Today is “Eat What You Want Day” so what I am going to share on my blog is a really cool recipe for Protein Bars  which are so easy to make, absolutely delicious healthy snack. It is even better the day after too as the [amazon_textlink asin=’B004XJ7EZ8′ text=’hemp seeds ‘ template=’ProductLink’ store=’wwwlovetobake-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’10924499-3811-11e7-95b6-db58036316eb’]still retain their crunch but have slightly softened.

Inspiration hit me yesterday afternoon so I set about creating a protein bar. After school the children decide to eat the whole punnet of strawberries which I had opened this morning to make my smoothie from. As they had eaten all of the strawberries and I didn’t have time to go to the shops for more I decide to make a protein bar – intending to eat it at breakfast time or whenever I fancied a snack. Something to provide me with all the nutrients I needed in one hit and take away my craving for anything else, for example, chocolate, crisps etc. I wanted to make these as healthy as possible so with that in mind I set to creating something in the kitchen.

[lt_recipe name=”Protein Bars” servings=”16″ prep_time=”10M” cook_time=”20M” total_time=”30M” difficulty=”Intermediate” print=”yes” summary=”Nutritionally, one slice contains 114 calories, 6.3g total fat (8% daily total fat), 13.7g total carbohydrate (5% daily total carbohydrate), 1.8g fibre (7% daily fibre) (based on a 2000 calorie diet).” image=”” ingredients=”2 oz coconut oil;3 tbsp honey;5 oz porridge oats;1 oz cocoa;1 oz chopped walnuts;1 oz hemp seeds;1 oz crystallised ginger (chopped);1/2 tsp cinnamon;1 medium banana (mashed)” ]Preheat the oven to gas 4.;Line a 8 inch rectangular baking tray.;In a pan weigh out the honey and coconut oil.;Melt them together before adding the other ingredients.;Transfer to the tray and press the mixture into the tin.;Bake for 20 – 30 minutes.;Allow to cool.[/lt_recipe]

In a pan. I melted some [amazon_textlink asin=’B00SNGY12G’ text=’coconut oil ‘ template=’ProductLink’ store=’wwwlovetobake-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’29963a3c-3811-11e7-8bc9-9f0d7c8892bc’]with honey. I was going to try and make the bar gluten free, dairy free and egg free. This is the first time I have cooked with coconut oil as normally it is used by my daughter as a moisturiser.

Once melted, I added some [amazon_textlink asin=’B007CX5ZCQ’ text=’porridge oats ‘ template=’ProductLink’ store=’wwwlovetobake-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’40af4fdc-3811-11e7-862c-9b7b7252d1f4′]as these are gluten free and have a low Glycemic Index (GI) which means they are slow energy releasing ingredients which is great if you are diabetic. Also eating oats always fills you up so that hopefully you will not want to eat too much. (although it is eat what you want day).

Next I added some cocoa, cinnamon, crystallised ginger , walnuts, hemp seeds and a banana. I added all these yummy ingredients as they are some of my favourite foodstuffs which I don’t use enough when baking – mainly because the children don’t like them – but these protein bars were for me to enjoy.

I mixed everything together very roughly and baked it for about 20 minutes at Gas 4. Once baked and cooled my husband and myself had a taste. The walnuts and hemp seeds add crunch to the bar. The bar was really sweet due to the banana and [amazon_textlink asin=’B004HAQE4A’ text=’honey’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’wwwlovetobake-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’59420e27-3811-11e7-a56a-7d3fbee8a780′]. No other sugar was added in the recipe except for what was present in the honey, banana and crystallised ginger, which I am really pleased about. The bar held together so well and tasted really spicy. The ginger and cinnamon combined deliciously with the banana. Very good combination which can be altered so easily. I am already thinking of different ingredients I can use as flavourings to make other bars similar to this one.

These bars are great for an energy boost when you are on the run, busy at work, after exercising, breakfast etc. There are so many uses for them and they are so easy to make a batch and store in an airtight container.

These are a great vegetarian, healthy snack as the hemp seeds and walnuts are a great source of protein. They are gluten free as no flour was used in the recipe. No egg was added or dairy so they are suitable for an egg free and dairy free diet. I cannot praise these bars enough.

From this information it can be seen that the sugar, fat, calories, cholesterol and sodium content are reasonably low whereas the protein, vitamins, minerals and fibre content are really good. The only vitamin I would try to introduce in the recipe would be vitamin B-12  as I know personally how important this vitamin is due to being deficient in it myself.  I am now on the search for a good vegetarian source of this vitamin that I can add to the recipe that I will eat. I don’t think I would be able to increase the vitamin b-12 content unless I included eggs in the recipe, which would make the recipe not egg free, so maybe I will have to go down that route  but then that will require the addition of flour and then the recipe would not be gluten free unless I used gluten free flour.  There is a lot to think about with this recipe.

These healthy snack bars are a really good addition to any diet, so easy to make and very tasty. This is a recipe which can be changed to suit lots of different tastes and is so easy mess about with and is something I will continue to mess around with in the future.