbs and some protein (like this recipe) an hour before your ride. Then consume something with carbs/sugars while on the ride.

That said, it all depends on your body, pace and dietary preferences. I pretty regularly do 65-70km training rides in ~2hrs and don't eat anything while on the ride. A decent meal an hour before hand and 1 bottle gatorade/1 bottle water gets me through just fine. Just make sure you eat enough to stave off the dreaded "bonk".
Posted By: Timbo on December 23rd, 2010
Just getting started on longer rides...40+ miles. Most of the serious riders I see are using liquid replenishment. Is there a downside to using protein bars on a long ride? I've just always assumed you want minimal digestion taking place on a ride as it would draw blood from the legs.
Posted By: Gibbo on September 19th, 2010
Update - need to add we substituted skim milk powder for the vege protein to keep cost down. They work well. Froze them, when thawed are quite a bit softer than a power bar and easier to get down. Next time will leave the baking paper on the bars before we wrap them. We had cut them with a pizza cutter with the paper still on both sides after rolling the mixture. Cling wrap is fine, vacuum sealing is too much trouble. Then when you nibble on the bars the paper can keep your fingers from getting sticky. Peel the paper, have a nibble, wrap it up again and put back in your bento box without the bar messing everything up. Have another nibble later and so on.
Posted By: Gibbo on September 16th, 2010
Tried this recipe. She's right, it gets very stiff and sticky, hard to work with. A wife with clean hands nearby is handy. We ended up sandwiching the mixture between 2 sheets of baking paper and rolling it out to about 1 cm thick. Really yummy bars, sort of chewy and melt in your mouth a bit. Haven't used them riding yet but I can see the potential. The recipe takes a good 40 minutes to get into the fridge. We vacuum sealed the bars. Will keep you posted about effectiveness and longevity.