When I have a bit of down time in the evenings or on the weekend, I like to make batches of snacks that we can keep in the freezer for hunger-emergencies. These Cherry Chocolate Protein Bars are one of our current favourites.
We’ve started our climbing strength-training phase again recently. This means a lot of finger-strength training on the hangboard as well as lots of general strength training at the fitness gym (core, pull-ups, squats, plyometric stuff) and general strength training in the van (lifting ceiling panels, hanging cabinets ;)).
On the days that we hangboard train, we start at the climbing gym to warm up the fingers with 20 to 30 minutes of continuous climbing. We warm up each finger position we will be training afterwards (4-finger half-crimps down to 1-finger hangs) and use this time to work on our movement and general technique. Then, it’s a 25 minute trundle back home to finish up using our hangboard.
During our drive home, it’s often nice to have a little nibble of something to tie us over until all the training is done and we can sit down for dinner. Portable snacks like these cherry chocolate protein bars are often just what we’re looking for. They’re really tasty and give us a great boost of energy.
There are a few great things about these cherry chocolate protein bars:
- There is no need for an oven – just an hour or so in the fridge, to firm up.
- They handle substitutions easily – add your favourite combination of nuts / seeds / dried fruit.
- They freeze really well – making them a great snack to last you a few weeks.
- There’s no added sugar, just the sweetness from the maple syrup and dates.
- They just taste good!!
If you’re in the market for a great snack, give these bars a try. They’re vegan (if you swing that way), gluten-free (make sure to use gluten-free oats), kid-friendly (swap in almond butter, if you’re peanut-sensitive) and fitness friendly (a great source of good carbs and protein). There’s also no added sugar – just the natural sweetness from the dates and maple syrup.
Hopefully you’ll find these bars as useful to have around the house as we do!
- 150 g (1 cup) pitted Medjool dates (about 10 big dates)
- 1 cup of warm water, to soak the dates
- 115 g (1 cup) large-flake oats
- 60 g (1½ cup) crispy brown rice cereal
- 30 g (1/4 cup) walnuts, roughly chopped
- 30 g (1/4 cup) dried unsweetened cherries
- 15 g (2 tbsp) ground flax seeds
- 120 g (1/2 cup) natural peanut butter
- 105 g (1/3 cup) pure maple syrup
- 50 g (1/4 cup) dark chocolate chips
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Soak the pitted Medjool dates in 1 cup of warm water, until they have softened. This could take anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes, depending on how soft your dates are to start.
- In a large bowl, stir together the oats, brown rice cereal, walnuts, dried cherries and flax seeds.
- Drain the Medjool dates and use a food processor or high-speed blender to process until they are finely chopped. Add them to the oat mixture.
- In a small sauce pan, combine the peanut butter and maple syrup and bring to a soft boil over medium-low heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
- Pour the peanut butter mixture over the oat mix and stir until all ingredients are completely combined. This may take quite a few stirs. Add in the chocolate chips and stir until they are incorporated.
- Line a 9x9-inch pan with parchment paper and spoon the mixture into the pan. Press the oat mixture firmly into the pan and smooth the top with the back of a spatula.
- Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, until the bars have set and are firm to the touch.
- Use the parchment paper to lift the bars out of the pan and cut into bars.
Enjoy these Cherry Chocolate Protein Bars!