One of my big daily dilemmas is that I love to snack, but snacks aren’t often satisfying. I’ll wind up eating nearly a whole container of hummus in one sitting, or devouring a bag of chips, just in an attempt to feel full. It doesn’t help that I have an insatiable appetite to begin with, but combine that with the fact that most snacks are wimpy, and I’m bound to have an issue.
I bought a box of Special K Protein Cereal to try for the last edition of Smart Cookie Shopping, and I started to wonder if I could turn that into a cereal bar, thus creating a much more substantial snack. These Cinnamon Vanilla Protein Cereal Bars wound up being everything I hoped for and more. Imagine a Rice Krispie treat, but 10 times as filling and flavorful.
These bars are studded with a cinnamon-sugar cereal, crunchy granola, and salty pumpkin seeds then held together by sweet marshmallow. All those components make for a protein-rich snack that will silence your stomach much more efficiently than wimpy potato chips or the like.
Why would you want to shamelessly bury your face in an entire container of sugar-laden, nutritionally void cookies when you could eat one of these chewy, cinnamon-vanilla-kissed delights? Put down the Oreos and back away slowly. You can treat yourself without hating yourself afterwards.
I know what you’re thinking – I can’t handle making my own healthy snacks! That’s much too fancy! But these bars are equally as easy to make as a typical Rice Krispie treat, AKA the go-to dessert for people who aren’t experts in cooking. But it does sound pretty darn impressive to say you made your own protein bars, doesn’t it?
You fancy health nut, you.
A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:
- It’s important to melt the marshmallows on low heat and stir constantly so that they don’t burn.
- Have your ingredients ready to go before you start so you aren’t running around like a chicken with your head cut off while cooking.
- I don’t know why, but jumbo marshmallows work better than the mini ones. They make the bars chewier.
- Granola doesn’t have to be expensive; look for sales. I got my granola from Target for under three bucks.
- These make for a healthy dessert after a nutritious dinner of my Quinoa, Potato, Zucchini & Tomato Saute with Fresh Mozzarella.
Cinnamon Vanilla Protein Bars
By The Smart Cookie Cook
- 3 tbsp. butter
- 1 10-oz. bag jumbo marshmallows
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 5 cups Special K Cinnamon Sugar Protein Cereal
- 1 cup vanilla granola (I used Target’s Simply Balanced)
- 1/3 cup roasted & salted pumpkin seeds
- Spray a 9×13 with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add marshmallows and stir continuously until melted and smooth.
- Remove from heat immediately and stir in vanilla extract. Fold in cereal, granola, and pumpkin seeds. Transfer to prepared pan and press down into an even layer. Let cool and set, about 1 hour.
- Cut into squares and enjoy. Store in air-tight container.