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Protein bites pack refueling punch after enjoying winter outdoor activities

Protein bites are a great snack to tote along with us on our winter adventures.
Protein bites are a great snack to tote along with us on our winter adventures.
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The snow keeps falling back East, but the West is enjoying an unusally mild winter. Even though backyards and parks might not be snow-covered, there are still plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. Hiking trails usually traversed only in summer are open and dry near my home, and my family has been out and about more than usual.

We've found a great snack to tote along with us on our winter adventures. Protein bites are versatile, healthful and easily modified for dietary needs. Protein bites need to stay cool to retain their shape, so put them in a cooler to enjoy as you get out this winter.

Protein Bites

1 cup oatmeal (rolled or regular oats pulsed in a food processor if you prefer them less coarse)

½ cup nut butter (like peanut, almond or cashew)

¼ cup honey

1 cup unsweetened coconut

½ cup ground flaxseed

1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1 teaspoon vanilla

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together thoroughly by hand or using a food processor. Then scoop 1-2 tablespoons of the mixture into your hands and roll into a ball. Place balls in a container and refrigerate.

Variations are endless. You can use other grains, try agave nectar instead of honey, add in sunflower seeds or nuts for more crunch and switch the fruit or eliminate it. It's a quick protein pick-me-up.

Amy M. Peterson, a former high school English teacher, currently lives in Oregon with her husband and four children. She spends her days writing, reading, exercising and trying to get her family to eat more vegetables.