Dessert isn’t the devil. Sugar won’t kill you. And it’s OK to crave sweets.

Feel better? Good, because no one should ever feel bad about wanting to enjoy food. But sometimes we have to be strategic about how we create our favorite snacks.

Cookies and peanut butter cups? Yeah, we’ve got healthy variations for those that taste just like the real thing.

Rice Krispie treats? Now that was a new challenge, but a fan favorite because it’s a simple recipe that can serve as a quick meal or snack. Enter peanut butter protein rice krispies treats. We tested on kids and adults and the feedback was unanimous: healthy dessert is now served…with an extra boost of protein.

Why it’s a Healthy Recipe

Here’s exactly how we made the classic sweet into a healthy treat.

We traded the rice cereal to organic brown rice cereal. This may not seem like a big switch, but check out the ingredient list on both and you’ll see fewer ingredients and less processed additives.

We replaced the butter with peanut butter. Any nut or seed butter would work just as well, if you have a peanut allergy.

Popular marshmallow brands are usually made of artificial flavors, blue 1 dye (why?) and other filers. In this recipe, there’s honey and brown rice syrup. That’s it. Yes, it’s still sugar, but quantities have been cut to what you need, instead of packing on excess calories for no reason.

Even better? We added protein, so you’ll satisfy your sweet tooth and hunger pains. And, of course, it’s great for building muscle too.

Ingredients

Cook time: 15 minutes, plus 30 minutes in the freezer

Yields: 16 squares

  • 2 ½ cups brown rice cereal
  • ½ cup all-natural creamy peanut butter
  • ¼ cup organic brown rice syrup
  • ¼ cup raw, unfiltered honey
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder*
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil, unrefined, cold-pressed
  • 1 tbsp. cocoa (cacao) powder
  • ¼ c dark chocolate chips**, stevia-sweetened if possible 

rice krispies ingredients

*We used BueBonnet 100% natural, artificial flavor and preservative-free whey protein isolate derived from grass-fed cows, vanilla flavor.

**We used Lily’s Stevia-sweetened dark chocolate chips you can find at most health food stores or Amazon.  

Directions

  1. Grease an 8×8 Pyrex or baking pan with coconut oil. Coconut oil spray would be even easier. Just stick with a sweet or flavorless oil.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, add the peanut butter, brown rice syrup, honey and vanilla. Stir until smooth, about 3 minutes.
  3. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in one scoop (33g) protein powder and the rice cereal. The mixture should be soft, but not runny. If it’s too hard too stir with a spoon, add a little more honey to mix.
  4. Add the rice crispy mix to the Pyrex. Spread and press into pan to make it as compact as possible.
  5. In the same saucepan (it’s OK if there’s peanut butter residue—there are worse things to worry about in life), add the coconut oil, cocoa powder and chocolate chips. Stir until smooth. Remove from heat, add the other scoop of protein powder, and stir.
  6. Top the rice crispy with the protein chocolate topping. Spread it all over to reach the corners.
  7. Freeze for 30 minutes. Then cut into 16 squares. (Try not to eat the whole thing at once.)

rice krispies final

Nutritional Information & Macros

Dietary Information: Gluten free

Macros per serving (1 square)

  • 138 calories
  • 6g fat
  • 15g carbs
  • 6g protein

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