Sunday, November 13, 2011

Homemade Peanut Butter Banana Protein Bars

It's been about 9 months that I got serious about getting in shape and leading a healthier lifestyle. I had changed my eating habits about a year prior, but staying away from high fat foods just wasn't enough. It wasn't until I began a steady exercise routine that I noticed a significant change in my appearance and the way I felt.

I have lost 18 pounds in the process, but there's still so much more to improve and work on as I get used to this new health-conscious lifestyle. That's what it narrows down to. A lifestyle, where you make daily choices planning meals, eating nutritious food and incorporating some kind of physical activity that will keep your metabolism going and the endorphins flowing. As Elle Woods said: "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands, they just don't." - Amen sister! Ha, ha!

I find that I am hungry all the freakin' time now, and it makes sense. The body needs fuel to feed on before and after a workout. I am a busy-bee, I work full time, I have 7 year old, a business on the side, a blog, a workout routine, a husband and a big family that I like to spend time with. This leaves me with very little time to do the simple things, like eating breakfast. BIG NO-NO! If you all you have time for is a cup of office coffee (if your place of employment provides it), put your baking hat on and make yourself a batch of these to keep in the fridge, ready to grab on your way out!

Peanut Butter Banana Homemade Protein Bars, Ingredients:
2 cups uncooked oats
1 or 2 scoops protein powder (I use Designer Whey Protein Powder, French Vanilla)
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1 cup peanut butter
3 tbsp honey
2 medium ripe bananas
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 cup chocolate chips (optional)
2 tbsp chopped walnuts (optional)

Mash the bananas, add the peanut butter, honey, apple sauce, vanilla and mix together. In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients: wheat flour, flaxseed meal, cinnamon, oats, protein powder and baking powder. Once the dry ingredients are mixed together, add them to the first mix (peanut butter & bananas) and continue mixing until well blended. At the end, add the chocolate chips. You can actually omit the chocolate chips or substitute them with some walnuts instead.

Bake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place mixture in 9x9 lightly greased pan and bake for 20-22 minutes until medium brown. (I bake mine in my toaster oven).

It's quite a bit of batter for a 9x9 inch baking pan, but I it's the largest that fits in my toaster oven, so that's what I use. It makes 10 thick bars about 264 calories each, or 20 square bars at about 132 calories each. I like to cut them into the smaller 20 pieces and wrap them individually to keep in the fridge or freezer ready to go. I keep them small because they are quite filling and I'd rather eat this and a piece of fruit or veggie sticks. You know, keeping my intake of processed foods low and eating more natural stuff. I hardly ever like to eat them as a meal replacement, but if I have to, then I do eat two of the small pieces to get the full 264 calories.

I've gotten pretty good about taking food with me to work. I drink a protein shake every other morning, and on my way out I also grab a piece of fruit and any other form protein for the afternoon. This protein can be in the form of a hard boiled egg, deli meat, string cheese, whole wheat crackers with peanut butter, nuts, or a homemade protein bar. Especially on gym days when I know I'll need the extra fuel to burn. I keep healthy snacks at work too (pretty much the same things mentioned above), so I know I have something to eat once I get there in the event that I'm running late and I don't have time to make my shake, or I forget my lunch and snacks as I often do.

Hope you enjoy the recipe! If you are new to protein bars, let me just tell you, I do not like the store bought ones. I've tried a couple and I just throw them away after the first bite. It makes me uneasy to not know what I'm eating. Especially the chocolate gooey ones. I don't feel like I'm eating anything nutritious if it looks like a chocolate bar coming out of a wrapper. This led me to scour the web, combine and tweak a few recipes to make this one that was right for me.

Just note that these bars are not as sweet as a pastry would be, so your taste buds might be confused at first and demand more sweetness. Just ignore them, they'll get used to it. They're quite tasty once you get used to them, they are filling and much better for you than, oh let's say, donuts.

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1 comment :

Donna said...

Ms. Dio: I am so proud of you! You look fantastic and your experience gives me inspiration & hope. While I don't have baby weight to lose, I certainly have "marriage weight" that can be lost! :) I must try this recipe. Oatmeal gets a little old everyday. XXOO