Fruit & Nut Oatmeal Protein Bars


This post has been months and months in the making, so I’m really excited that I can finally post it!  =) The motivation for trying to make homemade bars came from trying many, many ready-made ones and finding them too high in calories, too sweet for my taste, not enough protein, or just disliking the taste and consistency.  I’ve been playing with the proportions for months trying to get it to where I can load in as many things as possible and still have it taste good- and finally reached the point where I like them!  So far, I have been making them every two weeks and eating 1-2 bars a day to either replace a meal, or to supplement a really light meal.

Below is the recipe I finally settled on, including the reasons why I used the ingredients I did, and also the nutrition information (calculated using SparkRecipes).  The nutrition facts may vary depending on what ingredients you use (brand of protein powder, mix-ins, etc.).

Ingredients

2 cups rolled oats (old-fashioned)
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup wheat germ
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon, ground
1/4 tsp nutmeg, grated
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 cup ground flax seeds
2 cups whey protein powder (should be low in sugars/carbs, I used Max Muscle MaxPro)
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp molasses
2 cups unsweetened applesauce
5 cups of mix-ins, cut into raisin-size pieces (I used 1/4 cup each of almonds, cashews, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, dates, figs, raisins, craisins, dried apricots)

Directions

  1. In dry non-stick pan, toast oats for 5 min on medium heat till they turn very light brown.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients (except mix-ins).
  3. In a different bowl, whisk together all of the wet ingredients.
  4. Once both dry and wet are mixed separately, add the wet to the dry and whisk until well mixed.
  5. Stir in the mix ins.
  6. Line a 9 in x 13 in glass baking pan with parchment paper.  Put the mix into the pan and press firmly.
  7. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and cut up into bars while they are still warm. Let them cool in the pan.  Then transfer to airtight container / wrap in Saran wrap.  Mine stayed good about 2 weeks.

Ingredient Rationale

Below is a summary of why I included each of the ingredients, largely for heart health, dieting help, and vitamin/mineral content.  This is based on miscellaneous information I have read over the years, but I’m not sure how scientifically-proven they are.

  • Rolled oats- contains fiber, thiamin, iron, antioxidants
  • Whole wheat pastry flour- helps bind the bars
  • Wheat germ- contains fiber, vitamin E, folic acid, phosphorus, thiamin, zinc, magnesium
  • Salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and vanilla extract- for flavor
  • Flax seeds- contains omega-3 fatty acids (good for the heart), antioxidants, lignans, and fiber
  • Protein powder- protein (I used MaxPro, which has 30 g of whey protein, 4 g carbohydrates, and <1 g sugar per 35 g serving)
  • Honey and molasses- used instead of sugar since they are not refined, contains minerals
  • Unsweetened applesauce- to bind bars without adding extra sugar or oil
  • Almonds, cashews, walnuts- contains protein, omega-3 fatty acids, manganese, vitamin E, magnesium, riboflavin, phosphorus, and copper
  • Pumpkin seeds- contains protein, magnesium, manganese, copper, phosphorus, iron, and zinc
  • Sunflower seeds- contains vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, copper, selenium, phosphorus, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, and folic acid
  • Dates- contains natural sugar, potassium, fiber, iron
  • Figs- fiber, potassium, manganese
  • Raisins- contains natural sugar and minerals
  • Crasins- contain vitamin C, manganese, fiber, vitamin E, vitamin K, and phytonutrients
  • Apricots- contains vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, potassium, carotenoids, and lycopene
Nutrition Information
This is the nutrition information that SparkRecipes provided when I input the ingredients and based on the recipe yielding 24 bars.  This will change if you have more/less bars, or if you change the mix-ins.
  • Calories- 204
  • Protein- 11.8 g
  • Total fat- 5.0 g (saturated-0.7 g, polyunsaturated- 2.3 g, monounsaturated- 1.2 g)
  • Sodium- 71 mg
  • Potassium- 209 mg
  • Total carbohydrates- 32 g (dietary fiber- 4.3 g, sugars- 15.9 g)

The percentages below are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

  • Manganese- 41.9%
  • Iron- 8.7%
  • Phosphorus- 7.6%
  • Copper- 7.4%
  • Selenium- 7.4%
  • Thiamin- 7.2%
  • Magnesium- 7.1%
  • Zinc- 5.9%
  • Vitamin E- 5.6%
  • Vitamin B6- 5.6%
  • Folate- 5.0%
  • Niacin- 3.5%
  • Riboflavin- 3.1%
  • Calcium- 2.9%
  • Pantothenic acid- 2.9%
  • Vitamin A- 1.5%
  • Vitamin C- 0.7%
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