Monday, February 4, 2013

Homemade Quinoa Protein Bars

Who knew there were all these different recipes for this amazing food called Quinoa.  The more I use it, the more I love it.  So why is Quinoa so amazing you might ask?? It is very high in protein and has every one of the nine essential amino acids  These nine amino acids are the ones that your body cannot synthesize in quantities sufficient to sustain good health, so they need to come from food sources. Quinoa is the only plant-based protein to contain all 9 essential amino acids.  Many people think that quinoa is a type of grain, but its not.  Quinoa is actually the seed of a plant related to spinach.  Huh?  Who knew??  Another piece of information I found was Quinoa is grown in the mountains of Ecuador and was once called "the gold of the Inca's" because of how it increased stamina.  Little did the Inca's know "the gold" was also jam packed full of nutrients and amino acids. 

So if you haven't tried Quinoa yet, I would highly recommend it.  If you can cook rice, you can cook quinoa.  The proportions are the same: two part liquid to one part quinoa.  Bring water to a boil and add quinoa.  The only difference is time (which is another thing I love), quinoa only needs to simmer for 15-20 minutes.  You can substitute quinoa in any recipe that would use rice.

Okay, Okay enough about Quinoa, lets get to a new recipe I tried today.  I received this recipe from a friend and I am so thankful she shared it with me because these bars were delicious. Easy to make, packed with protein and nutrition, and perfect for our mid-morning snack. 


2 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 rolled oats
1 banana
1 egg
1/2 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut*
1/2 cup chocolate chunks or go for a healthier variety and use 1/2 cup dates, raisins, or nuts**

1. Mix cooked quinoa, peanut butter, honey, and sea salt well
2. Add in oats, banana, egg, coconut, and chocolate/dates/raisins/nuts
3. Mix well and spread out mixture on parchment paper lined pan
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes

This is what the bars looked like after taking them out of the oven
(well with the exception of what we ate)

*If you don't like coconut (which I personally love but could not taste it in this recipe) you could use 1/4 cup ground flax seed and 1/4 cup wheat bran as a substitute

**You can use anything you like.  The original recipe calls for chocolate chunks but I wanted to make a healthier variety so I choose raisins (my kids love raisins and I wanted this to be a snack for all of us).  

ENJOY - these are sure to become a family favorite.  
I have already written out the recipe card and it is now in our recipe box!!!!

Are you looking to eat good food but also want it to be healthy food?

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