Chocolate Chip Coconut Banana Protein Bars

by Sara on April 12, 2012

Hello! Thanks for all your sweet words of encouragement about my decision to go cardio-free! Your support means more than you know. Truly. Whenever I feel doubtful, I re-read your inspiring comments. :-)

I know my posts have been sporadic lately, but there are only a few more weeks left before my 50-page research proposal is due, so I’ve been working nonstop! Whelp. Putting together a blog post after spending six hours writing a research paper doesn’t have quite the same appeal as it usually does, if ya know what I mean. πŸ˜‰

But reading your blogs most certainly does! In fact, blog reading is how I unwind and de-stress at the end of the day.

And baking most definitely does too.

I woke up yesterday morning feeling refreshed, revitalized and ready to kickstart the day!

Then I glanced at my alarm clock and realized why. I’d slept two hours later than I’d planned.


I literally bolted out of bed, eager to make up for lost time.

My first thought: How in the world do I sleep through three alarms?

My second thought: Breakfast time!

My third thought: My legs are saaoooore.

When I hired Tara to be my personal trainer, I knew she wouldn’t mess around. But I’m still feeling the effects of Monday’s lower body workout two days later.Β  I guess when you spend an hour squatting, curling and lunging around a weight room that’s bound to happen. :-)

I actually enjoy being sore because I know it means that the time and effort I’m putting into my workouts is making a difference. Tired legs also greatly decrease my desire to do run, which is very helpful as I transition from seven days of cardio to one.

My sore muscles need good fuel to assist with growth and recovery, so I’ve been diligent about drinking protein shakes after every strength workout.

1 scoop MRM protein powder, 1 T. PB2, 1/4 cup cottage cheese, 1/2 banana, 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk, stevia, ice

I’m continuing to love my MRM Whey. If you’re looking for a new protein powder, definitely give this one a try!

I’ve also been eating mini meals like this…

Dr. Praegar's spinach cake, pan "fried" tofu, 1 hard cooked egg, 1 egg white, asparagus, ketchup, avocado, Laughing Cow blue cheese

(I Iove “snacky” lunches with lots of condiments for dipping and spreading!)

and this…

sea scallops seared in coconut oil, spinach sauteed in coconut oil, steamed sweet potato

….every 2-3 hours, 6-7 times each day.

It feels like I’m always munching on something. (Because I am). :)

These nuts are life changing, by the way. Maybe a little more candy-like than health nut-like, but absolutely delicious.

I’m giving my body what it needs, and that’s a bit more food than I’m used to. Even though I’ve loved adding more healthy fats to my meals (avocado, peanut butter and almonds are my best friends, yo), I’d be lying if I told you that increasing calories is easy peasy all the time. It’s a challenge. But it’s a challenge that I’m 100% committed to.

Less cardio+ more lifting + lots of great food is the prescription for feeling my best ever. :)

My focus has been on enjoying whole Paleo-esque mini meals, which are relatively easy to prepareΒ  when I have time to cook. However, when I’m on-the-go, the temptation to grab a packaged bar is high.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my Luna bars, however I’ve discovered that I can bake something that is far more nourishing and delicious than a bar that’s been sitting on a grocery store shelf for a few months. πŸ˜‰

These Chocolate Chip Coconut Banana Protein Bars combine an irresistible trifecta of flavors into one delicious bite.

Coconut, banana, and chocolate? Yes please and thank you.

Chocolate Chip Coconut Banana Protein Bars

Inspired by this recipe. Makes 16 small bars or 8 large bars

1/3 cup coconut flour

1/3 cup almond meal/flour

2 scoops vanilla protein powder (I used MRM, but any protein powder will work)

1 t. baking soda

1 t. salt

6 packets stevia (I used NuNaturals)

1 ripe banana, mashed

1 t. vanilla extract

4 eggs

1/2 cup coconut milk (from a can, not light)

2-3 T. mini chocolate chips

Optional: shredded coconut and extra chocolate chips for topping

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8 pan with cooking spray or coconut oil. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl, then add wet ingredients. Once everything is incorporated into a batter, stir in the chocolate chips. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean.

***After the bars are finished baking, you can top with shredded coconut and more chocolate chips and toast in the toaster oven for a minute. Or, you can add the coconut towards the end of baking.

Nutrition per small bar: Calories: 88; Fat: 4.9 grams; Carbs: 6.1 grams; Fiber: 2.3 grams; Protein: 5.3 grams



I want to share a few newsworthy items before I go. πŸ˜‰

1. Did you hear Mr. Quaker Oats had a makeover?

Plastic surgery can become addictive. Just warning ya, Larry.


Apparently the new “Larry” is younger, leaner and trimmer (haircut!) than his old self.Β  πŸ˜‰

2. Coconut wraps!


This is a new product discovery that I’m really excited about! Pure Wraps are a grain-free, gluten-free, raw alternative to tortillas, and they’re made with just three ingredients: coconut, coconut water and Himalayan salt. I ordered a few packages to try, and will be reporting back with a review soon!

3. I’m moving to a new house! I’ll have five roommates (including one of my best friends, Elaina), all whom I’m beyond excited to live with. But the best part may be gaining access to stove burners that light on their own without the assistance of a lighter. πŸ˜‰ (!!)


How many alarms do you set? How do you de-stress at the end of the day?

Do you enjoy or dread muscle soreness after a strength workout?

Are you a “condiment queen” like me? What are your favorite condiments?

What do you think of Larry’s makeover? Do you want him his oats more, now that he’s looking younger and leaner? πŸ˜‰


  • Gothextramileblog

    That’s hilarious about the Quaker guy, I would’ve never noticed! I definitely know what you mean about writing a post after studying or writing for school. These bars look amaaaazing! I lovelovelove the feeling of being sore. It just ensures me that I kicked ass ;D

    • Sara Stewart

      Haha, yeah, whenever I’m *not* sore, I feel like I haven’t worked out hard enough! I wouldn’t have noticed the Quaker change either, but I watched an interview with their marketing manager, and I guess that was their goal…they want us to “subconsciously” associate it with a younger, fitter lifestyle. Personally, I couldn’t care less what he looks like! Oats are oats. πŸ˜‰

  • Tara @ Sweat like a Pig

    Woo! I’m glad your legs are still sore… that’s my secret plan to keep you away from the cardio machines πŸ˜‰ But seriously, I always feel sore until about four days after a leg workout. I knew you were going to feel it!

    • Sara Stewart

      I’m kind of loving it. I haven’t felt this sore since…well I’ve never felt this sore EVER! xoxo

  • Claire @ Live and Love to Eat

    Congrats on the upcoming move! I love MRM Whey too, and it’s so reasonably priced! Love the look of those bars!

    • Sara Stewart

      MRM is the best tasting, best priced protein powder I’ve found!

  • Caroline

    I love that those bars have coconut flavor without coconut. I hate the texture of coconut for some reason – I just can’t eat it! But I love coconut flavors. That’s so exciting that you’re moving into a new house with Elaina!

    • Sara Stewart

      I know what you mean about the texture of coconut; it is a bit strange, but the flavor is so wonderful. :) Have you tried baking with coconut flour?

  • Christina

    My coworkers and I have been eating meals like that. Like snack plates! And Laughing Cow cheeses have been making an appearance! We’re obsessed. I loveeeeeee muscle soreness after a workout! And condiments? Holy crap, yes, I love extra sauce, ketchup, mustard, anything! It’s obnoxious.

    • Sara Stewart

      Haha, yeah, sometimes my meals are made up of condiments with food on the side. Especially when given a bowl of guacamole. πŸ˜‰

  • Alexandra

    Great eats and FABULOUS recipe!! Definitely bookmarking it :)
    And holy cow those coconut wrap things sound so awesome, I gotta find some stat! AND congrats on moving to a new house, how exciting!!

    • Sara Stewart

      Thanks, Alexandra! I’m so excited to try the coconut wraps; I’ve never seen a product like them!

  • Katie @ Peace Love & Oats

    those coconut wraps sound good, as do your protein bars! Does the calorie count include the optional toppings?

    • Sara Stewart

      I didn’t include the extra toppings in the nutritional breakdown because I didn’t measure them…but I’m guessing I used about a tablespoon of coconut and 1/2 T. mini chocolate chips, which would add about 60 calories and a few grams of fat. :)

  • Emily @ Glitz Glam Granola

    So glad to know that I’m not the only one who sets three alarms regularly! I need them all to wake up, and like you, have slept through them all on occasion! All of your meals look so delicious! And congrats on nearing the finish line with your HUGE paper!! That will be something to celebrate for sure! These bars look so good too! I’m trying to get away from processed foods more recently so these will be perfect! And I think Larry is looking better! He definitely lost his double chin– but I can’t see a difference with his haircut! Oh and those coconut wraps sound awesome! Can’t wait to hear what you think!

    • Sara Stewart

      It makes me feel better that somebody else needs (and sleeps through) three alarms too! The funny thing is, a person can lightly tap on my door and I’ll wake up; yet three blaring alarms don’t make me flinch. Haha. :-p I agree with you about Larry’s haircut: almost unnoticeable!

  • Carly

    Mmm, your protein bars sound AWESOME! Love those flavors! I find it tempting to grab an energy bar too, but feel much more satisfied when I chose “real” food instead. :) I LOVE feeling sore after a workout! It means my hard work is paying off! I’d buy Larry’s oats even if he had wrinkles on his face!

    • Sara Stewart

      Haha! What about a mohawk or mullet?

  • Jillian @ sprinkle massacre

    1. I love the snacky plate. I like having a lot of options when eating! lol

    2. You made me crave scallops, bad!

    3. I’ve already pinned those bars and intend to make them ASAP!

    • Sara Stewart

      Lots of options is definitely the way to go when it comes to meals. I get bored with one pot dinners like chili because every bite is the same. :-p Let me know how the bars turn out! xoxo

  • Carriepurchase

    I love to hear the no cardio + more food thing is going well! :)

    I totally agree with you on the bars- a lot of people think Protein or Granola Bars are healthy….but they’re not!! I’ve been on a homemade protein bar kick lately and they are soo good with no added sugars, oils, butters, etc!

    • Sara Stewart

      So true about the protein/granola bars! I’m always scared to turn the package over and read the ingredients. :-p Do you have a recipe for your favorite homemade bars?

  • Meg Bailey

    SO glad to see you keeping up on the protein shakes! I’m a big advocate of them especially after a workout for recovery! I LOVE the feeling of soreness after a workout, but not when I feel like a cripple!! (and have a hard time sitting down on the, er, toilet).

    I usually set one alarm, sometime two if it’s for something extra important.

    My husband teases me all the time about the amount of condiments we have in the fridge. I just reply that’s what makes everything taste good!! I think before we got married he had two in his fridge: BBQ sauce and ketchup.

    • Sara Stewart

      So stereotypical for guys to have BBQ sauce and ketchup! Has he warmed up to guacamole, salsa, tzatziki and hummus, now that you’re stocking the fridge? Or does he stick with his old stand-bys?

      And I have to agree with you on the soreness: not so enjoyable when it hurts to sit down on the toilet. Haha!

  • Ash@MyFNFDiaries

    i’m SO proud of you girl!! you know how difficult i know this is, which makes me all the more proud. :) loving the looks of all of your healthy and nutritious eats too! isn’t eating more kinda fun?! πŸ˜‰ i can’t wait to make these bars! xoxo

    • Sara Stewart

      Eating more really is more fun! Who doesn’t like extra peanut butter on their spoon? πŸ˜‰ Thanks for all your support and encouragement! We can do this! xoxo

  • Lisa

    Mmm those bars look so good! I gotta try them! I’m so happy to hear that eating more and no cardio is doing food for your well-being. I know it is so hard! I am trying to eat more too and its such an internal struggle! My mind is always messing with me! Yay for moving with one of your best friends and stove burners, I hope your move goes smoothly :)

    • Sara Stewart

      Thanks, Lisa!! Eating more really is an internal struggle, especially when society is constantly telling us to eat less! But what do they know? Only WE know what’s best four OUR bodies!

  • Meg

    You and I are both cardio free! You are not alone in this babe! We will support each other ok? :) Send me emails/tweets whatever! πŸ˜€ We are in this together πŸ˜€ XOXOXOXO

    Again, so proud of you babe :)

    Aren’t you loving training with Tara though!? I am definitely sore from legs and then again from chest. I did back today and it was amaaaazing.

    Congrats on the new place! It sounds like it will be a lot of fun πŸ˜€

    I destress at the end of the day by blogging, foam rolling, drinking tea, reading blogs or a mag or a cookbook!!, and of course talking to mom and dad :)

    • Sara Stewart

      Aww, Meg, you brightened my day!! Your enthusiasm is contagious; so glad to call you my friend, hun. <3 I destress by talking to my mom too…aand reading magazines/cookbooks, of course. πŸ˜€

  • Stefanie @TheNewHealthy

    Oh gosh, I set about 5 alarms! I’m always scared I won’t hear them but then since I know that there will be another alarm, I push snooze wayyyy too many time. It’s a vicious cycle. I’m a gem to sleep with. πŸ˜‰

    Also snacking lunches with lots of dippers are my favorite!!! I love snack plates with tofu, veggies, crackers, hummus, and laughing cow.

    • Sara Stewart

      Haha, oh I know my housemates *really* appreciate the 3 alarms blaring at once! I bet your husband does too. ;-p

      Hummus + Laughing Cow is one of the best condiment combos EVER. <3

  • janetha

    Those look SO DANG GOOD!

  • Sally

    Those coconut wraps sound really interesting. Let me know how you like them! So excited about your no-cardio plan…it IS going to work, so keep going strong! And yes, you are the condiment queen!! Your scallop snacky lunch looks so yummy! xo

  • julie!

    tara is the best at kicking butt! literally haha. i’m sore right now from this morning’s leg workout i could cry haha but in a good way! i LOVE mustard. can’t. get. enough. and i also really love sriarcha and salsa :)

  • Molly@ RunningLateMolls

    I just made these bars (in the oven). I cannot wait to dig into a warm one! :)

  • Rach

    Oh goodness, girl, those scallops look SO good! I am SO a condiment queen! Worchestershire sauce is probably my favorite, but I love them all! πŸ˜€

  • Kristen @ Swanky Dietitian

    These bars look fabulous!!
    I love making mini plates. This looks yummy!! :)

  • Life’s a Bowl

    I love Luna bars too but your homemade bars sound super tempting! Look forward to reading your review of the coconut wraps- I’ve been trying to eat gluten-free for the past two weeks and have seen great improvement and looking for new products :)

    Fave condiments: mustard [yellow, dijon, honey, grainy], salsa, tomato sauce, and BBQ sauce!

  • Soo {Little Miss Fitness}

    I love feeling sore after a workout…just because then I know I actually worked hard! :) Although believe me, the feeling is few and far between.

    I really want to try those pure wraps! Thanks for sharing!!

  • A Fine Balance

    I can wait to try these. I just made banana protein muffins over the weekend!

  • Vera

    Can I use almond or cows milk instead of the coconut milk?(i dont have any)

    • Sara Stewart

      The coconut milk is pretty thick and creamy, so yogurt might be a better substitute. If you try almond or cow’s milk, definitely let me know how it turns out! :)

  • Amy

    these look great! definitely trying..and thanks for the protein powder rec!

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