On the Trail Protein Bars

On the Trail Protein Bars

Camping or heading out on the hiking trails this summer? These homemade protein bars make for the perfect energizing breakfast to get you off and going on the right foot!

It can be tempting to eat a store-bought energy bar for breakfast while hiking. After all, hiking mornings are usually early and the last thing you want to do is wake up even earlier just to make yourself breakfast. Well, instead of heading to the grocery store the day before to stock up on protein bars, many of which contain a novel’s-worth of ingredients, I urge you to spend your time instead mixing together these On the Trail Protein Bars.

Protein Bars

When I went to make these bars, my dad came to mind. Living in Colorado, he is lucky enough to have countless hiking excursions just a short drive away, including many fourteeners. And as with most outdoorsy people, he is always looking for more ways to improve upon his experience. While typically this means upgrading his gear, it also includes optimizing his nutrient intake. So what does your body need to get you to the top of a mountain? Lots of carbohydrates (the primary fuel for our body during exercise) as well as some protein to provide long-lasting energy and give your muscles some support.  And fluid. Please stay hydrated!

So, for the rest of this week, we’ll focus on recipes that provide the nutrition you need to get you through your hike that are also backpack-friendly – i.e. no refrigerator needed. Today, we will start where your hike does: with breakfast.

Protein Bars 3

Wholesome oats are combined with vegan protein powder, cashews, a pinch of salt, natural peanut butter, unsweetened almond milk, a touch of maple syrup, and a final sprinkle of dried cranberries. Mix, mix, and keep mixing until your get a cookie-dough-batter consistency. The amount of almond milk needed will depend on your brand of protein powder. I recommend starting with ¼ cup of milk and increasing 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency. My protein powder is also slightly sweetened, but if you are using an unsweetened powder, you may want to up the maple syrup to ½ a cup and cut down on the almond milk.

To make these a bit sweeter (and give them a true trail-mix flavor), feel free to drizzle some melted chocolate over the top; however, if you aren’t eating these right away the chocolate may melt on your hike.

So here’s a toast to climbing every mountain! (Sound of Music reference. . .I couldn’t help myself).

On the Trail Protein Bars

Camping or heading out on the hiking trails this summer? These homemade protein bars make for the perfect energizing breakfast to get you off and going on the right foot!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Chilling time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Healthy, Protein Powder, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 12
Author: The Healthy Toast


  • 1.5 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup vegan protein powder mine was vanilla-flavored
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbs unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries


  • In a food processor, pulse oats into a fine flour. Place in a large mixing bowl. Next, add cashews to the food processor and pulse into small pieces. Add to oats then mix in salt and protein powder.
  • Stir in maple syrup and natural peanut butter. Add in 1/4 cup of almond milk. The goal is for the mixture to have a sticky cookie dough batter consistency, so keep adding almond milk 1 Tbs at a time until it reaches the desired consistency (for me this was 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons of milk).
  • Finally, stir in dried cranberries.
  • Line an 8x8 baking pan with foil or parchment paper. Press and evenly distribute batter into pan.
  • Place pan in the freezer for 15 minutes. Remove from freezer and slice into either 12 snack-sized bars or 6 meal-sized bars.
  • Store bars in the freezer. The longer they are out of the freezer the softer their consistency will get.


Nutrition (1/12 of recipe): 167 calories, 7 g fat, 20 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 7 g sugar, 8 g protein
Nutrition (1/6 of recipe): 335 calories, 14 g fat, 39 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 13 g sugar, 16 g protein
Adapted from Oh She Glows

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About Kelli McGrane Headshot

I’m Kelli MS, RD, and my mission is to prove that eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. Follow along to learn more about food and cooking, with an emphasis on breakfast and sweet treats!

About Kelli McGrane Headshot

Welcome to The Healthy Toast!

Here you’ll find realistic healthy recipes designed by a registered dietitian with your busy lifestyle in mind.

Whether you’re a busy professional or new mom, the goal of The Healthy Toast is to provide you with the recipes and nutrition info you need to live your healthiest life, even when life gets crazy. As I’m a firm believer in a whole-foods, non-diet approach, I hope my website shows that good nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. 

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