Easy Protein Bars and Other Real Food Snacks
With the whole gender-related toilet debate at the forefront of social media as well as other even bigger issues, there's a lot more going on in the world than feeding two teenage boys. However, at 5:00pm everyday, that IS the biggest issue in our household. My standard answer to the inevitable "What do we have to eat?" text until this week was "snacks in the bottom cabinet" which referred to the multitude of packaged (organic and mostly gluten-free, mind you) protein bars, crackers, even organic ramen. But as I was writing a PowerPoint for an upcoming class, I made an executive decision. We are going next-level with our family dining which led to the creation of these easy protein bars. Read on for the recipes and other real food snack ideas. As the private chef for a family actively fighting aggressive brain cancer, I have been constantly researching how food is a form of "medicine". Then I was asked to present this class on Clean Eating with Essential OIls which meant I had to compile all that research. Putting it in black and white for a presentation really makes you consider the facts. When I began to take stock of even the organic and gluten-free things I was bringing home for my growing man children to eat, I realized, it's still not really Real Food at all. There were still a ton of ingredients in those crackers and protein bars. In fact, there are few palatable protein bars that do not have soy in some form which is not good for anyone, especially boys!. The ramen, albeit organic, is still empty calories as my oldest son would always argue as he dived into a bowl 5 minutes or less before dinner was on the table. Little did he know he was buildilng a case against his beloved ramen in the process! :) So what to do with two hungry, 6-foot-tall young men with a seemingly insatiable appetite? That has become my goal. I am on a quest for real food fillers. Not empty calories, but food that will satisfy them and feed every cell in their bodies at the same time.
I've had this ginormous tub of Naked Whey for months and hadn't been able to convince them to make smoothies with it. So I decided to do something else with it...protein bars. I looked up a few recipes but not finding exactly what I wanted I used this post as my jumping off point and went from there. The first batch I made with coconut flour, oat flour and toasted coconut were a little gooier than I wanted so I made those into chocolate coated truffles. No they are not actually a truffle, but let's face it...any food that has balls in the name goes downhill fast when you're talking to boys! The second batch, a peanut butter chocolate chip variety, after a short stint in the fridge had a texture very similar to a CLIF bar which is the measuring device for my younger, athletic son who would live on them if given the chance.
As for my new next-level, Real Food Snack plan, here's what we are doing:
- Cheese and crackers
- Fruit (simple, yes?) with nut butter
- Cut-up Veggies with Peanut sauce (find our "recipe" in the middle of this post), homemade ranch or hummus
- Frozen Fruit sorbet in Vitamix
- 80% dark chocolate covered bananas
- Nut butter and honey (or maple syrup) sandwiches
- Paleo jam and nut butter sandwiches
- Homemade Protein Bars
- Homemade Popcorn with real butter, Parmesan cheese and herbs or your favorite seasoning blend
I would love to know what your favorite real food snacks are since I am currently rebuilding my arsenal. Comment below or on the Tablavie Facebook page. Now for those recipes...
Easy Protein Bars
Author: Christi Flaherty
Serves: 6 bars or 12 truffles
- Peanut Butter (or other Nut Butter) Chocolate Chip
- 3/4 cup oat flour*
- 1/2 cup protein powder
- 1/4 cup almond or coconut flour
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup peanut butter
- 1/4 tsp sea salt (1/2 tsp if using unsalted nut butter)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 T almond milk (2 if using coconut flour)
- 2 oz chocolate chips or chopped chocolate bars*
- Coconut Chocolate Truffles
- 1/2 cup oat flour*
- 1/2 cup protein powder
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp toasted coconut
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 cup almond butter
- 1 tbsp almond milk
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 3 ounces dark chocolate
For both recipes:
- Mix together all ingredients except chocolate.
For Peanut Butter (or other nut butter) Protein Bars:
- Stir in chocolate chips and press into a loaf pan lined with plastic wrap.
- Let set in fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- Remove and fold in half. Cut into 6 bars and place on parchment lined plate or small cookie sheet.
- Chill for 30 minutes to dry out a bit then turn and chill for another 30 minutes.
- Wrap each bar in parchment or plastic wrap to store.
For Coconut Chocolate Truffles
- Melt chocolate over double boiler or set a bowl on top of a simmering pot of water. (Do not let boiling water touch bottom of bowl.)
- Form into golf-ball sized truffles and dip in melted chocolate.
- Chill in fridge until chocolate is hardened.
*Make oat flour by grinding oats in a blender or food processor until flour consistency.[br]!For the chocolate, use as dark as you can handle. I used 80% dark.