These delicious and easy to make bars pack a nutritional punch with their mixture of nuts, nut butter, protein, dried fruit and energy boosting oatmeal. Naturally sweetened with honey, they are a simple, homemade alternative to store-bought oatmeal bars.
I don't know about you, but I love these things:
What I don't love about them is their price, their carb-heavy macro nutrient breakdown and their long list of ingredients that include preservatives and corn syrup. So I began researching how to make something similar from scratch that would more fully match my nutritional goals and save me a bit of money too.
The recipe I settled on incorporates a good mixture of "healthy" fats (from nuts), protein and carbs and is simple to make once you have assembled the ingredients. And I'm happy to report that they are satisfying and a great energy boost late in the afternoon or anytime I need a quick snack. Yes, they don't come in convenient little individually wrapped packages but it's nothing a little plastic wrap won't solve.
Vanderhouse Oatmeal Protein Bars
- 2 cups old fashioned oats
- ½ cup vanilla protein powder (I use Optimum Nutrition's 100% whey Vanilla Ice Cream)
- 2 Tbsp. ground flax
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¼ cup almond butter (or any nut butter)
- ¼ cup honey
- ½ cup milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- ¼ cup mini chocolate chips
- ¼ cup whole almonds
- ¼ cup dried fruit (I've used both raisins and cranberries)
First, divide your ingredients (excluding add-ins) into wet and dry bowls:
Then whisk together your wet ingredients and add to the dry.
Combine the two with a spoon or spatula. The mixture will seem dry at first but resist the temptation to add more liquid. As long as you've properly measured, the ratio should be just right.
Near the end of this process, throw in your add-ins and be sure to stir them in evenly. Nothing worse than all of your chocolate chips lumping into one bar.
Now comes the only semi-tricky step: leveling the bars. Grease an 8 x 8" pan and preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Use a spatula to push the bars down and create a level surface. Take your time with this. If you're impatient like me, you'll end up with lumpy and uneven bars.
Ready to go! Let it bake for 18-20 minutes or until the sides become slightly brown. You'll want to let these cool for a while before cutting into them.
The recipe makes 12 bars and this is the nutritional breakdown: