Power Hungry : the ultimate energy bar cookbook

Power Hungry by Camilla V. Saulsbury.

This is one of those wonderful books which gets discovered and does the rounds, passed from person to person as recipes are tried, shared, and discussed. I first noticed it on the desk of a friend, and ordered my own copy…then discovered that she had done the same thing!

Planning and packing healthy meals and snacks for yourself and your family can be a challenge. Even the best store-bought health and power-bars can be little better than candy in disguise, and you pay dearly for the privilege of their convenience. So what can you do?

Author Camilla Saulsbury worked as a fitness instructor, food columnist, personal trainer, and a number of other jobs while completing her Ph.D., and needed a healthy, lightweight and tasty solution to ‘fast-food’. The answer was to make her own all-natural, versatile, portable and affordable bars which have become this book. They are ideal for athletes, bodybuilders, fitness enthusiasts and anyone who needs a tasty meal to go, a quick and healthy snack, a workout booster, or a weight loss aid to stave off hunger. They are easily packed in a purse, pocket, pouch or gym bag. Most of these power bars keep well or can be frozen for convenience. You can save a lot of money making your own over purchasing them from the store and have a much better product without artificial preservatives, hydrogenated oils, high-fructose corn syrup, or colorants. These power bar recipes emphasise taste, maximise nutrition, minimise cost, eliminate the junk ingredients, and can be made at home with ease and endless variations (variations are listed beside each basic recipe and make ingredient substitutions to suit your pantry contents or taste preferences easy). Many can be made vegan and allergen-free with the suggested options – for example, swap quinoa flakes for regular oats, or nondairy milk for dairy milk to create your bars your way. Many of the bar recipes have lovely pictures, and useful ‘compare to’ notes for other popular store bought bars, which give you and idea or whether or not you will like them.

The first chapter has valuable discussion on the ingredients – nutritional information, where to buy them, and substitutions you can use. There is a great recipe for DIY glucose syrup which is used to bind some bars together. I will definitely give this one a go. There are recipes for natural bar coatings – nut, seed, chocolate or yogurt. Lastly, there are instructions for measuring ingredients, and a list of the equipment required. You do need a food processor, … and I have found my food mixer useful, although not essential. The nutrients are listed with calories, fat grams, cholesterol, sodium, carbs, fiber, sugars and protein for each bar.

I have made quite a few of these bars now, and some of my favourites are Mega Marathon bars, Quinoa Chia Apricot bars, Flax Your Muscles bars, Chickpea Champion bars, and Banana Split bars. I am sure I will have more favourites as I try out more recipes.

I will confess to having a couple of failures that were too soft or too crumbly, but that was probably my fault as I do tweak recipes to my personal taste…

Camilla Saulsbury has won serveral top cooking competitions.