Protein Bars

To quickly sum up the last (almost) two months since my last post, pregnancy is over, my sweet baby is here, and we are slowly starting to arrive at our new normal.  This means I can actually start thinking about working out, eating right, and blogging.  I think full sanity won’t return until the little one is sleeping through the night (or maybe fully grown and independently living), but for now I am taking what I can get!

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One thing that is essential for healthy eating as a new mother of three is convenience…what can I quickly grab to satisfy hunger that isn’t processed.  Good thing it is summer and we have been pounding the fresh berries from Spooner’s while we can get them with some plain Greek yogurt.  We also love hard-boiled eggs and have started buying that monster 5 dozen pack from Costco…are we a little too crazy for eggs?

And those who have looked at my pinterest know that I am always on the lookout for good protein bar recipe.  I came across one that we REALLY like.  Everyone that I make it for asks me for the recipe, so I thought I would share it.  Because I have a sleeping babe on my chest right now, I will not type it all up, but you can find it here.
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I like it because it uses all whole food ingredients, healthy fats, and is deliciously satisfying.  I thought they were a little too greasy and not enough protein with the recipe as it was written, so I added two scoops of protein powder and then it seemed just right…until I calculated the nutrition info:

Calories 370 / Carb 21 / Fat 29 / Protein 10 / Sugar 13

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Some people don’t mind those numbers, but if that is a little too many calories or fat for one snack for, I substituted skim milk for the coconut oil and added another scoop of protein for the shredded coconut, which made the dough super sticky so I decided to add the chips to the middle instead of the top and bake them.  They turned out really tasty too, but more like a healthy cookie than a bar.  These are the new numbers:

Calories 281/ Carb 21 / Fat 18 / Protein 13 / Sugar 12

If you want even lower fat and higher protein, feel free to substitute more protein powder for some of the nuts, flaxseed.  If you are confused by all those changes, here is how the second version ended up as I made it:

2 cups almonds
1/4 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup dried dates
½ cup peanut butter
½ cup milk
1/4 cup honey
2-3 teaspoons vanilla extract
a few squares dark chocolate, chopped into chunks

Preheat oven to 350. Place almonds, flax meal, dried fruit and peanut butter in a food processor or high powered blender. Pulse briefly for about 30 seconds.  You may choose to pulse longer if you want the bars less chunky.  Add wet ingredients and pulse until you have a coarse paste. Press mixture into a sprayed  9 x 9 baking dish, adding the chocolate chunks as you do so. Bake for 12-15 minutes.  Let cool and cut into 12 bars.

Let me know which version you like better!

Do you have a favorite protein bar recipe?  Please share!

Protein Power

Ever since my dad became Vegan, Aaron and I have been paying a lot of attention to the amount of protein that is in everything we eat.  We all know that protein is important, but just how much do we need?  Here is a chart I stole from the CDC that gives a good guide.

Recommended Dietary Allowance for Protein
Grams of protein
needed each day
Children ages 1 – 3 13
Children ages 4 – 8 19
Children ages 9 – 13 34
Girls ages 14 – 18 46
Boys ages 14 – 18 52
Women ages 19 – 70+ 46
Men ages 19 – 70+ 56

This means that I could almost meet my daily requirements with a 6 oz steak!  I was excited to see in my inbox this morning that someone over at Spark People had nicely charted out different vegetarian sources of protein and how they stack up to each other and to meat.

Nuts, 1/4 cup Protein Calories Fat
Peanuts, raw 9 g 207 18 g
Almonds, dry roasted 8 g 206 18 g
Pistachios 6 g 171 14 g
Hazelnuts 5 g 212 21 g
Pine nuts 5 g 229 23 g
Cashews, raw 5 g 197 16 g
Walnuts 4 g 164 16 g
Seeds (1/4 cup) Protein Calories Fat
Hemp seeds 15 g 232 18 g
Pumpkin seeds, roasted 9 g 187 16 g
Flaxseed 8 g 191 13 g
Sunflower seeds, roasted 8 g 205 18 g
Sesame seeds, roasted 6 g 206 18 g
Legumes, 1 cup cooked Protein Calories Fiber
Soybeans 29 g 298 10 g
Lentils 18 g 230 16 g
Split peas 16 g 231 16 g
Navy beans 16 g 258 12 g
Garbanzo beans (chickpeas) 15 g 269 12 g
Black beans 15 g 227 15 g
Kidney beans 15 g 225 11 g
Lima beans 15 g 216 13 g
Pinto beans 14 g 234 15 g
Soy Foods Protein Calories Fat
Soybeans, 1 cup cooked 29 g 298 10 g
Tempeh, 4 oz cooked 21 g 223 13 g
Edamame, 1 cup shelled 20 g 240 10 g
TVP, 1/4 cup dry 12 g 80 0 g
Soy nuts, 1/4 cup roasted 11 g 200 1 g
Tofu, 4 oz raw 9 g 86 5 g
Soy nut butter, 2 tablespoons 7 g 170 11 g
Soymilk, 1 cup sweetened 7 g 100 0.5 g
Soymilk, 1 cup unsweetened 7 g 80 0.5 g
Grains Protein Calories Fiber
Amaranth, 1 cup cooked 9 g 238 9 g
Quinoa, 1 cup cooked 9 g 254 4 g
Whole wheat pasta, 1 cup cooked 8 g 174 6 g
Barley, 1 cup cooked 7 g 270 14 g
Spelt, 4 oz cooked 6 g 144 4 g
Oats, 1 cup cooked 6 g 147 4 g
Bulgur, 1 cup cooked 6 g 151 8 g
Buckwheat, 1 cup cooked 6 g 155 5 g
Brown rice, 1 cup cooked 5 g 216 4 g
Whole wheat bread, 1 slice 4 g 128 3 g
Sprouted grain bread, 1 slice 4 g 80 3 g
Dairy Protein Calories Fat
Fat-free cottage cheese, 1 cup 31 g 160 1 g
2% cottage cheese, 1 cup 30 g 203 4 g
1% cottage cheese, 1 cup 28 g 163 2 g
Fat-free plain yogurt, 1 cup 14 g 137 0 g
Low-fat plain yogurt, 1 cup 13 g 155 4 g
Parmesan cheese, 1 oz grated 12 g 129 9 g
Whole milk yogurt, 1 cup 9 g 150 8 g
Goat’s milk, 1 cup 9 g 168 10 g
1% milk, 1 cup 8 g 102 2 g
Swiss cheese, 1 oz 8 g 106 8 g
2% milk, 1 cup 8 g 121 7 g
3.25% (whole) milk, 1 cup 8 g 146 8 g
Low-fat cheddar/Colby cheese, 1 oz 7 g 49 2 g
Part-skim mozzarella cheese, 1 oz 7 g 72 5 g
Provolone cheese, 1 oz 7 g 100 8 g
Cheddar cheese, 1 oz 7 g 114 9 g
Blue cheese, 1 oz 6 g 100 8 g
American cheese, 1 oz 6 g 106 9 g
Goat cheese, 1 oz 5 g 76 6 g
Feta cheese, 1 oz 4 g 75 6 g
Part-skim ricotta cheese, 1 oz 3 g 39 2 g
Eggs Protein Calories Fat
Egg, 1 boiled 6 g 68 5 g
Egg white, 1 cooked 5 g 17 0 g
Liquid egg substitute, 1.5 fl oz 5 g 23 0 g

They didn’t include vegetables on their list, which I can understand because they don’t have a LOT of protein, but I was curious about the comparison.  In case you are curious too, I’ll share a chart I found for that here:

Vegetable (100 grams) Protein (g)
Asparagus 3
Aubergine 1
Beetroot 2
Broccoli 3
Brussel Sprouts 3
Cabbage 1
Carrot 0.5
Cauliflower 3
Celery 0.5
Cucumber 0.5
Fennel 1
Leek 1.6
Lettuce 0.7
Mushrooms 2
Okra 2.4
Onion 0.7
Spring Onion 2
Parsnip 1.5
Peppers 1
Pumpkin 0.5
Radish 0.7
Spinach 2
Swede 0.5
Sweet Corn 2.5
Tomatoes 2
Turnip 0.8
Yam 2

I think you have probably seen enough charts for the day, but if you want to see how all of this info adds together to getting the RDA of protein without eating meat, check out the Vegetarian Resource Group.  My dad says he feels so much better since changing his diet.  Anyone curious enough to give it a try?