I’ll never forget the first month I sent our 17 year old son to public school.
Homeschooled since Kindergarten, but needing to be on a public school football team to receive scholarship offers, it was a whole new world. Now, you’d think that possibly the biggest adjustment might revolve around social or academic issues?
Hardly, it was all about food consumption.
As a Division 1 wanna be, our son was trying to gain weight, so when he announced after the first month that he was down ten pounds, it was a huge problem. While I made HUGE, and I mean HUGE, healthy lunches, he needed more protein in his diet. Typically, he would eat throughout the day, but this didn’t work into his schedule anymore.
I’ll have to do an entire post on how we increased his protein consumption, but one new addiction became these easy no bake peanut butter protein bars.
I can’t even begin to tell you how many batches we have made over the last few years, but it’s been a lot. In fact, these pictures have been sitting in my blog since last year.
Here’s the catch, which many of you rule followers are going to hate: my batches are a tad different every time.
WHAT?? Stay with me because you should love that flexibility.
As long as I keep the wet and dry ratio (1:2 cups) approximately the same, I can mix and match ingredients based on what I have on hand. The main stars always begin with peanut butter and oats, but then, there’s versatility based on your preference, dietary needs and picky eaters.
For instance, for the wet, I always use peanut butter as the main wet protein, although almond butter (and a dash of coconut oil works well too, but then I switch up my sweeteners – honey is my first choice, but brown rice syrup, and even a bit of maple syrup for added flavor works well too.
For the dry, I always begin with my cup of dry oats, but then the additional ingredients are chopped nuts, flax, chia, pumpkin or sunflower seeds,unsweetened coconut flakes (or sweetened if I’m craving extra sweetness), dried fruit like raisins or cranberries etc. Since we were going for power packed protein, I typically added a lot of raw, chopped almonds.
The thing I love about this recipe is that you can really switch it up for individual family favorites. One son prefers not to have any dried fruits in his bars. Now, he’ll eat them, but since it’s so easy for me to mix up a batch without the dried fruits, I always press 1/4 of the batter into the pan first without them, then add the cranberries to the remaining mixture for the rest of us. The same can be said if you choose to add chocolate chips.
I began eating these as a “treat” while I was doing the 17 day diet ,so I was a little more particular on what I mixed into my “side” of the pan. I also started playing with less “fat” content meaning that I upped the dry ingredients as much has I could. It’s a perfect recipe to tweak and play around with since it’s so easy. I even started adding straight protein powder for the additional grams, specifically for our sons.
Once mixed, they may be a bit crumbly, but once you put them in the fridge, they will bind up perfectly.
Enjoy and once you play around with this wonderful base recipe, I’d love to know the tweaks you made for your family.
If you are looking for a great baked granola recipe, try my yummy Homemade Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter granola recipe. It’s another favorite.
Recipe: Easy No Bake Peanut Butter Protein Bars
Summary: This easy no bake protein bar recipe mixes all our favorites into a delicious snack.
- 2/3 cup peanut butter (best choice: natural with no sugar added, but any store brands work fine too)
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup dry oatmeal (rolled is best, but quick work)
- 1/4 cup ground flax seeds *
- 1/8 cup chia seeds* (any seed combination works well)
- 1/2 cup chopped almonds* (or any chopped nuts)
- 1/2 cup coconut flakes ( I use sweetened if I use natural peanut butter)*
- * As mentioned above, you may omit or increase amounts with any of these. I add the optional dried fruits (cranberries, raisins etc) after the wet and dry ingredients have been mixed well.
- We love a full peanut butter taste, but if it’s too strong on that flavoring, add just a few tablespoons of maple syrup to your mixture for a great flavor variation. I also do this if I want to add a bit more moisture.
- Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.
- Add wet ingredients together in separate bowl and heat in microwave until peanut butter is slightly runny. (It will allow you to add the dry to the wet and then mix easier.)
- Add dry to wet ingredients and mix thoroughly.
- Once mixed press batter firmly into 8×8 pan.
- Allow to set in fridge for 30 minutes.
- Cut and serve or wrap individually for on the go snacks.
- Store in air tight container in fridge.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 12