No-bake, low oxalate protein bars are easy to make and yummy!  They are high protein, high fiber and unfortunately high fat, so be careful how many you eat if fats are a problem for you.  What I really like about these bars is that they fill my kids up and keep them full until the next meal.  They also provide me with an easy, on-the-go breakfast choice if I need to get out of the house quickly.  These work well in an insulated lunch box, a cooler, or in your backpack when the weather is cool, but be careful about leaving them out too long in the summer or in a well-heated building.  They depend on refrigeration to keep their shape and pleasant texture.  Too much heat and they will melt into a gooey (yet still tasty) mess.

No-Bake Low Oxalate Protein Bars

1 ½ cups quick oats or rolled oats (GF)
½ cup ground flax seed
1 cup whey protein powder (or use rice or pea protein powder)
½ cup flaked coconut
¾ cup raisins (or dried cherries or apples)
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
½ cup honey (or agave nectar)
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons Sunbutter brand sunflower seed butter
3 tablespoons butter or coconut oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-3 tablespoons water

Combine the oats, flax seed, protein powder, coconut, raisins and pumpkin seeds in a bowl and mix well.  Put the honey, Sunbutter, butter and vanilla in a separate glass or ceramic dish and microwave on high for about 30 – 45 seconds until the butter is melted and the Sunbutter is gooey.  Stir the Sunbutter mixture until it is well combined.  Add the Sunbutter mixture and the oat mixture and stir until the oats are well coated.  It should have a crumbly, somewhat dry texture that barely holds together when you press it (like the oatmeal topping of an apple crisp).  Add the water a half tablespoon at a time, stirring well each time, until you get a mixture that will hold together more like playdough (still a little dry but could be rolled into one big ball that would stay together).  It usually takes about 2 tablespoons water.

Press the oat mixture into a 9 X 9 inch baking dish OR other convenient dish with about the same dimensions (you could press it directly into a convenient-sized Tupperware).  I often use a Pyrex glass baking dish with a plastic lid.  For easy removal, line the bottom of the pan with plastic wrap plus enough to double back over the top as a cover after you’ve pressed the oat mixture into it.  Put the dish into the refrigerator and let chill overnight or for at least four hours.  Cut into 18 bars (4.5 x 1 inch each).  Transfer into an air tight container (or wrap in the plastic wrap) and keep refrigerated for up to two weeks (Maybe three?  I’ve never had them that long, but there’s nothing in here that doesn’t keep a long time in the refrigerator).

Makes 18 bars.

Oxalate Note:  Each low oxalate protein bar has about 8 grams protein (when made with whey powder), 3.5 grams fiber, 8 grams fat and 5 mg. oxalate.  Rolled oats (11.1 mg. oxalate/half cup), Sunbutter (6.1 mg. per 2 tablespoons), ground flax seed (6.6 mg./half cup) and pumpkin seeds (5.2 mg. per 2 tablespoons) are medium oxalate.  All other ingredients are low or very low oxalate.

Variations:  I’ve been fooling around with this recipe for months and although every combination I’ve tried has been tasty, it’s really hard to get a good, pleasant consistency with even a slight variation.

If you want less sugar, you may remove 1 – 2 tablespoons honey without too much trouble.  You can also use some liquid Stevia in place of the water.  Do not replace the honey with applesauce  unless you want a really sticky (yet still tasty) bar.

If you want less fat, you may leave out 1 – 2 tablespoons butter OR 1 -2 tablespoons Sunbutter and still have a decent bar.

If you want less oxalate, try substituting roasted chestnuts for the pumpkin seeds or try substituting ½ cup coconut for ½ cup oats.  You may also leave out 2 – 3 tablespoons of Sunbutter, although you may have to add an extra tablespoon of butter.

If you can handle more oxalate, then you may substitute 3 – 4 more tablespoons of Sunbutter for the butter, or you may add up to 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds.

The raisins, pumpkin seeds and coconut are interchangeable with other dried LO fruit (try apple, cherry or banana), roasted chestnuts or coconut (about 1 cup total of these add-ins).  I’ve also had luck increasing the protein powder by another fourth cup.

Do not replace the butter or coconut oil with other cooking oils.  The solid nature of these oils when refrigerated is what makes this recipe work.

Other Diets: No-bake low oxalate protein bars may also be appropriate for gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, vegetarian, and controlled carbohydrate diets with the appropriate ingredient choice.

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Want to beat this heat and have a little fun with the kids?  Make low oxalate popsicles! It’s been between at least 96-100 degrees every day in Missouri for over two weeks (107 on Tuesday!) and my entire yard, plus the garden and the kids are drooping.  I can’t bring myself to cook much or to eat hot foods, so my boys and I have been slurping breakfast smoothies and making frozen pops instead.

The easiest way to make a low oxalate popsicle is to put your favorite low oxalate juice in a plastic popsicle mold and freeze it at least 6 hours or overnight.  Alternatively, you may use ANY small, food safe container with any kind of wood or plastic stick as your popsicle mold (put saran wrap over the container to keep the stick in place until it freezes).  Be creative for some fun!

If you want to experiment with popsicles, keep a few things in mind.

  • Most popsicle recipes can double as a slushie or a smoothie.
  • Conversely, most smoothie or slushie recipes can double as popsicles (omit the ice cubes from slushie recipes).
  • Most things don’t taste as sweet when you freeze them, so you might want to add slightly more sweetener than you think you need.
  • Coconut milk can be substituted for milk or yogurt in most popsicle recipes if you want a dairy-free alternative.
  • You can also use water or juice as a substitute for milk.
  • Use honey, maple syrup, liquid Stevia, Splenda or confectioners sugar to sweeten pops instead of regular sugar or your pop will be grainy.  Be sure to blend the sweeteners well!
  • You can use whole, “chunky” or fully pureed fresh fruit.
  • Liquid expands when freezing so leave a little room at the top.
  • If you use milk or yogurt, partially freezing the pop in an ice cream maker first will give you a creamier pop.
  • Using Greek yogurt in place of regular yogurt gives a creamier, higher protein pop.
  • Using condensed milk instead of regular milk gives a creamier pop (although I personally don’t like the taste as much.)
  • Hand wash plastic molds!  The heat from dishwashers can release toxins from the plastic which will get into your food the next time you use them.
  • Hold the popsicle mold in your hand (or run under warm, not hot, water) until the popsicle slides out easily.

Here’s a couple fabulous low oxalate popsicle recipes to get you started.  You may want to add more sugar if you aren’t on a controlled carbohydrate diet.  I tend to go really light on the sugar or sweetener because I don’t enjoy overly sweet desserts.

Coconut Cream Pops

1 14 oz. can coconut milk
1 cup milk or water (or go crazy and add more coconut milk . . .)
1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut (not flaked!)
3 tablespoons honey OR 1/4 cup powdered sugar OR 1/2 tsp. liquid Stevia (see note)
1 teaspoon coconut extract* (optional)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix all ingredients until well blended.  Pour into popsicle molds and freeze overnight (at least 6 hours.)

Yeild: about 3 cups popsicle mix (This makes 12-14 pops with my molds)

Note: You may want to add up to 3/4 cup powdered sugar to this recipe if you like things really sweet.

*Oxalate Note:  Coconut extract is an untested ingredient.  However, coconut is very low oxalate as are all tested extracts, so coconut extract is most likely okay.  The rest of the ingredients are very low oxalate except for the cinnamon which has 1.5 mg. oxalate per 1/4 teaspoon.

OXALATE UPDATE (Dec. 2011):  Cinnamon has been retested since I wrote this post and found to be high oxalate at 38.5 mg./teaspoon.  If you leave the 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon in, it will add about 1 mg. oxalate per pop–still low oxalate!  We like these just as well without the cinnamon, however, and nutmeg (9.4 mg. oxalate per teaspoon) is really nice in this recipe! 

Melon Pops

4 cups melon (muskmelon or watermelon for very low oxalate, honeydew or cantaloupe for low oxalate)
1/2 cup plain yogurt (optional)
1 cup apple juice (or orange juice or pineapple juice)

Put all of the ingredients in the blender and mix until well-pureed.  Pour the mix into popsicle molds and freeze overnight or at least 6 hours.  Alternatively, make different layers using watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew for a pastel-striped fun pop.  Let each layer set (about 3 hours) before adding the next layer.

Yeild: About 3 1/2 cups mix

Strawberry Lemonade Pops

8 ounces strawberries*
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup lemon juice (juice from 1 good-sized lemon or two smaller lemons)
3 tablespoons honey OR 1/4 cup confectioners sugar or 1/2 teaspoon liquid Stevia

Put all of the ingredients in the blender and blend until well mixed.  Put into popsicle molds and freeze overnight or at least 6 hours.

Yeild: about 3 cups popsicle mix

Oxalate Note:  Strawberries are a “lower” medium oxalate fruit with 7.8 mg. oxalate per 1/2 cup fresh strawberries.  Lemon juice and all  of the sweeteners are low or very low oxalate, so each pop (3 cups mix makes about 12-14 pops with my molds) is low oxalate.

Other Diets:  Coconut Cream Pops, Melon Pops, and Strawberry Lemonade Pops may be appropriate for gluten-free, dairy-free (use water instead of milk), controlled carbohydrate, and vegetarian diets with appropriate modifications.