Maple Vanilla Chewy Protein Bars

This recipe has become one of my new favorites.  They are just sweet enough to fill that little craving, although moderately high in carbs, so keep that in mind when snacking on them. Silver lining? The fiber content and rich thickness of each bar is pretty filling, so eating one might just be enough…

Right, who am I kidding? I could eat ’em all! Look at them!

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But they ARE free of gluten, dairy, refined sugar, and low in fat. So don’t feel terrible gobbling down more than your share. The best part? They don’t require you to turn on an oven.

They remind me a lot of those little Quaker Chewy Bars you get in the cereal aisle, but much less sugar and much more filling. And those bars, they have what…like 2 grams of protein? That just won’t do. These little champs have about 10 grams. Yeah. That’s better.

Before I post the recipe, I’m stating that for the next 7 weeks until competition day, my diet is going through a spring cleaning. Meaning I have to K.I.S.S. (keep it simple…and slimming!) Chicken, green veggies, sweet potatoes, eggs, and the occasional whey protein shake. So I hope you guys like entree and protein shake recipes, ’cause the baking’s being put on hold. I’m posting one other recipe today for a scrumptious, fluffy protein pancake (with an ingredient you might not expect (!!!))

What’s great about this is that after the competition is over, after 7 weeks of entrees and protein shakes…you guys get front row tickets to my BAKE-A-PALOOZA!! Seven weeks is a lot without treats like these, so I have that much time to come up with delicious and creative recipes for all my new best friends (that’s you). I can’t wait.

Ok, ok, the recipe.. Here it is!

Maple Vanilla Chewy Protein Bars

Approx Nutrition Facts per bar (makes 9 servings): 150 calories; 4.5g fat; 20g carbohydrates; 10g protein; 1g sugar; 4.5g fiber; 165mg sodium

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups brown rice chex

1 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats

1/4 cup protein powder

3/4 cup flaxseed meal

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1/2 cup PB2 mixed 1/4 cup water (or any nut butter works, but I like mine low-fat)

1/4 cup Stevia or Splenda

1/2 cup sugar-free maple syrup

2 tsp vanilla extract

Optional Ingredients: pecans, walnuts, almond slivers, dried fruit, graham cracker crumbles

Directions:

In a small bowl or mug, mix PB2 and water to make peanut butter (not necessary if using a different nut butter)

In a large mixing bowl, stir together rice cereal, oats, protein powder, flaxseed meal, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Use the back of a fork to crush the larger pieces of chex mix until they are smaller sized pieces.  This makes it easier to stir later. Although if you like em more crispy, you can eliminate that step.

In a saucepan on medium heat, stir together sugar-free maple syrup and stevia or splenda until the sweetener has completely dissolved.  Then add the PB2 and stir to mix well. Then add vanilla extract and stir. Remove from heat and pour over the dry mix. Using a rubber spatula, mix everything up until all dry pieces are coated and you have a sticky, clumping ball of deliciousness.

Transfer the mixture to an 8×8 inch glass pyrex and put in the fridge for about 45 minutes. I decided to add a broken graham cracker pieces on top, which I simply broke up and pressed into the top of the mixture.

Remove and cut into 9 square-ish bars.

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No oven, remember?

I hope this chewy and nutritious little square will satisfy that sweet tooth. Write comments below and tell me how you liked it! I also love to hear about extra little goodies you guys put in your own version of these bars.

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