Chocolate Raspberry Protein Parfaits: A Protein Bar Recipe

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Special thanks to Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own. #BarNutrition #CollectiveBias

 

A 4-ingredient recipe for Greek yogurt parfaits with juicy raspberries & brownie-like snack bar chunks. Healthy enough for breakfast, but they taste like dessert!

 

 

Four years ago, barely a month after beginning training at my new job, my mentor turned to me in the middle of washing glass beakers and asked, “This is random, but do you run?”

 

“Yes,” I replied, somewhat hesitantly, and felted compelled to add, “Well, more like jogging than running.”

 

“That’s okay!” she answered. “Would you want to run in a relay race in Oregon in three weeks?”

 

She continued on to explain that nine other people from the department, about half of whom were in our group, would drive up from Northern California to Portland on the last Thursday in June. After spending the night, they’d run to Eugene—180 miles away—from Friday afternoon to Saturday morning, in less than 24 hours. Although I had yet to meet a single soul besides her, I completely surprised myself and agreed!  

 

Because we lived in the flattest town known to mankind—our only “hills” were freeway overpasses—I planned to end a few of my runs with the stair stepper machine at the gym to prepare for the steep inclines on two of my segments. But with only three weeks to train, the butterflies in my stomach threatened to burst right out my bellybutton as we drove the 10 hours up north.

 

What was I doing? What was I think? Had I gone insane?

 

 

The next morning in Portland, we split up into two cars based on our assigned rotation order. (12 runners x 3 legs each = 36 legs total. No way would we each run 15 miles straight!) With only one runner on the road at a time, the rest of us chased behind in the vehicle, stopping in the middle of the runner’s leg for water breaks, and rolling down the festively finger-painted windows to cheer like crazy lunatics for our friends—and other teams too!

 

Once our car (runners 1 through 6) completed our first legs, we deviated from the freeway and careened about random dirt roads in the Oregon countryside, eventually pulling over in the middle of a half-plowed cornfield to chat with some older gentlemen. They were flying remote-controlled planes that were bigger than me!

 

 

After they generously demonstrated a few models’ antics in the sky, we happily thanked them and bumped along on the gravel paths again until we found a small outcropping of buildings, including one very dodgy-looking Mexican joint. Our stomachs, practically empty after all of that running, demanded food, so we ordered whatever sounded good at that ravenous moment. Tacos, burritos, enchiladas… Between the six of us, we must have sampled everything on the menu.

 

Big mistake!

 

 

Less than two hours later, the time for our second legs rolled around in the early evening, and we all moaned and groaned our way through our routes—not from the heaviness of the food, but from the spicy salsa and its ensuing heartburn!

 

After that round of running, and after our third eerily peaceful 3 am one too (with the most gorgeous twinkling starry skies I’d seen in years!), we stuck to dried fruit and bland granola bars to give our worn-out stomachs a well-deserved break. But we managed to finish the 180-mile race in just over 23 hours without any injuries or accidents, and we all slept like babies that night in Eugene!

 

 

At the end of our interesting weekend of food, most of us wanted something fresh and familiar as we drove home on Sunday. With no strips malls in sight—or even regular restaurants—we nixed the fast food stops and pulled into a grocery store parking lot instead.

 

Most of my new friends ordered from the deli, but I wandered around the refrigerated section as they waited for their customized gourmet sandwiches. Eventually I found exactly what my body craved: a fruit and yogurt parfait!

 

 

So now four years later, after many of my runs and morning workouts, I still want a yogurt parfait, but because I prefer to add a little extra protein to satisfy my muscles, I recently started creating these Chocolate Raspberry Protein Parfaits. The rich chocolaty morsels, combined with the slightly tart berries and lightly sweetened yogurt, practically tastes like dessert—making these the perfect healthy bribe to help me run a little faster!

 

 

For the big protein boost, I turned to these Double Chocolate High Protein Life Choice snack bars I found on the cereal aisle at Walmart. Full of decadent chocolate flavor and at least 20 grams of protein per bar, they’re a sweet and healthy way to sneak in extra protein!

 

In these parfaits, I diced the Life Choice bars fairly small, about the size of regular chocolate chips. But I’ve also started carrying one in my purse whenever I’m running hours of errands or driving home to visit my parents. On these warm summer days, the chocolate coating starts to melt a teeny bit, and the center softens to match the texture of brownies. It’s one seriously divine nutritious snack!

 

 

To make these parfaits, I sweetened a little protein-packed Greek yogurt with Stevia (but feel free to substitute your favorite sweetener instead!), then layered it with fresh raspberries and with these chocolaty nuggets of Life Choice Protein Bars. With my wide-mouthed ramekins, I could only make two layers, but you can easily create more with narrower serving glasses!

 

 

Although I savored one for breakfast and another the following day for lunch, these Raspberry Chocolate Protein Parfaits tasted more like dessert than a healthy meal. Always a big plus in my book! Those soft brownie-like chunks combined with the juicy berries… Pure bliss in a bowl.

 

Thank goodness I bought two boxes of the protein bars—and two pints of raspberries too!

 

 

Chocolate Raspberry Protein Parfaits: A Protein Bar Recipe

Yield: 2 parfaits

Serving Size: 1 parfait

Chocolate Raspberry Protein Parfaits: A Protein Bar Recipe

The soft chocolaty chunks of protein bar practically taste like brownies! Combined with the juicy raspberries and lightly sweetened yogurt, these parfaits are the sweetest way to eat your protein.

1 c plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1 ½ tsp Stevia (or other sweetener, to taste)
1 c fresh raspberries
1 Double Chocolate Life Choice Protein Bar, diced

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the Greek yogurt and Stevia until thoroughly combined. Add a generous ¼ cup to 2 small ramekins. Top with most of the raspberries and diced protein bar. Spread the remaining yogurt on top, and sprinkle with the remaining raspberries and diced protein bar.
© Amys Healthy Baking. Recipe and all images protected. Please obtain my written permission before using images. If republishing this recipe, please rewrite it in your own words or link back to this post.
http://amyshealthybaking.com/blog/2014/07/09/chocolate-raspberry-protein-parfaits/

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*Note: This post was sponsored by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All text, images, and recipe are my own.

 

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Comments

  1. Mary Frances says on July 10, 2014 at 11:21 am

    What an experience! When I first read it, I thought she was asking you to run 180 miles straight and I was like, no way, that must be a typo OR Amy has been hiding one of her superpowers! ;) I got it now :) Congrats on the race – finishing all three rounds would be no small feat, especially with some spicy salsa in the way!
    This cool, refreshing parfait sounds much better than salsa … especially with the raspberries! What a fun way to eat a protein bar!

    • Amy says on July 10, 2014 at 12:53 pm

      Thanks Mary Frances! And no way, I have no running super powers whatsoever! I’m so slow that I practically get passed by grandmas out walking with canes. ;) The other runners were really nice and let me have the easiest legs, which were no more than 4 miles each that year. Thank goodness!

  2. cheri says on July 10, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    Great story….congrats on your group for finishing. Love this parfait.

    • Amy says on July 11, 2014 at 9:48 am

      Thank you Cheri! We had a blast and couldn’t believe we finished that quickly. ;)

  3. Karen @ The Food Charlatan says on July 10, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    hahaha amy I am TOTALLY laughing at your Mexican food experience…I have to say that sounds pretty awful. My brother was a hardcore cross country-er in high school and he always tells me the story about how one year they went to Yosemite and ran a super steep hike, then got to the bottom and each ate an entire carton of Ben n Jerry’s. haha. These parfaits look legit! In my hospital stays after each of my kids I always ordered pretty much nothing but parfaits for my entire stay…I guess it’s true that yogurt and fruit is what your body craves after a tough workout, be it running or baby pushing outing.

    • Amy says on July 11, 2014 at 9:56 am

      I totally would’ve wanted an entire carton of Ben n Jerry’s instead of Mexican food!! Definitely wouldn’t have shared… Although I’m so slow that by the time I finished, everyone else would’ve polished off their ice cream and left me none! ;) I can imagine that a parfait tasted really good after you had your kids. All that hard work definitely deserved something sweet and fruity afterward!

  4. Brittany says on July 11, 2014 at 6:09 am

    Ah the running story! Loved reading this one! A couple weeks ago I ate some jalopenos (WHY!?) right before I set out for a run…it was awful. Simple is always better for me before AND after a run. Parfaits would definitely do the trick!

    • Amy says on July 11, 2014 at 9:58 am

      Simple is better for me too! I basically stick to plain rice cakes before a run; even bread will give me a tiny bit of heartburn if I run too far. I can’t imagine eating jalapeños right before a run — you’re totally a beast to do that! ;)

  5. dina says on July 13, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    this looks delicious!

    • Amy says on July 13, 2014 at 3:01 pm

      Thanks Dina!

  6. JanetGoingCrazy says on July 14, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    What a great story to tell to beginner runners about getting in the proper nutrition when you’re doing a run like that. You must have a great bond with your coworkers now after going through such an experience. That parfait that you made is one of the best looking parfaits I have ever seen! #client

    • Amy says on July 14, 2014 at 2:17 pm

      Thanks Janet! We certainly had lots of bonding time after spending so long in the cars, and we were much better prepared on the food front the next year! ;)

  7. Carolyn says on July 15, 2014 at 3:03 am

    This is a great story, Amy. I know the feeling…I had been running for about 2 weeks when a woman from my run club at the Y asked me to run a half-marathon with her. 4 months later, we did it and I surprised myself. Now, I ordered a huge burger (no bun) after my race but a yogurt parfait seems nice too. :)

    • Amy says on July 15, 2014 at 9:12 am

      You trained for a half-marathon in just 4 months?? Oh my gosh Carolyn, you’re my hero! That’s so inspirational. I signed up for one two years ago, but I tweaked my back while training and handed over my bib to one of my mom’s coworkers. Maybe someday I’ll get around to it! ;)

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