chocolate chip granola bars

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Every time I eat granola bars I always think of how insanely easy they have to be to make, and how much healthier they could potentially be if I took the time to make them at home.

Well, I finally got around to it.  Why?  Because I recently received a package of ViSalus Shake Mix, which is a high-quality protein shake powder with a vanilla flavor.  Not to go on or anything, but can I just say with all the hype about GMO soy (and GMO crops in general) I was pleasantly surprised to see them specify on the label that they use only non-GMO soy for their protein.  I’ve NEVER seen that on any other protein mix that I’ve used before (and I’ve used quite a few).

I’m not a body builder or anything, but I definitely go through my health-kicks.  You pretty much have to when you spend all of your free time “testing recipes” (aka: eating).

Sure, anyone can mix some powder into some milk, and that makes a quick and healthy breakfast or post-workout-drink, but what about the rest of the time?  What about all that in-between time?  How can I make my inevitable snacking slightly less bad for me?

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Well, inspired by feeding the BF (or by parents who trick their children into eating healthy) the answer seemed easy: HIDE IT IN OTHER THINGS!  Just like hiding spinach in the BF’s pasta, I decided to hide my protein in granola bars.

The powder’s sweet vanilla flavor worked out quite well in these bars.  In fact, they were such a good match that I’m going to see what else I can mix this stuff into (if you don’t want the added protein, go ahead and make the recipe as follows just leaving the protein powder out!)

The only thing I might change for next time is to use less honey, the shake-mix itself has a little bit of sweetness to it (which is weird, because it has like one gram of sugar in it), so it doesn’t really need a whole half cup of honey.  You could also add dried fruit or chopped nuts to create pretty much any flavor you want!

Granola Bars

Makes 16 2-inch square bars

Printable Recipe

  • 1 ½ cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup crisp rice cereal
  • 1 Tablespoon protein powder (I used ViSalus Shake Mix)
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup honey (scant)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325°F and line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with foil or parchment.

Toss oats, cereal, protein powder  in a medium bowl.

In another bowl, heat peanut butter and honey at 50% power in the microwave until the peanut butter has melted.  Add vanilla extract and stir to combine.  Pour honey mixture over cereal mixture and stir to combine.

Once thoroughly moistened, stir in the chocolate chips.  Press into baking pan and bake for about 20 minutes for chewy bars or up to 30 minutes if you like them more crispy.

Cool completely before cutting.  (Spending a little time in the fridge may help with the cutting process as well)

*Can be stored 1 week at room temperature in an airtight container, longer in the fridge, or individually wrapped and frozen for future you to snack on.

 granola bar pin