Bar None: Snack Better with These Protein-Rich Recipes

Do you want to know the best thing about making your own snack bars? You know exactly what ingredients you put in them. You also know just how healthy you can make them, because — let’s be honest — you know what you or your kids will eat.

These recipes raise the bar on healthy without skimping on the happy. Each one is packed with protein-rich, energy-boosting nuts and seeds. Bonus: You’ll pocket some of that cash you’ve been using on those store-bought varieties.

Triple-Berry Cereal Bars (pictured at top)

Makes 6

For the filling

1/2 cup dried berries, such as cherries, strawberries and blueberries, soaked in 1/4 cup boiling water

For the gluten-free flour blend

3 cups (435 grams) white rice flour

1 1/2 cups (187 grams) tapioca flour

3/4 cup (123 grams) potato starch

1 tablespoon (8 grams) xanthan gum

1 1/2 teaspoons (5 grams) salt

For the bars

1/2 cup gluten-free oat flour

1/2 cup gluten-free flour blend (recipe above), plus more for sprinkling

2 tablespoons flax seed meal, plus more for sprinkling

2 tablespoons gluten-free old-fashioned rolled oats

2 1/2 tablespoons maple sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 large egg white lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water, for the egg wash

Directions:

Make the flour blend: In a large bowl, whisk together the rice flour, tapioca flour, potato starch, xanthan gum and salt.

Make the bars: In a food processor, pulse together the oat flour, flour blend, flax seed meal, oats, maple sugar, salt and cinnamon. Add the butter and vanilla; pulse into coarse crumbs. Pulsing, stream in 5 tablespoons water until the dough comes together. Cut the dough in half and place each half in a piece of plastic wrap, pressing down gently to flatten. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

Make the filling: Meanwhile, drain the soaked dried fruit, reserving the liquid. Place the fruit in a blender or food processor. Working with the motor running, add the liquid, a little at a time, until a thick mixture forms.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Working with one dough at a time on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper, roll out to form a rectangle, about 4 by 12 inches and 1/4 inch thick; trim the edges.

Leaving a 1/2-inch border and working lengthwise, top the center with half of the fruit filling mixture. Fold over half of the dough to cover most of the filling, brush the edge with the egg wash and fold over the remaining half of dough, pressing down gently, to seal completely.

Gently flip the filled dough over, brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with flax seed meal; cut into 3 bars and refrigerate. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake until lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes; let cool on a wire rack.

Apple Pie Super Protein Bars

Makes 12

Ingredients:

1 cup chopped raw whole almonds

1 cup chopped raw whole walnuts

1 cup chopped dried apples

1/2 cup blanched sliced almonds

1/4 cup flax seed meal

1/4 cup millet puffs

2 tablespoons raw hemp seeds

1 tablespoon raw organic rice protein powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup brown rice syrup

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and grease an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with gluten-free cooking spray. Line the pan with overhanging parchment paper to easily remove the bars.

Add the chopped almonds, walnuts, apples, sliced almonds, flax seed meal, millet puffs, hemp seeds, rice protein powder, cinnamon, salt, brown rice syrup and maple syrup to a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine and evenly coat. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and, using a greased piece of parchment paper, press down firmly to spread evenly. Bake for 12 minutes; let cool completely.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Remove from the pan and cut evenly into 12 bars. Place, gooey-side up, on a wire rack set over a parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Bake until almost dry to the touch, about 15 minutes.

Almond Pretzel Snack Bars

Makes 6

Ingredients:

1 cup gluten-free old-fashioned oats

1 cup gluten-free brown rice cereal

1/2 cup chopped raw almonds

1/2 cup chopped raw cashews

1/2 cup gluten-free pretzel sticks

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1/3 cup creamy almond butter

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and grease a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan with gluten-free cooking spray. Line the pan with overhanging parchment paper to easily remove the bars.

In a large bowl, toss together the oats, rice cereal, almonds, cashews, pretzel sticks and salt.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over low heat, combine the maple syrup and almond butter. Add to the oat mixture and toss to evenly coat. Transfer to the prepared pan and, using a greased piece of parchment paper, press down firmly to spread evenly. Bake for 12 minutes; let completely cool.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Remove from the pan and cut evenly into 6 bars. Place, gooey-side up, on a wire rack set over a parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Bake until almost dry to the touch, about 15 minutes.

Coconut-Pecan Sweet & Salty Bars

Makes 6

Ingredients:

3/4 cup sliced raw almonds

3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup coarsely chopped raw pecans

1/3 cup gluten-free rice cereal

1/4 cup brown rice syrup

2 tablespoons molasses

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and grease a 10-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan with gluten-free cooking spray. Line the pan with overhanging parchment paper to easily remove the bars. Add the sliced almonds, coconut, chopped pecan, rice cereal, brown rice syrup, molasses, salt and cinnamon to a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine and evenly coat.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and, using a greased piece of parchment paper, press down firmly to spread evenly. Bake for 12 minutes; let completely cool.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Remove from the pan and cut evenly into 6 bars. Place, gooey-side up, on a wire rack set over a parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Bake until almost dry to the touch, about 15 minutes.

Brownie-Maca Energy Bars

Makes 6

Ingredients:

1 cup packed soft whole dates, such as Deglet, pitted

1/2 cup raw almonds

1/2 cup raw walnuts

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoons raw hemp seeds

2 tablespoons maca powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons water

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Melted dark chocolate, for drizzling, optional

Chestnut flakes, for sprinkling, optional

Directions:

Line a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan with overhanging parchment paper to easily remove the bars. In a food processor, pulse together the dates, almonds, walnuts, cocoa powder, hemp seeds, maca powder, salt and water until the mixture starts to clump together. Pulse in the chocolate chips.

Transfer to the prepared pan and, using a greased piece of parchment paper, press down firmly to spread evenly. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes; cut into 6 bars. Drizzle with chocolate and sprinkle with chestnut flakes, if using.

Related Links:

Silvana Nardone is the author of the Silvana’s Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Kitchen: Timeless Favorites Transformed.

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