One of the things about being a full-time student again is remembering what it was like to be a college student the first time around… on a college student’s budget. With no income and a very limited account while living off my savings, I’ve had to get creative when it comes to not spending money. But when school is in session and I’m gone for 10-12 hours a day, it can seem so easy to just blow the budget in the name of convenience. When it comes to lunches and snacks, I’ve been good about making my own lunch every day: usually a salad or soup with an apple or some other fruit as a snack, and a protein/snack bar for some easy and quick fuel.
As we know, though, snack bars add up! Even if you’re getting Clif Bars for $.99 at Trader Joe’s, that’s still $20 a month or more in bars. Which doesn’t sound like a ton, but then you start reading the labels and the multitude of ingredients and, well, you know me I finally had to try making my own!
Just so we’re clear, I think Clif Bars are fantastic! BUT they do have more sugar than I’d like in a bar and they don’t have as much protein as I’d like. I’ve tried many other brands: Luna bars, Lara bars, Kind bars, Balance bars… just about everything on the shelf, I’ve tried at least once. But still, the idea of making my own kept nagging at me until finally I did it. I wanted to keep the ingredients simple and the steps easy enough that I would not be put off from making them again.
So here you go! This recipe is the result of reading a lot of different recipes on Pinterest and smushing them all together into something simple, easy, tasty, and healthy. They taste like peanut butter cookies, I’m not kidding! They are also slightly crumbly, so I think I will try variations with applesauce or ripe bananas, too. Of course, that will increase the sugar level, too, which isn’t something I really want to do. If I was training for another triathlon or marathon, though, that added natural sugar would be perfect extra fuel!
Another thing to note is how flexible this recipe is. For example, I used whey protein powder because it was the first one I grabbed from the cabinet. But they would work great with vegan protein powder or even Vega One. You could also add nuts, dried fruit, cacao nibs, carob chips… whatever floats your boat! I consider this recipe a foundation that can be built upon.
As of right now, these are my favorite go-to mid-morning snack and I’m saving a bundle on buying bars! If you try these or use them as a foundation for your own variation, I’d love to hear your adaptation and result!
Have a beautiful week, wherever you are!
DIY Protein Bars
Ingredients for 18 bars
- 1 cup oatmeal — I used Bob’s Red Mill Organic Scottish Oatmeal
- 1 16-oz. jar natural peanut butter
- 1/4 cup unfiltered honey
- 1/2 cup vanilla protein powder — can use vegan or whey
- 1 Tbsp. chia seeds
- 1 Tbsp. flax meal
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Mix all ingredients together except the chia and flax. I used my hands to fold the dough until smooth and blended.
- Place dough in a 9×13 pan and press with your hands and fingers until it is even and flat across the entire pan.
- Sprinkle the chia and flax over the top and press into the dough with your fingertips.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes.
- Let cool. Slice into 18 bars. Wrap individually and keep refrigerated. Enjoy!
Adjust the recipe as necessary for your needs and tastes. You can determine the nutritional content of your final product using Recipe Calculator.
Do you have a favorite snack bar?