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Yummy Avocado Peanut Butter Bars

Written by Lindsey Arevalos, MHA, MS on in Health & Wellness

I am well-known among family and friends for my experimentation with recipes in the kitchen. For as long as I’ve been cooking, I’ve always sought ways to improve recipes and make them healthier and better tasting for myself and others.

I am well-known among family and friends for my experimentation with recipes in the kitchen. For as long as I’ve been cooking, I’ve always sought ways to improve recipes and make them healthier and better tasting for myself and others.

For this recipe, I found my inspiration on the back of a package of Nestle’s morsels. Anyone who spends time in the kitchen knows that store-bought packaging often includes helpful culinary tips or recipes. My goal for the first round of this recipe makeover was increasing fiber and reducing added sugar.

My first round involved reducing the refined carbohydrate and added sugar content found in the original recipe. Wanting to know how the changes impacted the taste, I found a willing group of test subjects – also known as my coworkers. They were unaware of the changes I made and loved the taste. Healthy and tastes good? Check!

The second test round built upon the first – but this time I took aim at the fat content in the recipe. The goal of this round of recipe development was to build upon the first round by reducing the amount of fat, especial saturated fat, and replacing it with mono- and polyunsaturated fats – you know, the “good” fats. I accomplished this by using avocado.

The result was even more successful than the first recipe. The bars were more moist, tastier and more tender than the first attempt. I knew I’d earned a gold star when a friend who reportedly “can’t stand peanut butter” couldn’t tell there was any peanut butter in the recipe. The taster dubbed it “very good.”

These simple changes show that virtually any home baker can make some small changes to a standard recipe for a healthier outcome.

The results of the recipe makeover:

Original Recipe Julie’s Healthier Version Difference
Calories 360 212 40% Fewer
Protein 4 4 No Change
Fat 41 17 59% less!
Carbohyrdrates 44 23 ½ the carbs
Fiber 0 2 Twice as much
Sugar 30 14 Less than ½ the added sugar

Recipie: Avocado Peanut Butter Bar

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • ¾ cup peanut butter powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ mashed avocado (can use products such as wholly guacamole)
  • 2/3 cup unpacked brown sugar
  • ¼ cup Truvia baking blend
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ of an 11-ounce package toll house peanut butter and milk chocolate morsels

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees f. Grease an 8-inch cake pan with your method of choice, such as cooking spray, canola oil, coconut oil. Set aside until ready to use.
  2. Combine flour, peanut butter powder and baking soda in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a separate large bowl, cream avocado, brown sugar and truvia until combined. Add in canola oil, vanilla, and eggs and beat until creamy. Fold in dry ingredients until combined. Stir in morsels.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool.
  6. Cut into 16 squares and serve.
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Author: Lindsey Arevalos, MHA, MS, PRIME Project Coordinator

Lindsey Arevalos is Lompoc Valley Medical Center’s Director of Food and Nutrition Services and PRIME Project Coordinator, managing federal funding opportunities and coordinating multiple projects to improve the health care delivery system under the Affordable Care Act. She earned a bachelor of science degree in nutrition, with a minor in psychology, from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. She also holds a Master’s of Science in Agriculture with a specialization in food science and nutrition and a Master’s of Health Administration in Operations from Cal Poly.