Healthy Oatmeal Raisin Bars combine simple ingredients like oats, raisins, nut butter, protein powder, and just a tablespoon of honey for a quick and healthy no bake bar. Full of complex carbs, protein, fiber, and healthy fats, they make a quick and easy mid-day snack, pre or post workout snack, or dessert everyone will love!
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No bake bars!! We’ve been on a snacking kick over here and since Austin summers are no joke, all the no bake snacks are happening. We can always get down on some homemade protein snacks.
And making protein bars at home is so much better for you then the store bought versions.
These oatmeal protein bars are chewy, a little sweet, and filling. They remind me of an oatmeal raisin cookie bar, but so much better for you. Made with rolled oats, protein powder, cashew butter, raisins, cinnamon, and just a tablespoon of honey.
I love adding protein powders to homemade bars, energy balls, muffins, and desserts. It’s a great way to increase the nutritional content and add a little protein. Most people could use a little more protein in their diets and protein powder is an easy way to do it.
I recently decided to add back in whey protein to my diet and it’s been a success. I’m loving NOW Sports Vanilla Whey Protein Isolate – it dissolves well, has a great flavor, and one scoop has 25 grams of protein. It adds a touch of sweetness to this recipe while adding in essential amino acids and protein for a well balanced snack.
Oatmeal raisin bars with protein
Just 8 ingredients and only 10 minutes to make these oatmeal raisin protein bars! Full of complex carbs, protein, fiber, and healthy fats, they make a quick and easy mid-day snack, pre or post workout snack, or even dessert everyone will love!
Here is what you need:
- rolled oats
- vanilla whey protein powder
- cashew butter – make sure it is runny and drippy
- almond milk
- sea salt
It really can’t be any easier to make these healthy oatmeal raisin bars. Simply add all your ingredients into a medium size mixing bowl and mix well to combine. You can either use a spatula or your hands. The batter will be a little sticky, but not to sticky. If it feels too wet, add a little more protein powder or oats. If it feels too dry, add a little more almond milk.
Once it is combined, press it into an 8×8 baking dish. I like to line my dish with parchment paper so they don’t stick. Pop them in the fridge to let set for 30 minutes. Finally, cut them up and enjoy!
How to store oatmeal protein bars
To keep fresh, store bars in a tightly sealed dish or bag in the fridge for up to a week. They can also be frozen for up to 6 months – just let defrost when you want one.
Whey concentrate vs whey isolate
Whey protein is derived from milk during cheese and yogurt making – it is the liquid part that separates from the fatty part. It also contains all 9 essential amino acids and thus considered a complete protein. There are 20 amino acids and 9 of them our body can’t make on its own and we must get from food, making them essential. Whey doesn’t taste like much on its own, which is why it is usually flavored in protein powders.
While you may think whey protein is whey protein, but there are different kinds and a difference between whey concentrate protein and whey isolate protein. Isolate is more processed, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
Whey concentrate is about 80% protein and the rest being fats and carbs. Whey isolate is more processed, removing more of the fats and carbs, containing about 90% of protein. It also has more of the lactate removed, which can make it easier to digest for some.
Both forms have similar health benefits though – they contain all 9 essential amino acids, high in BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids), helps promote muscle/strength gains, fuel metabolic functions, and more.
Since whey is derived from dairy, it can cause some digestive distress for some. Even though I tolerate dairy, I find I do better with the isolate versus the concentrate.
Substitutions for oatmeal raisin bars
No bake oatmeal bars are so simple and pretty forgiving – you can change it up to fit your needs. Here are some suggestions:
- oats – rolled oats and quick cooking oats can be used interchangeably. Rolled oats will provide more of a chewy texture while quick oats are more chopped up, but both will work. You cannot use steel cut oats in this recipe though. They are a lot coarser and the results will not be the same
- nut butter – try subbing almond or peanut butter for cashew butter. Just make surer you are using an all-natural and drippy/runny nut butter so it can easily be stirred into the recipe.
- seed butter – if you can’t have nuts, try seed butter! I love sunflower seed butter and tahini. Again, just make sure they are runny.
- sweetener – either honey and maple syrup can be used. I haven’t tried anything else, but you do want a liquid sweetener as it helps bind the ingredients together.
- protein powder – I like vanilla whey protein powder in this protein bars because it adds some sweetness and a decent amount of protein. Feel free to substitute your favorite protein powder, but I would be careful of the ratios. Protein powders vary by the consistency and how dense they are, so I would add a little less than the recipe calls for and add as you need for the best consistency. You can always add, but you can never take away! You can also use more oats (I would think about 1/2 cup) if you don’t want to use any protein powder.
Gluten free oatmeal bars
Rolled oats are naturally gluten free, but they can be one of the most cross contaminated products. To ensure this recipe is gluten free, look for certified gluten free oats.
More homemade protein snacks
Oatmeal Raisin Bars
- Add the oats, cashew butter, raisins, protein powder, almond milk, honey, cinnamon, and salt to a medium sized mixing bowl. Mix well to combine. The batter should be a little sticky. If too wet, add a little more oats or protein powder. If too dry, add a little more almond milk.
- Line an 8x8 glass baking dish (or something similar) with parchment paper (this makes for easy removal) and press mixture into the bottom of the pan until evenly distributed. Place them in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up. Cut into 8 equal sized bars and enjoy! Store in the fridge for up to a week.
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