Monthly Archives: November 2016

Peanut Butter Cereal Bars

These No-Bake Peanut Butter Cereal Bars are ready in less than 5 minutes.

Peanut Butter Cereal Bars are easy to make and require no baking.

I love energy bars, but most store-bought varieties are too expensive for me, too sweet, or they leave an aftertaste. I thought I could do better, and I came up with these delicious no-bake Peanut Butter Cereal Bars that are packed with protein and fiber.

No-Bake Healthy Snacks that are Budget-Friendly

These bars are delicious, and one of the best parts is that you don’t have to bake them!  Peanut butter and maple syrup (or honey) hold the bars together and makes them moist and chewy.

I wanted this recipe to be cost-effective and I chose peanut butter because it’s the least expensive type of nut butter.

Chunky peanut butter provides extra crunch in this recipe. If you don’t have chunky peanut butter, use creamy and add 1/3 cup chopped peanuts.


Honey is often less expensive than 100% pure maple syrup, but it’s not a vegan ingredient. Maple syrup works just as well as a sweetener and to hold the other ingredients together.

Raisins supply sweetness without added sugar, and they are likely to be the least costly dried fruit, and even less when you buy store brands.  (Learn how to cut back on sugar here.)

If you substitute a higher-fiber whole grain ready-to-eat cereal for Cheerios, the cost to make the peanut butter cereal bars may be higher, and the calorie count could increase.

How to Make Vegan Energy Bars

You have a choice to help hold these bars together: honey or maple syrup.  I don’t have a preference, but if you want a vegan version, use maple syrup.  Pure maple syrup can be pricey, and since you really don’t taste it in the recipe, use whatever brand you can afford.


Each bar supplies 10 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber! 

How to Make Nut-Free, Gluten-Free Energy Bars

Yes, the basis of these energy bars is peanut butter, but you can make them nut-free by using sunflower seed butter, soy nut butter, or sesame seed butter.

Cheerios are gluten-free.  Be sure to choose certified gluten-free oats to be sure that you are buying a gluten-free product.

Peanut Butter Cereal Bars have just five low-cost ingredients.

Peanut Butter Cereal Bars have just five relatively low-cost ingredients.

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cereal Bars

These delicious bars supply 10 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, use 5 ingredients and take 5 minutes to put together! 
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time49 mins
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: peanut butter cereal bars
Servings: 12
Calories: 302kcal
Author: ewardrd

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups crunchy peanut butter Use no added sugar peanut butter, if desired.
  • 1/2 cup California raisins
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 2 cups oats, uncooked
  • 2 cups plain Cheerios, or store-brand equivalent

Instructions

  • Coat a 8″ x 8″ baking pan with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
  • Combine all the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.
  • Press the bar mixture evenly into the pan. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
  • Cut into 12 squares. Keep refrigerated.

Notes

Nutrition Information: Per serving: 302 calories; 17 grams fat (3 grams saturated fat); 0 cholesterol; 191 milligrams sodium; 31 grams carbohydrate; 5 grams fiber; 10 grams protein.

Need a chocolate fix? Toss 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips into the bar mixture. Mini chips better distribute the chocolate flavor, so you use can use less of them! 

Gluten-free Peanut Butter Cereal Bars can also be vegan.

Use maple syrup instead of honey to make these gluten-free Peanut Butter Cereal Bars vegan.

Serving suggestion: Pair with eight ounces of dairy milk or a carton of Greek yogurt and a banana. You’ll get a serving each of fruit, dairy, and whole grains, as well as at least 20 grams of protein, the minimum amount of protein you should have at every meal.

pin for Peanut Butter Cereal Bars no bake

 

8 Easy to Make, Better Than Store-bought Foods

There are a few everyday foods I don’t buy anymore, including cranberry sauce, salad dressing, and almond butter, because they are easy to make at home, and they taste better.  On the flip side, there are several so-called convenience foods I can’t do without. I asked a few of my foodie friends about what they absolutely must make from scratch, as well as their “processed food” picks that get healthy meals on the table fast, and they served up these eight easy to make, better than store-bought foods!

Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN, Nutritioulicious

Must-have homemade food: Peanut sauce

Why: “Most packaged peanut sauces are really high in sodium and sugar, so I’d rather make my own using natural, unsweetened peanut butter and adding my own amount of sweetener. I also add other flavor boosters like freshly grated ginger and sriracha, which packaged peanut sauces don’t have. Give it a whirl in the blender or food processor and it’s easy as can be!”

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Favorite convenience food: Canned beans

Why: “I love adding beans to salads, pasta dishes, sauces, and grain side dishes, but I would not use them as frequently as I do if I had to soak and cook them on my own. Time is of the essence when I’m trying to get dinner on the table in my house! A lot of people are hesitant to buy canned beans because of the sodium content, so I recommend buying the no-salt-added canned beans if you can find them and always drain and rinse the beans before adding to a dish.”

Janice Newell Bissex, MS, RDN, JaniceCooks

Must-have homemade food: Sweet and Hearty Beef Stew

Why: “It tastes better than the canned kind, and it’s better for you. My beef stew has half the sodium, twice the protein, and four times the fiber and vitamin A as the canned variety. It takes just minutes to toss the ingredients into the slow cooker and a hearty, tasty dinner is ready to serve a few hours later.”

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Favorite convenience food: Canned pumpkin.

Why: “I tried cooking and mashing fresh pumpkin once and decided that it would be the last time. Canned pure pumpkin is so convenient and nutritious that I stock up every fall to be sure I can use it year round. I use it in muffins, pancakes, smoothies, even chili  and enchiladas! ”

Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, Nutrition Starring You

Must-have homemade food: Vegan ice cream

Why: “I don’t like the taste of store-bought vegan ice cream. It’s always high in added sugar and not nearly as high in protein as my version.”

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Favorite convenience food: Bagged salad.

Why: “I couldn’t live without pre-washed greens, especially the cabbage blends because they are super filling and don’t get soggy so you can enjoy them for several meals. (Close second: rotisserie chicken for fast, easy lunches and dinners.)”

Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD, Real Mom Nutrition

Must-have homemade food: Salad dressing

Why: “Once I started making my own salad dressing, it was impossible to go back to the gloppy bottled kind–especially the ones with preservatives and artificial dyes.”

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Need more salad dressing ideas? Here’s 50 of them.

Favorite convenience food: Jarred pasta sauce

Why: “You can’t beat the convenience of it, and jarred sauce plus frozen ravioli is a last resort meal that saves us from ordering pizza or getting other take-out food. Pair that combination with prewashed greens and dinner is ready in 15 minutes!”

Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, Amy Gorin Nutrition

Must-have homemade food: Almond Pistachio Cocoa Bites

Why: “Unlike a lot of store-bought versions of energy bites, balls, and bars, my recipe contains no added sugar. Plus, they’re delicious!”

almond-pistachio-cocoa-bites

Favorite convenience food: Frozen fruit

Why: “Unsweetened frozen fruit is great for when I don’t have fresh in the house. It’s also sometimes preferable. When I use it in smoothies, I don’t need to add ice. And when I heat it up and use it as a topping for a bowl of oatmeal or French toast, it creates a nice liquid that can replace other toppings like syrup or brown sugar.”

Elizabeth Shaw, MS, RD, Shaw’s Simple Swaps

Must-have homemade food: Jam

Why: “I love to make homemade jam not only because I can control the added sugar content, but also because I load it with wholesome, nutrient-rich ingredients, like omega-3 chia seeds, fiber-filled figs and other seasonal fresh fruit. The possibilities are endless!”

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Favorite convenience food: Whole grain bread

Why: “I can’t live without whole grain bread! Sure, I can make my own, but there’s nothing like a nice, fresh loaf of 100% whole grain bread with seeds from the store that you can simply take out of the bag and place in the toaster for a quick avocado toast lunch!”

Katie Sullivan Morford, MS, RD, Mom’s Kitchen Handbook

Must-have homemade food: Chocolate syrup

Why: “This beautifully glossy chocolate syrup is a tasty alternative to what you’ll find in the supermarket, products that often have artificial flavors, high fructose corn syrup, and mystery ingredients.”

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Favorite convenience food: Frozen fruits and vegetables (among so many others!).

Why: “A bag of frozen spinach within reach is a quick way to up the health benefits of everything from stews to smoothies, and frozen spinach is great in smoothies along with frozen fruit. The nutrient values of frozen fruits and vegetables stay largely intact when produce is put under the deep freeze.”

Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RDN 

Must-have homemade food: Granola

Why: “Most store-bought granola is loaded with added sugar and fat. My version has sugar and fat, too, but the fat is the heart-healthy unsaturated kind from nuts, and I add just enough pure maple syrup for a touch of sweetness.

Allspice or Chinese five spice powder provides added sweetness without sugar. For variety, I add 1/4 cup dried wild blueberries or unsweetened coconut during the last few minutes of baking. Add whatever you like to make it your own recipe.”

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Kathleen Zelman’s Granola

3 ½ cups old fashioned oats
2 cups finely chopped nuts of your choice (I love to mix pistachios, almonds, walnuts and pecans)
¼ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup pure maple syrup
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice Powder

Preheat oven to 325˚F. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients, stirring well to combine.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Transfer the granola to the pan and spread evenly. Bake for 30-40 minutes, turning once, or until golden brown. Higher heat burns the nuts.

Favorite convenience food: Canned petite diced tomatoes.

Why: “These little gems are the perfect addition to so many recipes. They add color, flavor, texture, fiber, and other nutrients. I put them in egg dishes, soups, sauces, stews, guacamole, chili, salsa, spaghetti sauce and anything with a red sauce. You can purchase them fire-roasted, with herbs and spices, and with no added salt.”

8 Easy to Make, Better Than Store-Bought Foods pinterest image

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