Do you remember back in the early nineties when one of the only energy bars on the market was Power Bar®? Today, you can’t walk into any grocery chain without seeing a store shelf filled with various types of energy bars. They may vary by brand name and ingredients, but they don’t vary on the high amount of sugar most of these energy bars contain. Over the years, various reports have even compared energy bars to the equivalences of a typical candy bar. In some cases, energy bars were found to have even more calories and grams of sugar than a candy bar!
A few years back, after examining the labels of various energy bars, we found that consuming an energy bar during or just after a workout may not be the best dietary decision. This started us thinking, what could we do to provide ourselves with an energy boost during workouts without consuming a “candy bar”.
In thinking this problem out, we thought what has natural complex sugars and the ability to provide energy. Then it came to us, fruit! It fit all our requirements except one. The exception was fruits contain water and therefore can make you bloated. This is one feeling no one particularly likes while exercising.
On further thinking this water problem out, we realized that if you dehydrate fruit it would eliminate the water while concentrating its sugar and enhancing the taste.
With no idea about where to find a food dehydrator or how much they cost, we began an online search. We found that this product was readily available and fairly reasonable in price for a low-end non-commercial dehydrator. We went to our local Bed, Bath and Beyond store to purchase a food dehydrator.
During the first week of owning our office dehydrator, we became obsessed with dehydrating various types of fruit. After tasting a number of different types of dehydrated fruit, our favorites were dehydrated pineapple, mango and bananas. Dried apples and strawberries were a close second. They were even better mixed all together. Since our dehydrator has a number of drying trays, we are able to have a number of different types of fruit drying in one batch. Also, if you store the dried fruit in a Tupperware container, it usually can last for a week or two.
You are probably saying to yourself, why don’t you save all this hassle and just go out and buy store bought dried fruit? Good question! The reason we invested in a dehydrator is most pre-packaged dried fruit contains add sugar and preservatives (can make you feel bloated). The only possible negative to this whole fruit drying process is that it takes on average 8-10 hours to dehydrate your fruit. But! We have found that if you do the process overnight, you can add an automatic timer to the unit so it will shut off after the allotted dehydrating time.
Lastly, the question may arise, what should you do if after purchasing a dehydrator you do not like the dried fruit energy bar alternative. Answer: if you slice sweet potatoes very thin and dehydrate them, they make great dog treats 🙂