When you’re craving a less-than-healthy snack, look to these Quinoa Protein Bars instead. They’re a great way to satisfy your cravings while still maintaining a healthy diet. This delectable snack combines quinoa and dark chocolate, as well as other superfoods, to create a tasty treat. It’s a perfect snack for before or after a workout, and it definitely satisfies when that afternoon sweet-tooth craving hits.
If you’re on a gluten-free diet, you’ll especially love these Quinoa Protein Bars. Having quick-and-easy access to a healthy treat that also happens to be gluten-free is like hitting the jackpot! Unlike store-bought gluten-free snacks that are packed full of refined sugar, all the sugars in this tasty treat are naturally occurring from the dates and raw honey.
Quinoa is one of the most versatile superfoods you can eat. Superfoods are natural, unprocessed foods that are low in calories and high in nutrients. They help the body fight disease and provide it with what it needs to be in excellent health.
As compared to other grains, quinoa contains higher-than-average levels of nutrients. It’s an excellent source of fiber, and it also happens to be a complete protein. That means it contains all the essential amino acids your body needs (just like meat), so it’s a great plant-based way to get your protein. Its also full of antioxidants and minerals, like manganese, folate, iron, and zinc.
Luckily, quinoa is super easy to cook, too (and we have a few secrets for making the perfect light and fluffy quinoa). Once you let it cool, you can easily throw together the remaining ingredients and whip up a batch of these tasty, nutritious Quinoa Protein Bites. You can store them for several days, so enjoy these as a grab-and-go snack all week long!
Have Some Fun with this Recipe!
To create a little variety or to accommodate any food allergies, sunflower butter and pumpkin seeds are great alternatives to peanut and almond butters. You can make your own alternative nut butter, or check out these seven healthy nut butter brands if you want a store-bought option. As far as other modifications go, feel free to add the chocolate chips directly to the mixture instead of melting them and drizzling on top. Or, omit the chocolate altogether if you’re trying to watch your sugar intake.
Speaking of sugar, you’ll love the way the dates keep the bars moist without providing a distinct flavor. They’re also a healthy, naturally occurring sugar source. They’ll give you a burst of energy without creating a crash later because they’re considered low on the glycemic index.
TIP: Make this recipe into 20 Quinoa Protein Bites, and you’ve got a snack that’s under 100 calories! For more low-calorie snacks, check out these 100-calorie gluten-free snacks, or curb your cravings with one of these foods.
Yields: 8 bars | serving size: 1 bar | Calories: 376 | Total Fat: 13 g | Saturated Fats: 3 g | Trans Fats: 0 g | Cholesterol: 0 mg | Sodium: 3 mg | Carbohydrates: 63 g | Dietary fiber: 10 g | Sugars: 33 g | Protein: 14 g | SmartPoints (Freestyle): 17 |
- 1/3 cup quinoa, pre-rinsed
- 2/3 cup water
- 16 whole (pitted) dates, no sugar added
- 1/2 cup raw almonds with skin
- 1/3 cup natural crunchy peanut butter (almond butter is an option)
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
- Add quinoa and water to a small sauce, cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook approximately 15 minutes or until all water has been absorbed. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Using a food processor, or high powered blender, add dates and pulse until they form a ball. Remove dates and place in a medium mixing bowl. Add almonds to the food processor and pulse until finely minced. Be careful not to turn the almonds into mill.
- Add dates, almonds, peanut butter, and chilled quinoa to the food processor and pulse until ingredients are well combined. Return ingredients to the mixing bowl, shape into six 2-inch x 1-inch bars, about 1-inch thick.
- In a small saucepan, add chocolate chips and honey, melt over low heat or in a double-boiler. Evenly spread a thin layer of chocolate over the top of each protein bar, return to the refrigerator and allow chocolate to harden. Bars can be stored in an airtight container for several days.
- Optional, omit the honey and add chocolate chips to the food processor when adding the quinoa.
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