Well, the 4th of July is over. Time to get back to decent eating habits again, right?! I might have had my share of BBQ, potato laden sides and bread… and ice cream… and whatever else that was there! Now I feel bloated and sluggish, but I had a good time with family so it was worth it.
Now that it’s back to work and the hectic schedule I like to have grab and go breakfasts and snacks. Something I can easily toss into my purse and eat in the car or quickly on a break. My preferences for this is something that does not need to be refrigerated or heated up. Something quick and easy to eat that will also satisfy my hunger.
Enter homemade protein bars! I used to buy protein bars out of convenience, but I was usually dismayed by either the ingredients, the taste, the price or all of the above. A lot of times they would taste chalky or chemical-y and I usually didn’t like the ingredient list. Then one day I had this ah-ha moment! I concluded that surely I could make my own protein bars with ingredients I am comfortable with AND that taste good. These are chewy, chocolate-y and filling. Yesss!!
So what about the protein powder? I personally use 2 polar opposite types: Orgain Organic Plant Based Protein Powder in the Vanilla Bean flavor. It’s organic, non-GMO, vegan and derived from pea protein. The vanilla bean flavor makes for a good neutral base. The other protein powder I use that is my all time favorite is Redcon1 MRE Lite Protein Powder It is a whole food based protein powder that is whey/lactose free and is low carb (not vegetarian friendly). They have multiple flavors, but for these protein bars I typically use their Banana Nut Bread flavor. I vary between the 2 brands depending on if I am sharing with others or not. Due to having some vegetarian/vegan friends I will use the Orgain protein powder if sharing. If it is just myself I will use the Redcon1 protein powder.
These protein bars are super versatile and can be tailored to your diet preferences. Dairy free? Use almond milk, oat milk or whatever “milk” you would like to use. Nut allergy? Use sunflower butter instead of a nut butter. Don’t want to use honey? Use pure maple syrup. I have tried many variations and they all turned out awesome! Also, the flavor of protein powder plays a big role. Vanilla is always a good base to start with. Trying other protein flavors (such as the banana nut bread) makes it fun and brings variety.
You can see in the pictures there are lighter looking bars and darker bars. The lighter bars I used the Orgain vanilla bean protein powder and vegetarian ingredients. The pictures of the darker bars I used the Redcon1 banana nut bread protein powder and the ingredients listed below in my recipe. Both versions are equally delicious!
Below I will share the recipe on my favorite version of these protein bars.
- Preheat oven to 350F and prepare an 8×8 pyrex dish by spraying it with cooking spray or greasing it well with coconut oil. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, protein powder, ground flax, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine peanut butter, honey, milk, and vanilla extract. Mix until fully combined. Pour the peanut butter mix into dry oat mix and stir until fully combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
- Pour into prepared pyrex dish. Use parchment paper to cover mixture and press down evenly and firmly into dish. (This saves your hands from sticking to the mixture).
- Bake for approximately 18 minutes or until edges begin to turn light golden brown.
- Remove from oven and let cool in the pyrex dish for at least 30 minutes before cutting into 9 squares.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
*Use Orgain protein powder is vegan/vegetarian
**Use nut butter of choice or sunflower butter if you have a nut allergy
***Use pure maple syrup or brown rice syrup if vegan/vegetarian
****Use any non-dairy milk of choice if lactose intolerant or vegan/vegetarian
*****Use dairy free chocolate chips such as Enjoy Life brand if vegan/vegetarian
Please let me know if you try these lovely protein bars out. They are the perfect grab and go breakfast or snack. I would love to hear other peoples variations too!