Recipes for energy bars with costly ingredients are a pet peeve of mine, and I thought I could do better making my own. These delicious 5-ingredient bars are a less-expensive alternative, and they are higher in protein than many bars made with whole foods only. Each portion provides 10 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, and a serving of whole grains. Have a peanut butter cereal bar for a snack or as part of a balanced meal. See the serving suggestion at the end of this post. Enjoy!
To keep this recipe cost-effective, I use store-brands, with the exception of the maple syrup, whenever possible. Use whatever maple syrup you have on hand. Honey is a suitable substitution.
Any nut butter will do, but store-brand peanut butter is probably the least expensive by far. The chunky kind provides extra crunch. Add 1/3 cup chopped peanuts if you only have smooth peanut butter in the house and you want a crunchier bar.
You can use sweetened cranberries or raisins or a combination of the two, or any other dried fruit. However, store-brand raisins are likely to be cheaper, and they don’t contain added sugar.
If you substitute a higher-fiber whole grain ready-to-eat cereal for what I use, the cost may go up, and it could increase the calorie count.
Need a chocolate fix? Toss 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips into the bar mixture. Using mini chips better distributes the chocolate flavor, so you use less and it costs less!
No-Bake Peanut Butter Cereal Bars
Makes 12 servings.
1 1/2 cups crunchy peanut butter (use natural to reduce added sugar)
1/2 cup raisins
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 cups old fashion oatmeal, uncooked
2 cups plain Cheerios or store-brand equivalent
Coat a 8″ x 8″ baking pan with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients.
Press the bar mixture evenly into the pan.
Refrigerate for 2 hours. Cut into 12 squares. Keep refrigerated.
302 calories; 17 grams fat (3 grams saturated fat); 0 cholesterol; 191 milligrams sodium; 31 grams carbohydrate; 5 grams fiber; 10 grams protein.
Serving suggestion: Pair with eight ounces of milk and a banana to include a serving of fruit, dairy, and whole grains, as well as 20 grams of protein, the minimum amount of protein you should have at every meal.