No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Protein Bars

I’m always on the hunt for simple, healthy snack ideas. Whether for that inevitable hunger during the long gap between lunch and dinner or early hunger before a morning workout, I need something small, simple & balanced to give me enough fuel to get through to the next meal while performing well and avoiding getting too hungry. Over-hungry Jeanne has a history of loosing her cool at times and tending to grab anything in sight to make that discomfort stop A.S.A.P. (cough...peanut butter...cough, ahem!) Side note: Is there really anything wrong with being hungry for a short period of time? How hungry is too hungry? More thoughts on that from me later, but I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. 

I don’t know about you guys, but somehow I often have quite a few very ripe bananas sitting on my counter and am left wondering how to use them. The easy route is freezing and using them to sweeten smoothies. However, I had some extra time and was feeling creative over the weekend, so I decided to whip up these bars! I had to tweak the recipe a few times before I got it right, but I think I got it really right! So right the hubby promptly ate four of these babies as soon as they were cut and put on a plate. :D 

The banana and applesauce provides a natural sweetness to the recipe, eliminating the need for any added sugar. All the carbohydrates are from minimally processed sources including the fruit, oat flour, rolled oats. I add protein in the form of whey protein powder, hemp hearts and chia seeds for that satisfaction factor and to support muscle recovery and repair process along with a plethora of other incredible processes in our bodies that require protein. Hemp heartschia seeds, and almond flour (just plain old ground almonds, folks!) also supply those amazing, Omega-3 fatty acids, which support healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels, reduce inflammation (think arthritis and other inflammatory diseases like lupus), improve mood and many other functions (hello beautiful nails, skin and hair)! In addition to regularly taking a fish oil supplement, I always recommend getting more Omega-3's in your diet wherever you can. 

If you're wondering why I used peanut flour instead of the real deal, the simple answer is balance. The peanut flour is simply peanuts with most of the fat (peanut oil) removed. It's important to note that I am in NO way anti-fat. I have a deep, long, lasting love affair with regular old peanut butter. I love every type of nut out there. However, when I'm creating meals or snacks, I try to keep balance and portions in mind. With a portion of this recipe (for me) being 1/16th of the pan, I'd get about one serving of healthy fat from the cacao nibs, chia seeds & hemp hearts that square contains, so no need to double up on the fat by adding more peanut butter. I just add the peanut flour to get all that delicious peanut flavor and higher protein content while letting the other ingredients play the starring role in the healthy fat department. Curious about what serving sizes are appropriate for you? Shoot me a note and ask!

Sadly, Tru-Nut has stopped making this peanut flour and now only offers blends with added sugar and salt. However, Crazy Richards is keeping it clean with 100% pure peanut powder, so pick some up and try it out! 

These no bake chocolate peanut butter banana protein bars are really easy to throw together, and best of all, you don’t even need to turn on the oven! Just combine ingredients in a food processor (or use a good ‘ol wooden spoon and some elbow grease), press into a pan and freeze for about 30 minutes before cutting into squares and digging in. 

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Protein Bars

Ingredients

Toppings: 

Directions:

  • Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper.
  • In a small bowl, combine peanut flour & 2 Tbsp water to make a paste.
  • Combine all ingredients including the peanut butter paste in the bowl of a food processor using dough blade.
  • Turn food processor to “on”. The dough will look pretty dry at first, but will soften after about 1 min. Continue to mix until all ingredients are throughly combined.
  • Using a sturdy spoon or spatula, transfer batter to prepared pan. 
  • Use spatula, back of a large spoon, or some clean hands to press the batter firmly into an even thickness across the pan. 
  • Sprinkle the top of the bars with additional cacao nibs & hemp hearts or other nut/seed of your choice.
  • Place pan in freezer for 30 minutes or until hardened enough to cut. 
  • Remove from freezer and cut into even squares. Store bars in the fridge. You can also store them in the freezer and just pop one in your lunch bag to let them thaw until you’re ready to enjoy! 

What are some of your favorite homemade snacks? Feel free to make requests for healthier versions of your go-to recipes and I’ll happily get to experimenting on your behalf! If you try this out or have any special requests, use #jeannereillyrd to show me your handiwork! 

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