Healthy Peanut Butter Protein Bars

By May 22, 2018 Snacks
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With protein bars, you get what you pay for

I don’t think my husband Kevin will mind my sharing this story, but when our gym did a Zone challenge a few years back, he got hooked (and I snuck a few for myself, of course) on Mint Chocolate Clif Builder Bars. After a few years of paleo, they taste like a freaking candy bar and the macros are good for a Zone diet. We didn’t love the long ingredient list, but the alternatives were even junkier and the healthy protein bars were more expensive.

Trust me, I am no stranger to paying a premium for high quality snacks and protein bars. I have researched pretty much every decent protein bar out there and they are not cheap. And I totally get why. When it comes to food, you often get what you pay for. That is why they can sell Snickers 2 for $1 and my favorite real food protein bars cost $3 or more. And I love supporting the companies who make these high quality foods when I am out and about, but it was getting out of control, and we needed a better option at home.

When you take into account my 6’7” husband who trains hard almost every day of the week, myself (a self-proclaimed mediocre CrossFitter), and our three year old who is constantly asking for a “peanut butter bar”, I can almost justify getting a part-time job just to support our snack habit. We had to do something before we declared snack bankruptcy.

So, we came up with our own healthy protein bar recipe

Although I do most of the cooking now since I am home with the kiddos, Kevin is a great cook. He is also more creative than I am. I prefer to follow a recipe (sometimes loosely, but I do like direction), while he loves to throw together ingredients and see what happens.

He knew he could come up with a healthy protein bar recipe that would be cheaper to make at home. It took some trial and error, but he really landed on a winner with these protein bars!

Even better, they are totally customizable. I’ll leave a few variations in the “Notes” section of the recipe, but as long as you keep the amounts the same, you can change the flavors around any way you like. You can sub in a different type of nut butter, a different flavor of protein powder, or even switch out the sweetener.

You will want a GOOD food processor. This makes a hefty batch of protein bars so I recommend a 7-10 cup food processor. We use a Cuisinart 7-Cup Food Processor and it works beautifully. I use it almost every day to chop or shred veggies, blend sauces, and make these protein bars!

Healthy Homemade Protein Bar Recipe

If you have been searching for a healthy protein bar, look no further.

These protein bars have only 7 ingredients (seriously!), use only real food sweeteners, and pack a whopping 23 grams of protein per serving! I’ll link to some of the ingredients on Amazon because the easiest and most cost-effective way is to buy the ingredients in bulk. We seriously have a tub of protein powder in our pantry now. It looks like a paint bucket!

These bars are perfect for a pre- or post-workout snack. If you make these, I would love to know how you like them – leave me a comment or share a photo on social media and tag @whatigather! Now, on to the recipe…

Healthy Peanut Butter Protein Bars

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 12 bars

Serving Size: 1 bar

Calories per serving: 230 Protein - 23g Carbs - 22g Fat - 3 g

Healthy Peanut Butter Protein Bars

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dates (regular or medjool), pits removed
  • 2 1/2 cups protein powder
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter, no sugar added
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup honey

Directions:

  1. Add dates, protein powder, peanut butter, pumpkin pie spice, and sea salt to a large food processor with the chopping blade attached. Process until well combined.
  2. While still mixing, pour in maple syrup. Keep mixing until mixture forms a soft ball. You may need to scrape down the sides a few times while mixing.
  3. Remove mixture from food processor and press into a 9''x9'' pan. Chill in the refrigerator for one hour. Cut into 12 bars and store in the refrigerator in a large baggie or airtight storage container.

Notes

For chocolate peanut butter bars: sub 1/3 cup cocoa powder for 1/3 cup of the protein powder

Use all honey or all maple syrup

You can also use different nut butters, spices, and dried fruits for different flavors.

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