healthy choco-nana protein muffins


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Since I’ve been working on my fitness lately, I’ve been trying to work more nutritious items into my life.  So I’ve been reworking some recipes that would normally cause me to feel guilt, and finding a way to make myself feel less guilty after eating them.  So, I got some vanilla protein powder, and I’ve been pretty much putting it into everything with reckless abandon.  You know, for science.

It’s basically the recipe-equivalent of throwing everything against the wall and “seeing what sticks,” so to speak.  I’ve been mixing it with granola bars, shakes, my morning oatmeal, and even rice krispy treats.  Seriously.

So far, pretty much everything has been a success.

So when I saw these “skinny chocolate banana muffins” on Sally’s Baking Addiction, clearly my first thought was to add protein (since they’re already “skinny,” part of the work has already been done for me!

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Of course I modified the recipe a bit, I was worried that the extra protein from the protein powder would make them gummy or dry.  If you’ve ever eaten a packaged protein snack, you probably know exactly what texture I’m talking about here.  I was torn between using some cake flour or additional oil (since the oil would add fat), but ended up going with a little bit of vegetable oil, which should help with both the crumb and the density of the finished product.

I swear you wouldn’t even know that these were healthy.  I took the leftovers to work and left them in the break room for my unsuspecting coworkers…  and I waited.  Everyone was raving about how good the muffins were, none the wiser that they were actually “healthy*”

*Note, by “healthy” I mean “healthier than your average muffin”

Chocolate Banana Protein Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

Printable Recipe

  • 3 large over-ripe bananas
  • 2 scoops protein powder (I used vanilla ViShake mix)
  • ⅔ granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 Tablespoons applesauce
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup + ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, separated

1. Preheat oven to 375F and line a muffin tin with liners.

2. In a medium bowl whisk the flour, protein powder, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and baking powder; set aside.

3. In a large bowl, mash the bananas with sugar and applesauce until smooth.  Stir in egg and vanilla. Fold in dry ingredients, being careful not to overmix.  When the batter is almost fully mixed, fold in 1 cup of chocolate chips.

4. Divide batter evenly between 12 muffin cups, filling them almost to the top.  Sprinkle with additional ½ cup of chocolate chips (if desired).  Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean with just a few crumbs sticking to it.

5.  When done baking, cool in pan 5 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

[ Recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction ]
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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.

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