Healthy Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Brownie Protein Bars
I used to have this bad habit of never planning ahead. Especially when it came to food. My hunger would always catch me off guard and at the worst time, so I often made bad food choices. You know what I’m talking about! When the hunger strikes, that fatty, sugary chocolate chip muffin at the checkout counter looks better and better by the second.
Your eyes say, “YES YES YES,” while your body says, “NO NO NO!”
Impulse (and my greedy little eyes) usually always won me over, and my body just said, “TSK TSK TSK.”
And while I felt happy and satisfied for a full twenty minutes, I felt gross and unhealthy for the entire day. Finally, I became sick of that guilty feeling and started planning ahead. One of the biggest steps in my transition to healthy eating. Took me long enough! About one hundred muffins and my entire high school career later…
I started prepping for the day by always making sure I had a snack on hand for when I was hungry. Since I was in school, bars were the easiest foods to carry around. They aren’t bulky like a sandwich, bruisable like an apple, and highly perishable like yogurt. I started buying those horrifically processed protein bars thinking they were healthy. I saw “high protein” and “sugar free” and grabbed a couple right there. No, I didn’t check labels and ingredients back then, and I really regret doing so. Months later, I found out these bars were comprised of unhealthy fats (partially hydrogenated oils/trans fats), artificial sugar alcohols (which cause bloating and gas), and over a dozen ingredients that I had never heard of.
I turned to the all-natural Clif Builders bars. I was a girl obsessed, especially for the chocolate mint flavor. Mmmm. But, they were expensive (my campus food store sold them for $2.99 a piece!) and contained quite a bit of sugar. I then turned to PureFit Bars, Simply Bars and Organic Food Bar, however they are also pricey and I went through them way too quickly.
I gave up bars for a few months straight and I went through withdrawal really missed them. I really hated bringing apples around with me. People were probably wondering why my purse had a strange protrusion… plus, apples aren’t filling to me. I have a fast metabolism so an apple is like air. I began getting that, “Oh no, I have no healthy food!” freakout moments again. It was time to make some protein bars myself. I needed something that would keep me full for longer than two seconds (shame on you, apples) and was also healthy, tasty, and packed with nutrients, healthy fats, fiber and protein.
When I finally found a protein powder I liked, I was thrilled. Although it is slightly more expensive than whey, it is totally worth it. I mean, it’s chocolate flavored, so of course it’s worth a few extra bucks 😉
I decided to calculate the cost per bar since my budget is becoming more and more important to me (college life will do that to you). So here’s the recipe cost breakdown:
Peanut Butter = $1.11
Almond Milk = $0.38
Truvia = $1.26
Dark Cocoa Powder = $0.36
Gluten-Free Oats* = $0.89
Brown Rice Protein Powder = $7.17
Total Recipe Cost = $11.17
Cost per Bar = $1.39
^^ Wow! So much cheaper than all of the bars I’ve bought throughout the years!
*Note that I used Bob’s Red Mill certified gluten free oats which are much more expensive than regular oats. If not using GF oats, your recipe’s total price will be even lower 😀
So, what about the taste? What about the texture?
Taste? Excellent. Although they are not as sweet as those super processed ones I used to buy, they are sweet enough to satisfy those cravings at any time of day!
Texture? Amazing. Almost brownie-like, it tasted as if it were baked! These are fudgy, even straight out of the fridge. At room temperature, they are much softer and even more fudgy, but for some reason I prefer them on the cold side. All your preference, though.
At only seven ingredients and $1.39 a bar, I can tell these Healthy Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Brownie Protein Bars are going to be my new staple bars. These are the perfect snack, sans the guilty aftertaste. Enjoy!
^^ Does that look like a fudge brownie or what? Totally worth that arm workout, yes?
These bars were inspired by PowerBars’ Reduced Sugar Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars, so I thought I would do a little showdown regarding the ingredients, nutrition label and price.
PowerBar®, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Reduced Sugar:
Triscource Protein Blend (Whey Protein Isolate, Calcium Caseinate, Soy Protein Isolate), Maltitol Syrup*, Chocolate Flavored Coating (Fractionated Palm Kernel Oil, Maltitol*, Cocoa, Polydextrose, Sodium Caseinate, Soy Lecithin, Monoglycerides, Vanilla Extract, Sucralose**), Glycerine, Peanuts and Peanut Butter, Partially Defatted Peanut Flour, Peanut Oil, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Calcium Phosphate, Ascorbic Acid, Water, Almond Butter, Magnesium Oxide, Alpha Tocopherol Acetate, Sucralose, Natural Flavor, Biotin, Zinc Gluconate, Ferrous Fumurate, Niacinamide, Copper Gluconate, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine, Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Thiamin Mononitrate, Folic Acid, Cyanocobalamin.
*Artificially produced sweetener. Can cause bloating, gas and abdominal pain
**Another artificial manmade sweetener
Desserts with Benefits, Chocolate PB Fudge Brownie:
Almond Milk (Filtered Water, Almonds, Calcium Carbonate, Sea Salt, Locust Bean Gum, Sunflower Lecithin, Gellan Gum, Natural Flavor, D-Alpha-Tocopherol, Zinc Gluconate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Riboflavin, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D2), Chocolate Brown Rice Protein Powder (Whole Brown Rice Protein, Cocoa, Natural Flavor, Stevia, Xanthan Gum, Pectin), Peanut Butter, Oats, Truvia (Erythritol, Rebiana, Natural Flavors), Cocoa, Salt.
The Desserts with Benefits version has: less calories, less saturated fat, less sodium, less carbs, ZERO cholesterol, more fiber and more calcium.
PowerBar® cost per bar: $2.99
DWB’s cost per bar: $1.39
Final Verdict? Okay, we all know that I’m a little bias in this competition 😉 but I totally win ALL three categories, yes? The ingredients I use are 100% natural, tasty and healthy, my nutrition label beats the storebought bar in nearly every aspect, and, it’s cheaper!
Win win win.
Find the recipe in the DIY Protein Bars Cookbook!
With 48 dessert-like protein bar recipes, full-color pages and photos for every recipe, you’ll never think twice about buying protein bars from the store again. See this page for more information on the book, including the Table of Contents, some sneak peaks and sample images.
Get your copy from Amazon here!