Peanut Butter Protein Bars

I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve always been pretty athletic. I swam competitively from the second grade all the way through college and really excelled in the freestyle endurance races, although I was always trying to convince my coaches to let me swim butterfly because it was my favorite stroke. Here’s one of my favorite shots from college – my teammate Carmen and I had just blown the competition away at our conference swim meet in the mile, a 66 lap race, and I had just broken my first school record!

During grad school I participated on a Master’s team for awhile, but ended up getting a bit burnt out. I took a break for a few years when we moved to Boston, but I’m very happy to say that I’ve recently gotten back into it! I’m training for a triathlon that I’ll be doing with Shannon at the end of August and I’m really enjoying all my time in the water. I think it helps that I’m not just swimming, but also keeping things interesting by running, biking, and lifting to get ready for the race. Anyway, my favorite post-workout snack in college was a cinnamon raisin bagel covered in peanut butter, so when Apolinaras mentioned he wanted me to make some homemade protein bars, I knew I wanted to highlight these flavors.

Apolinaras forwarded me a recipe for homemade protein bars from one of his weightlifting buddies, which was very amusing because it contained tidbits like, “add/remove with a spoon if you messed up” and “throw in the protein power and mix it all around.” Very entertaining. Anyway, the bars contained just four ingredients – oat flour, milk, protein powder, and almond butter, so I decided to use these ingredients as a starting point and see if I could come up with something a bit tastier. I just mixed the oats, protein powder, peanut butter, milk, cinnamon, and raisins in the food processor and put the mixture into little mini muffin cups. The raisins provided a nice natural sweetness and I thought the bars tasted just as good as those that you can buy, but of course were much less expensive!

p.s. Apolinaras thought my shot of the bars with my swimming suit, googles, and cap was cheesy, but I think it’s cute!

Peanut Butter Protein Bars
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 cup oats
1/4 cup vanilla protein powder
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup golden raisins

Directions:
Place oats in a food processor and pulse until a fine powder forms. Add protein powder, peanut butter, milk, cinnamon, and raisins to the food processor and mix until a ball forms. Divide mixture and place into 12 mini muffin cups. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes and pop out of cups. Makes 12 bars.

Nutrition: 87.0 calories, 3.4g fat, 1.9g fiber, 4.2g protein per bar
Cost: $0.18 per bar

37 Responses to Peanut Butter Protein Bars

  1. I think that shot is cute too!! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with cheesy if it works :)

    And homemade protein bars are such a fabulous idea… especially since they involve peanut butter!!

  2. I never knew how much of an athlete you were! Most of my friends in college were on the swimteam…it takes a LOT of dedication. The shot of you is adorable!

    These protein bars sound super yummy…I’m going to have to make them when I start running again!

  3. These look great. I need to make protein bars this weekend. My stash is running low :)
    PS – that’s hilarious about the instructions for those protein bars. It reminds me of directions on men’s products, like shampoo. They try to make it sound so manly.
    Oh, and I love that last photo. Tell the hubs he’s been vetoed.
    Sorry you missed last night. :(

  4. love that shot of you in college :) and also the one with the suit/goggles! i’m totally going to make these… does A have any comments/opinions on what type of protein powder we should use?

  5. Wow didn’t know you were such an athelete! That’s awesome, that you are training for a triathlete. I wish you all the best! And yup gotta fuel up with those delicious protein bars!

  6. That’s so cool that you’re training with Shannon! And I love that shot of you in the pool – and of the bars near your swimming gear. The bars sound delicious! They make a great snack. Since I don’t have protein powder I am wondering how flax meal would work in place? I think it would be ok – they seem very adaptable.

  7. good for you for getting back into swimming, kerstin! i ran for the longest time and then stopped and i haven’t been able to jump back in quite yet. :)

  8. Such a beautiful picture! Your protein bars look like the perfect workout treat when you really need to rebuild your muscles–actually, when you just love peanut butter too :)

  9. I grew up swimming/racing too! Butterfly was also my favorite- such a powerful stroke. Free was my second favorite. Funny enough, I was best a back :) These sound great. I love simple bars. I am totally book marking this for my husband and I. I am going to try making them using almond milk too!

  10. I was thinking of you this morning! saw you in Costco mag!! recognized you right away, what a great recipe! :)

    another thing…I’m a swimmer too. Swam competitively in middle and high school, wish I continued into college but strayed off that path. now I’ve been swimming since I got pregnant with my son (6 years ago) and have done two triathlons in the last 4 years. Love it! you are going to do awesome, it’s harder for those who don’t swim, so you are way ahead of the game! running is my weak leg. looking forward to hearing about your experience!

    OH … and these bars look amazing!! I’m going to have to try them, they look like a great snack to have on hand for me and the kids.

  11. I think the photo is adorable!! It truly captures your emotions – beautiful. I love how you’ve put protein bar ingredients into mini-muffin cups!!! It’s such a great way to repackage something and make it more fun!

  12. I loved the picture of the win. Your protein bars sound great and I’m sure are a perfect fuel for athletes. Have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  13. I love that picture of you Kerstin! I was a four season athlete growing up – field hockey in the fall, then indoor track, outdoor track and then softball.

    Turns out after college when you get a desk job, you can’t just eat whatever you want anymore! I left school at 116 pounds and within 5 years I was up to 210!

    Thanks for sharing some of your history with us!

  14. I think it’s a cute photos. The protien bars look and sound very tasty – love the addition of peanut butter. Good luck with your triathalon.

  15. What a great picture of you at your swim meet! That’s awesome. Great memories!!

    And I love the photo with the goggles too! That’s a great idea to make and you are right, so much cheaper than buying something like that!

  16. Kerstin

    You know I used to swim a lot in the summers growing up; learned to appreciate competitive swimmers such as yourself and to me it is a beautiful sport; nothing beats the beauty of someone who knows how to swim well and the butterfly is the hardest stroke to master!
    These peanut bars look great, especially next to your goggles.

  17. I love the picture! Not cheesy at all! I love the recipe’s original format…but think I could follow yours a bit better 😉

    Congrats on all of your swimming accomplishments! I for one, think swimming is really, really hard! I commend any swimmers…or anyone who can go 2 laps without a break to pant!

  18. Wow, that’s great! I can’t wait for more tri updates. I really admire that you’re doing a tri. How is the biking? I think I’d probably have the most trouble with swimming.

    Mmm protein bars sound delicious.

  19. Way to go, swimming champion!!

    I also think that the picture of the swimming suit & the proteïn bars looks really cool!

    MMMMMMMM,…too!
    Thanks for sharing!!

  20. Thanks everyone – I’m having so much fun training and I really enjoyed reading about all of your athletic skills :)

    Shannon – Here’s what A recommends :)
    Best whey protein isolate (means has no carbs, just pure protein, great choice for lactose intolerant) http://www.muscleandstrength.com/store/muscle-gauge-whey-protein-isolate.html
    Strawberry and wildberry are my favorites. They do have unflavored and vanilla. 5LB is what I get. Fantastic for bike rides and pre-cardio to avoid getting catabolic. Very quick absorption in the digestive track.

    Reeni – Yes, I think flax would work too. I’m excited to try some different flavor combos!

    Natalie – That’s so cool, good luck with your training and I hope you blog about it! My secret goal is to run a half at some point :)

    Monica – Haha, yes, I agree :)

    Emily – The biking is ok but my back hurts after an hour so I’m trying to strengthen my core!

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