Loving the BITE: Fresh Chocolaty Orange Fuel Bars

  • How about more than 170 different phytonutrients and more than 60 flavonoids, in just one orange?  Many of these components have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and blood clot inhibiting properties, as well as strong antioxidant effects. Some of these phytochemicals are so potent and persistent, they can be detected in the bloodstream 4-6 times as long as other strong phytochemicals, such as those in cocoa and green tea.
  • For heart health, there’s the flavanone herperidin, which has been specifically shown to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol in animal studies.   What’s more, the more antioxidants from oranges and other high-antioxidant foods in the blood stream, the less cholesterol becomes oxidized and able to stick to artery wall and cause blockages.  Clean arteries can definitely make you a better cyclist.
  • Next, there’s beta-cryptoxanthin, an orange-red carotenoid found in highest amounts in oranges, corn, pumpkin, papaya, red bell peppers, tangerines, and peaches.  It protects your lungs, and even may significantly lower one’s risk of developing lung cancer. In fact, its protective effects even decrease the risk of lung cancer among smokers.  There’s some strong protection… healthy lungs are certainly beneficial on your ride.
  • And, let’s not forget vitamin C – arguably the most well-known nutrient in an orange. Just one orange supplies 116.2% of the daily value for vitamin C.  Vitamin C is the primary water-soluble antioxidant in the body, disarming free radicals and preventing damage both inside and outside cells. In fact, one result of free radical damage inside a cell is damage to the DNA and a result of cancer.  To fight and prevent such damage, it’s absolutely worthwhile to consume many whole, fresh, high-antioxidant foods each day.
  • Last, but not least, there’s the fiber.  Three to five grams of wonderful, healthful fiber in just one orange.

Importantly, many of these potent phytonutrients are found in the peel and inner white pulp of the orange, rather than in its liquid orange center.  So, when you consume an orange, go ahead and peel, but leave on some of the white membrane.  And, find creative ways to use the peel.  Zest into foods, such as our bar, into your water, into your smoothie, or onto your salad.  This is also another reason that I greatly favor whole fruits over fruit juice.

You’ll also absorb more of the phytochemicals and flavonoids in an orange, and they’ll benefit your body more, when eaten from the whole, fresh fruit and not isolated nutrients in a “whole food” pill or powder.  So, don’t drive to your favorite supplement store just yet.  Instead, choose a real orange.  It’s refreshing.  No matter if you’re relaxing in your kitchen, or climbing a hill on the pavement.

Fuel Your Ride. Nourish Your Body.

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  • Caroline

    Sounds really good! Any idea how long they’d keep — in a plastic bag in a pannier? Been thinking of bringing out an old scout trekking-recipe, but as far as I remember they were nothing to look forward to … so maybe these would be a good alternative, t kick start a 2 months cycle…

    • Kelli Jennings, RD

      Hmmm…I’m actually not sure. I’ve had them out of the fridge camping for several days without an issue. None of the ingredients are high risk, although the juice *could* go bad, possibly. One option would be to increase the zest to 150%, and then add 1 Tbsp more of honey, and omit the juice from the orange. I think you’d be okay either way, but this would eliminate the only non-shelf-stable ingredient. Same with the lemon bar. The 2 bars have very different flavors, so if you’re looking for a rotation, they may both work for you. Let us know! All the best!

  • Jen

    I like easy recipes with minimal ingrediants. I think these would be good for my kids as well. Let the baking begin.

    • Kelli Jennings, RD

      Yes, these are super easy and good for kids. Heck, the kids can practically make them:)

    • Kelli Jennings, RD

      Yes, these are super easy and great for the kids. Heck, the kids can practically make them themselves!:)

  • George

    the only advantage I knew about for oranges was vitamin c. I eat a lot of them so I like knowing that there are other benefits as well. I’ll pass this recipe on to my wife and have her bake some up.

    • Kelli Jennings, RD

      I eat a lot of oranges, too – I find them to be really satisfying if I want something sweet. Hope you like ‘em!

  • V Stolle

    I’d like to give this one a go. Is there anything I can sub for the almonds? Don’t really like the taste of those.

    • Kelli Jennings, RD

      Absolutely – most any nut will work. I think cashews would taste great. Or, if you want to be adventurous…pistachios! Let us know what you think!

      • V Stolle

        Thanks for your message. My wife and I made these last night and used peanuts because that is what we had in the house. Maybe not the best nut to use but they taste good to me. I’m going to bring a couple along on my bike ride this weekend.

        • Kelli, RD

          Awesome! And, you’ve made a great nut choice – don’t sell the humble peanut short. It’s a loaded with good fats, high protein, and more economical than other nuts. I often use other nuts in my recipes b/c we tend to eat a fair amount of peanut butter here (homemade, of course! :). One of my favorite things about these bars is that once you have the general template recipe, you can begin experimenting with different nut, dry fruits, and flavor combos. Anyway, thanks so much for the follow-up comment and all the best! Kelli, RD