I have an announcement to make… I am officially an adult. I mean, yes, I’ve been one for a dozen or so years now, but I finally had that moment when I knew I crossed over to the dark side.
I swapped an old school craving for a PB&J sandwich and chocolate milk for a healthy alternative. And I did it willingly. WHAT. IS. HAPPENING. HERE? Even on the occasional “cheat day,” I’ve been making healthier choices. And GET THIS… I like it.
I’ve been on a hunt for protein lately and the bar has been calling my name. BUT, I’ve decided to preempt the packaged good and head to the kitchen.
I think one of the biggest motivators lately is my lack of satisfaction over the selection of protein bars out there. I’ve been trying to consciously add more protein and fiber to my diet (I heard they play nice together) and out of convenience, I figured a protein bar was the best way to go.
But confession… I hate protein bars. Actually, I hate most things in bar form. Their shiny appearance and lumpy rectangular shape creeps me out. I always wonder how fresh those ingredients could possibly be as I stare at the soft, strange mold. ALSO, their extremely flexible, “bend but not break” characteristics and mushy consistency weird me out a bit. Perhaps I’m over thinking this. In fact, I know I am.
Regardless, I’ve been determined to get over it for the sake of protein. Rummaging through the snack aisle, I’ve been auditioning bars to see if they’d make the cut. The must-haves of my perfect bar include:
- High in protein
- High in fiber
- Low in calories and fat
- No added sugar
- Wholesome, clean ingredients
- NO chalky texture
- Tastes AMAZING
That’s a good starting point, right? Truthfully in my experience, it’s been a real challenge to find. I do realize I’m high maintenance and have perhaps set the bar a little too high, but this picky eater wants what she wants. Pun absolutely intended, BTW.
After days of feeling like Simon on the old American Idol, I turned to the interwebs. Someone out there has to feel the way I do, and I knew now I’d have to make my own. Since I am a protein bar newbie, I relied on other people’s recipes for trial and error this time. But good news, WE HAVE A WINNER. Nutritionist in the Kitch has a fabulous, quick and easy protein bar recipe that not only fit the bill, but bested my PB&J craving. She has made me a protein bar believer.
I modified her recipe a bit because I also have a thing against cranberries. Yes, I just realized how snobby I can be. Besides, my PB&J demands strawberry jam, so I gotta do what I gotta do.
- 1¾ cup pitted dates (soaked in warm water for 15 minutes, then drained)
- ½ cup dried strawberries
- ¼ cup natural peanut butter
- ¼ cup whole raw almonds
- ¼ cup instant plain oats
- ½ scoop vanilla protein powder (*optional, if you nix this, use ½ cup instant oats instead of ¼ cup)
- 1 teaspoon water
- Soak the dates in warm water for 15 minutes, and drain.
- Place dates, dried strawberries, almonds, peanut butter, protein and oats in a food processor and blend until combined well.
- Scoop mixture into a square baking pan, and firmly press down to make an even layer.
- Place in the freezer for 30 minutes to set, then cut into rectangle bars.
- Store in the freezer or fridge.
- You can use dried cranberries instead of strawberries if you prefer.
Want something cool to wash this down with? Try this Creamy Chocolate Hemp Smoothie. This killer recipe uses Hemp Seeds for protein power. It tastes like a sophisticated version of chocolate milk. Serve chilled—the chillier, the better.
A healthy, grown-up version of a childhood favorite? Yep, that happened. Cheers to adulthood, I suppose.