Soy Power Honey Peanut Butter Energy Bites

Need an energy boost? When I’m craving a candy bar but want to make a healthier choice, I grab some homemade Soy Power Honey Peanut Butter Energy Bites (recipe below). If you like peanut butter and honey, you’re going to love these power-packed, no-bake treats, just in time for Soyfoods Month in April.

Since I’m on the road a lot for my job, I love to take these Soy Power Honey Peanut Butter Energy Bites along for a convenient, no-guilt snack. In my last batch of Energy Bites, I had the chance to include some fabulous wildflower honey from Iowa’s own Amana Colonies, a food lover’s dream destination.

I also love supporting a locally-grown product, since Iowa is America’s leading soybean producer. Did you know soyfoods provide the only plant-based complete protein, which contains all essential amino acids just like animal protein? Unlike many other protein sources, soyfoods are cholesterol-free and low in saturated fat, too.

Soy Power Honey Peanut Butter Energy Bites

1¼ cup old fashioned oats
3 tablespoons shredded coconut
½ cup almonds, cashews or nuts of your choice, finely chopped
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds or flax seeds
1 scoop soy protein powder
½ cup honey
2/3 cup dried apricots (chopped) or dried cherries, blueberries, or cranberries
½ cup peanut butter

In a medium bowl combine the oats, coconut, chopped nuts, sunflower seeds and soy protein powder. Stir until well distributed. Add the honey, dried fruit and peanut butter. Stir well. Chill mixture for about 20 to 30 minutes. Roll into rounded balls. (makes about 2 dozen)  

Say yes to soy

While Iowa consistently ranks among the leading soybean-producing states in America, many Iowans didn’t grow up eating soyfoods. Some even wrinkle up their nose when soyfoods are mentioned.

It’s time to think beyond tofu, says Linda Funk, executive director of the Soyfoods Council.

 “When it comes to soyfoods, first it’s why, then it’s how,” Linda told me. “People want to know why they should consider more soyfoods. Then they want to learn how to add them to their meals.”

Soy offers a nutritious, lean, complete protein that’s low in saturated fat, making it a great addition to a balanced diet. According to the Soyfoods Council, soy also provides:

  • Improved heart health. Consuming 25 grams of soy protein per day in the context of a healthy diet may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Soy protein also provides a cholesterol-lowering effect.
  • Reduced menopausal symptoms. Soy isoflavones have been shown in a variety of studies to reduce both the frequency and severity of hot flashes in menopausal women.
  • Better control of “diabesity.” Soyfoods can help manage diabesity, which includes the form of diabetes that typically develops in later life and is associated with being obese. People with diabetes have an increased risk of kidney and heart disease. Soy protein has been found to place less stress on the kidneys than animal protein. Because higher protein diets may aid in weight loss, soyfoods can play a role in fighting diabesity.
  • Reduced risk of breast cancer. The American Cancer Society notes that breast cancer patients can safely consume soyfoods. In addition, research strongly suggests that girls who consume soyfoods during childhood and/or adolescence may reduce the risk of breast cancer later in life by up to 50 percent.
  • Control of prostate cancer. There is evidence in both animals and humans that soy isoflavones help stop prostate cancer from spreading to other tissues. They also lessen the side effects of radiation and inhibit the development of prostate tumors.

Let’s get cooking

Making soyfoods part of a healthy lifestyle is simple. “It’s fun to ask, ‘How can I soy-ize’ more of my meals?’” says Linda, who noted that many soy products are located in the health section of local grocery stores.

  • Edamame. With 10 grams of protein per half-cup serving, this fiber-rich, no-cholesterol vegetable is a great snack, side dish or recipe ingredient. “Edamame is a no-brainer to add more soy to your meals,” says Linda, who incorporates the beans into salads, soups and stew. “Try growing some edamame in your own garden — the plants like full sun and adapt to most soil types.”
  • Soy flour.  This is a simple option to add more protein to your food. “If a recipe calls for 1 cup of wheat flour, you can substitute one fourth to one third with soy flour,” Linda says.
  • Miso. A staple of Japanese cuisine, miso is the elegant Japanese term for fermented soybean paste. Sometimes described as a supercharged Asian mayonnaise, miso adds an appealing, nutty undertone and “meaty” depth of flavor. “You only need a little bit, perhaps a tablespoon or two, to get the flavor,” said Linda, who noted that more American chefs are using miso in their culinary creations. “Miso creates the intense, complex, fine flavor known as umami.”
  • Textured soy protein (TSP). Also known as textured vegetable protein (TVP), this handy soyfood is a worthy addition to cookie recipes. If a cookie recipe calls for 3 cups of oatmeal, for example, substitute 1 1 / 2 cups with TSP. “It adds a slightly crunchy texture,” says Linda, who noted that TSP can also be used as a meat extender in meatloaf, stews, soups, chili and more. “Instead of 2 pounds of hamburger, use 1 pound of hamburger and 2 cups of TSP.”
  • Soy nuts and soynut butter. Soy nuts offer a tasty, simple snack, says Linda, who added that soynut butter is a good option for people who suffer from peanut allergies.
  • Tofu. Silken tofu works best in recipes that require a creamy finish such as salad dressings, dips or desserts (think healthy cheesecake), while water-packed tofu works best when used in slices or cut into cubes to hold its shape for sautéing or stir frying. “Like most soy products, tofu takes on flavors of other ingredients in the dish,” Linda says. “Give it a try and play around with it.”

For more recipes and soyfood information, visit the Soyfoods Council.  

Copyright 2016 Darcy Maulsby