The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish
June 14, 2010

Homemade “Power Bars” and “Wheat Thins” Without Plastic


You guys, I made Wheat Thins and fake Lara Bars this weekend! I actually baked without making a huge disaster. Not even a small disaster. And I cleaned up the kitchen too.

When I decided to live plastic-free, I had to give up energy bars, crackers, and most processed snack foods. Other plastic-free bloggers have found themselves with the same dilemma: how to munch without the plastic, as well as the additives that come in those crunchy snacks.

Healthy Snacks To GoWell, my blogger friend Katie from Kitchen Stewardship has published a whole e-Book called Healthy Snacks to Go. (If you purchase via links on this site, My Plastic-Free Life earns a small commission!) Katie sent me a copy to review, and what I love about this book is that most of the snack ideas can be made plastic-free.

Katie’s recipes are very, very easy to understand even for someone like me who is phobic about baking after an early pita bread fiasco left me covered in flour with nothing to show for my efforts but a bunch of tooth-breaking frisbees. Each recipe in the book is labeled with icons indicating features of that snack, such as whether there are certain allergens in it, how expensive it is to make, and how much work is required. The Power Bars I made (actually Power Balls) were “medium intensity” and the Wheat Thins are labeled “hard.” But honestly, if I could make them, how hard can they actually be???

Homemade “Power Bar” Balls

The ingredients for the Power Bars can be rolled out into bars or rolled up into balls. Balls are way easier for me, so that’s what I chose. There are 14 different Power Bar recipes in the book. Here are the ingredients for the one I decided to make. It’s a modified version of Katie’s Basic Date and Nut Bars using only ingredients I already had in the house:

Power Bars ingredients

1) Almonds from the Whole Foods bulk bin
2) Dates from Whole Foods bulk bin
3) Coconut from Whole Foods bulk bin
4) Cocoa Powder from Whole Foods bulk bin
5) Spectrum Organic Coconut Oil in glass jar (There is plastic inside the jar lid.)
6) Frontier Organic Fair Trade Vanilla in Glass bottle. Unfortunately, the cap and label are both plastic.
7) Tiny bit of maple syrup from Whole Foods bulk container (not shown). That ingredient was not part of Katie’s original recipe, but my sweet tooth required just a little extra sugar. :-)

I purchased all the bulk items using my own reusable bags and containers. And here is the result:

Homemade Power Bars

These balls were so delicious I had to restrain myself from eating them all at one time.

Homemade “Wheat Thins”

I just couldn’t believe I would be able to make crackers that actually tasted and crunched and stayed together like storebought crackers.  But I had to give this recipe a try because I used to love Wheat Thins, which I don’t buy anymore because of the plastic bag (inside the box) treated with BHT, a preservative suspected to cause cancer.

Here are the resulting “Wheat Thins” and the ingredients I used to make them:

Homemade Wheat Thins

1) Whole Wheat Flour from Whole Foods bulk bin
2) Salt (from cardboard box)
3) Organic Sugar (from Whole Foods bulk bin) but another sweetener could be used
4) Paprika, which came from a plastic bottle that I’ve had for over three years. Once this is gone, I’ll be able to switch to bulk paprika from Whole Foods.
5) Spectrum Organic Coconut Oil in glass jar.
6) Frontier Organic Fair Trade Vanilla in glass jar (with plastic cap and label)
7) Tap Water

Katie’s recipe actually calls for cold butter, but I didn’t have butter in the house because I am, as Alicia Silverstone calls it, “flirting” with veganism. And Katie assured me that coconut oil can pretty much always be substituted for butter in recipes. In this case, she was right!  I also sprinkled grated cheese on the tops of a few of the crackers before baking them because I am still working on that huge 12-pound wheel of cheese I wrote about last year, and because I am only “flirting” with veganism.

Katie’s recipe suggests using parchment paper, but I rolled out and baked mine right on a lightly greased stainless steel cookie sheet, and they came out just fine. They did not stick. They crunch like real crackers and taste much better than actual Wheat Thins. I used them to scoop up fresh hummus (the other ingredient in the photo above.) And you know what? Even though I had to bake and use a rolling pin and get flour all over the kitchen counters and myself and the floor, I would do it again!

Homemade Wheat Thins

In addition to the recipes, the book includes a handy list of snacks that are so easy and obvious that they don’t even require a recipe, and yet many of us forget about them when scrounging for something to eat.  But what really rocks my world is Katie’s list of strategies for “Reduced Waste Healthy Lunch Packing” at the back of the book. Not everyone who buys Katie’s book is thinking about reducing waste. They just want yummy snacks with whole ingredients. Well, packaging is an ingredient too, and Katie wants to remind people of that.

Don’t know how to use an e-Book? Don’t worry. Katie’s book has instructions for that too!


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94 Comments on "Homemade “Power Bars” and “Wheat Thins” Without Plastic"

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Those wheat thins look awesome. I have been looking for a better cracker recipe! I also wanted to share the simplest granola bar recipe ever. I make them for my kids all the time and can be made plastic free. All you do it warm 1 cup bulk almond butter and 1 cup local honey on low until they are warm enough to blend together. then stir it into 2 1/2 to 3 cups bulk oats (toasted or raw) and up to a cup of whatever you like. I do flaxseed, pecans, and chocolate chips, all on bulk. I also… Read more »

Sounds delicious! Thank you so much for posting this!

The granola bar recipe has piequed my interest! I love granola bars, but have been avoiding them for the last year or so.

And I’m all over that Wheat Thin recipe!

As soon as I saw the mention of a cracker recipe I had to have a look. That is the one that interests me the most because I have recipes for meusli bars and muffins. It would be great to have alternatives though – especially as they are placsic free!!
I’d like to see a plastic-free alternative for packets of dried fruit. There are some that use cardboard but many don’t and the cardboard is sometimes re-wrapped in plastic.

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[…] Homemade “Power Bars” and “Wheat Thins” Without Plastic […]

I am most interested in her reverse engineered larabars. I hadn’t heard that term “flirting with veganism” before, but that is a good description of me. I didn’t see when the deadline is for entering the giveaway, but I’m hoping since I didn’t see a winner announced that I’m not too late!

The powerbars and wheat thin crackers you made look amazing. I would also love to get my hands on the tater skin crispies. they sound delicious.

The banna flax muffins have perked my interest. I already make a mean pumpkin and apple-carrot muffin, but really don’t cook with bananas that much. Believe it or not, I have been thinking of adding more flax into my diet. I’ll have to see if flax seeds affect the apple carrot muffin taste too much.

I would love to win the book.

Mm, I’d love the banana muffins!

Mmmm… tater skin crispies! Honestly though, it all sounds really good :)


Oh, I’ve been on a quest for a wheat thins recipe. I just cannot seem to motivate myself to make crackers (which is odd, given that I bake bread all the time!). lol

I made the powerballs (or a close approximation of them, at any rate) and they are *awesome*! Also, mine came out to about $.50 a ball, and keeping in mind that I live in Hawaii–that is ridiculously cheap for a high energy/protein snackfood. Thanks so much for posting this. I might have forgotten all about my hairbrained idea of making my own.

The pumpkin muffins! No, the tater crisps! Oh, oh – so delicious!

I’d have to go for power bars/balls for the boy during his day at summer camp (they’re teaching him surfing!) and I’ll manage with creamy garlic veggie dip! MMmmmm…..

And . . . I’ll be coming back on a daily (reading) basis!

I’ve got to say that the Creamy Garlic Veggie Dip caught my attention the most. Stomach is definitely rumbling now.

I’ve already cut back majorly on unhealthy snacks like potato chips and Doritos, but if there was a healthy way I could make these myself, I’d be in some cheese-flavored version of heaven.

I would be super excited about all of the power bars for my kids but also for granola.

Peanut Butter Kisses! Assuming there is chocolate in them, that is.

Oh! Peanut Butter Kisses (after I go try the Wheat Thins)
Thank for adding me to the contest!

Oh protein bars. I am looking for a good recipe that is not too sweet, maybe this would be it? Or the popeye bars, always thinking about how to eat more spinach.
Thanks and hope I win!

Wow, You have totally inspired me to try this!

I need to try the Wheat Thins, I love the commercial version, but don’t buy them. I also like the sound of the stove top rice pudding.

Yummy! I’ve been trying out different homemade crackers lately, and am not 100% thrilled with the results, so I’d love the wheat thins recipe. My go-to plastic-free snack is popcorn (discovered this when trying to do the 100-mile diet a few years ago and had to take away the kiddies’ Cheddar Bunnies). I would love to find a plastic-free substitute for tortilla chips–we love our nachos (I do make my own tortillas–using masa harina, from a plastic bag; I could by local corn meal and garden lime and make my own masa, though) but I’m not thrilled at the idea… Read more »
Tammy (aka psmflowerlady)

What an awesome looking book – thanks for the giveaway opportunity – you’re nice to share. I have two teens in HS and my goal this summer is to find recipes for lunches and after-school snacks that are healthful and they will eat (they really are rather adventurous eaters, so it should be fun as well!). I’m definitely going to try the Wheat Thin recipe – thanks.

Thanks for hosting a great giveaway! I’d love to try the protein bars and the power bars/balls for my husband. He rides his bicycle a lot and buys individual packs wrapped in plastic. Hopefully, I can change his ways. :) And thanks for your site. I’ve learned a lot! ~~Rhonda

I have to pick one??? ;)

Ooooh, protein bars. Power bars. Rice pudding. *drools*

Oh my god, it looks like this is a giveaway in which I can participate, because you wouldn’t have to send anything by post, right? Yay!!! :D
I’d like to try this because this kind of ingredients are the ones I can get in bulk (oat, dried fruits, seeds, flour, cocoa, coconut) and are completely vegetarian and can be veganized, for what I see…
I’d love to try the pumpkin muffins!

Totally the smoothies and yogurt!

Yum! I know what I’m making this weekend!

I would love to try the homemade cinnamon applesauce.

I would also love to find to find a homemade alternative to Goldfish or really any cheesy type cracker.

I am a horrible mother because I won’t buy crackers.
Please save my children from the Children’s Aid by awarding me this book!

~ Crackerless in Toronto

Perfect timing Beth! I’m just about to make my own protein bars for the first time tonight. I’d love to check out Katie’s e-book and see how she handles protein bars!

Perfect timing Beth! I’m just about to make my own protein bars for the first time tonight. I’d love to check out Katie’s e-book and see how she handles protein bars!

Oh Beth! I’m so excited! Just last night, less than twelve hours ago, I was wondering aloud to my husband and roommate if I’d be able to make granola bars from scratch! And here before me appears a power ball recipe and wheat thins no less! Fantastic. Snack food is always a big deal for me because I’m hypoglycemic, and I especially need protein snacks when I’m exercising regularly (which currently I am). I refuse to buy packaged granola bars anymore because of the packaging, but what that really means is a lot of days I spend a lot of… Read more »

The wheat thin style crackers peak my interest for sure, but I’d also really like to try to protein bars. I just started making my own granola and would love to try my hand at other recipes!

I’d really love to try out the peanut butter kisses! The power balls look really good too! I work at a gym and those would be nice to have after my classes!

OOh. The peanut butter kisses are intriguing…but honestly the wheat thins are what is making me salivate most now.

Yours look delicious!

I would love to win this book! I think the Wheat Thin Style Crackers would be wonderful! Also, the peanut butter kisses would definitely be something I could make for my dad.

I don’t even have to head over to the book to figure out which one I wanted to try. I am still eating out of a box of Lara bars that I bought for the kids and Eduardo who decided that they didn’t like them after all even though they had eaten boxes of them previously. *ARGH* But once these were gone I thought I was going to have to just give it all up. I also eat crackers still and not particularly willing to give them up. So… your blog has actually hit the two things I would want… Read more »

always looking for good snacks especially for the kids

I’m definitely interested in learning how to make my own powerbars! That’s such a great idea.

I would love to try the fruit rolls for my girls – they’re always asking for the fruit rolls and gummi snacks at the store. I hope the recipe does not require a dehydrator, because I don’t own one.

For me, the peanut butter kisses and lara bars soud wonderful!

popeye bars?! Spinach (i assume) in a to go munchie? I’m intrigued!

I would love to know how to make fruit rolls.
I just love fruit, and while buying fruits involves very little plastic I have not yet found good recepies to make delicious snacks out of fruit.

Crackers—- all recipes about crackers. I would love a cracker replacement – I specifically have a slight addiction to stone wheat thins. I do worry about trying to make as many of the recipes as possible using local ingredients (like most stuff I eat) – but crackers have been my non-local, waste packaged weakness…so even with some non local ingredients required it is an improvement on the situation.

OMG homemade Wheat Thins! Youve given me a new reason to live LOL they are one of my most fav things and I miss them. But I had to do what was right for my body and my conscience, so this is super exciting to find out!!!

The tater skin crispies sounds yummy too! My hubby just introduced me to TGI Fridays potato skin chips and although delicious, they go against my feelings of right. So if they are anything like each other, Id be in heaven!

My nickname as a child was The Cracker Monster and I’m lovin’ the look of those Wheat Thins! Not something I have access to over here in Egypt. I’ve been making my own granola for a couple of years now so I’d be interested in learning about the Soaked Granola Bars.

That’s funny. This morning, I was wondering how could everybody give up snacks so easily! It’s easy for me not to buy food in containers. But snacks were more difficult. These are great ideas. Thanks, Beth.
I love Japanese snacks and Japanese tend to over-package everything. I hate to buy a plastic bagged rice crackers, which has another small plastic bags contain a few rice crackers for each serving! Too many wrappings!

soaked granola bars
all made me hungry!!!

Ok I’m definitely in for those power bars (no idea what larabars are but assume they’re some kind of muesli bar) I’m absolutely fed up with commercial ones in individual packages!

viv in nz

As I have never had a larabar and they look so good I am REALLY wanting to know what they are all about-since everyone is raving about them! I am always on the look out for snacks: healthy and garbage free. I find it hard when in the store, we are bombarded by products and marketing and my kids (2 and 4) “want things” that I won’t buy. I tell them that I make them real food with real ingredients and we don’t want the single use plastics, it’s wasteful and disrespectful to the planet. I don’t think they understand… Read more »

I am so excited about the wheat thins! Those look amazing.

The recipe for Cinnamon Apple Sauce intrigues me. I have convinced my boyfriend that we should sign up for an apples only CSA and really want to can tons of applesauce this fall, but I’ve never made applesauce before!

I’d be really curious to try the fruit roll recipes or the Wheat Thin-style crackers. Both are snacks I’ve enjoyed in the past, but am now passing up as I avoid plastic packaging.

Ooo, peanut butter kisses! Erm, I would love to see the 14 different variations on the power bars, too.

I’m still buying the crackers, and would love to be able to replace them with homemade if they weren’t too much trouble. Why, just today I was thinking to myself, “I love crackers!”

The homemade Lara bars…I love those!

I would love to see the power bar recipe. I like making muffins, popcorn, bread, etc for snacks. We are vegan and try not to eat out or eat much packaged foods. I’d love to get a look at Katie’s ebook. Thanks for sharing I look forward to reading more of her blog.

Cinnamon Rice Pudding. I always boil too much rice so it would be nice to find a good use for that. Unless the recipe requires uncooked rice, in which case I’d have to find another recipe… But I’d still make the pudding!
Commercial snacks wise, some time ago I made a lemon cheesecake with packaged Graham Crackers. I didn’t use all the crackers so I ended up on snacking them over two-months period. They were delicious (the cake was just as awesome, too). So, I’d love to find a replacement for Grahams crackers.

The one bowl muffins sound great!

Yum, I hope listing more than one disqualifies me. I can’t pick just one. The Peanut Butter kisses, all of the granola, power and protein bars. We hike a lot and I have bad habit stopping at McDonalds on the way home. I need to learn to start packing healthy snacks to satisfy my hunger. I have stopped buying microwave popcorn, until recently I never realized how bad it was for you. I love stovetop popcorn. Thanks for the sneak preview with the two recipes and introducing us to a better healthier lifestyle.

I would love to try the easy one-bowl muffins in this book. Anything made in one bowl sounds good and eliminating plastic is always a good thing, although somewhat difficult to do.
Keep up the good work – you inspire me!

Peanut butter kisses! Reece’s peanut butter cups are my weakness! Nothing better than plastic-free candy! :D

i have got to try those “wheat thins”! looks good.

What a great cookbook! Granola bars and the wheat thin crackers look like good ones to make. My kids are 3 and 5 years old and I make almost everything for them from scratch… except granola bars and crackers! I would love to start because I am sick and tired of saving all those wheat thins bags and trying to find new uses for them. I need to say good-bye to them!

Oh my goodness, those wheat thins look amazing! Also the Tater Skin Crispies…mmm…

I love this freaking blog!

Earlier on FB, you asked if we had “questions about alternatives to plastics”. I immediately thought about camping… but wanted to go back and say “gold fish” crackers. Having 3 children (ages 8 to almost 4!!) it’s quite hard navigating a plastic free world as far as snacks go (kids want the cool snacks). Of course, I make everything that I can… I have no fear of the kitchen ;) BUT… there are just somethings that I haven’t attempted yet, such as crackers. Wheat thin like crackers would be on my (personal) list. But… as I looked over her list,… Read more »

I hadn’t been tempted but your picture makes me want to try the Lara bar recipes.

Oh-Popeye bars sound delicious.

Thanks for sharing this gem.

So I made the Lara bars.. what did you do to “form them” I know the recipe said use saran wrap..
Also do you take jars to the whole foods to get your bulk? or how does that work?
We have a natural market and they sell things in plastic bags. I feel bad that it is already in the bags..
I have made the “Wheat Thins”.. I am so trying to avoid buying stuff like that.. my poor pantry is bare.. I need to get more ideas!
I have been making KS yogurt and storing in glass jars!
“Baby Steps” as Katie always says!

Katy, I formed mine into balls, not bars, so all I did to form them was roll them in my hands. Of course, I wouldn’t use saran wrap. Some of the instructions do need to be modified. Not all — but some.

I take my jars to Whole Foods and have them weighed at the customer service desk before I fill them up. That way, the cashier can deduct the weight of the container when I check out.

I’ve been drooling over that ebook for a week now … MAN I could put that thing to GOOD use!!

I’m REALLY interested in making the power bar balls!

Cold balsamic and spelt salad. I like balsamic vinegar and I like spelt, so I intrigued by the combo and by something that packs well for lunches.

OK my husband keeps asking me does it give nutritional content? we really want to make our own power bars so that we can use fair trade chocolate, and plastic free would be a huge bonus.
If I don’t win I am buying this book.
Thanks Beth

I’m keen to try the power bars. I do a lot of cycling and need snacks that can fit in the back of my cycle top that don’t end up melting with the heat coming off my back – I know gross! I’ve found it hard to replace plastic or foil wrapped commercial versions of these snacks – my versions end up crumbed in my pocket or a sticky mess that i can’t eat while cycling.

Hi Robin. The actual recipe is in the book!

I mostly want to learn how to make the Popeye Bars — I already make my kids lunch for school (or summer camp) every day, but being able to fill it with snacks made from scratch, and also apparently made from spinach? YAY!

Creamy Garlic Veggie Dip sounds very promising. I would love plastic-free recipes for Frito chips and peanut butter cups.

The power bars and the wheat thins interest me the most. I work long hour outside and like to bring a lot of snacks to keep me going. I do my best to make it as waste free as possible but sometimes the lure of prepackaged snacks is hard to resists.

I’m really interested in trying those Wheat Thins you made. It is difficult to find chips and stuff for lunches that don’t come in plastic.

The Wheat Thins. That is one of the hardest things for me to give up!

Hi Beth – those crackers look great. Can we get the actual recipe?

I have a five yr old who likes rice with her rice!! I’d love to try the Cinnamon Rice Pudding.

I would love to make the wheat thin crackers that you made-they look awesome!!! Crackers are actually the hardest thing I can think of to replace. My kids love crackers (graham, saltines, etc.) so this would be awesome! thanks for the chance :)

Your crackers look fantastic! If only, I weren’t gluten free. Peanut butter kisses sound pretty hot to me. Hope you make it to the BlogHer conference and thanks for all you do.

oh yum, those recipes look great! I’s have to go with either the reverse engineered lara bars, or the fruit rolls. I could eat fruit rolls for days. Thanks for the opportunity!

Awesome post! My daughter and I have been searching for options to the bags of convenience snack foods we seem to always end up with. It’s just too darned easy to sit down with a bag of chips or crackers or (my favorite) garlic parmesan panetini and mindlessly empty the bag without even realizing it. My guess is the wheat thins type crackers (which I’m really looking forward to trying) taste better because they contain real food and because you appreciate the effort put into making them. . .making them mindful as opposed to mindless. No plastic + good food… Read more »

ooo lots of them sound great. I would try the stovetop cinnamon rice pudding first I think!

Ugh, I had managed to block the BHT in some food bags out of my memory :(

Ahh! Since living garbage-free, I’ve very much missed my snacks – and sometimes, I don’t care how laden with dyes and chemicals they are, I just want my chips. I’ve actually been playing around with making my own crackers, but not with the same success you’ve had! So the cracker recipe defintely interests me. Also, I’d love to try the applesauce fruit rolls recipe, because I just got a food dehydrator for my birthday and now it’s play time. :)

I like the sound of peanut butter kisses…but really I’m all about the crackers, they’re a snack staple in our house and I haven’t dared to make my own yet.
Thanks for the chance

I have to pick just one?!?!

I already make granola and whole-grain muffins, and dry fruit for snacks but it would be nice to know the secrets to Larabars.

Originally I was just excited to see that you made Lara Bars — Lara bars! The snack of the gods! But then I saw there’s a recipe for Whole Wheat Banana Flax Muffins! Mmmmm. And Cinnamon Rice Pudding. Yummmmm.

And, OK, now I’m hungry!

Im interested in the popeye bars. I assume they would have something to do with spinach. I am vegan and try to shove spinach in just about everything because its so good for you.

I love the granola one. I would love to see if my kids would actually eat something healthy! Great giveaway.

This couldn’t have come at a better time. Summer is here and my 11-year-old twins are home. Ten minutes ago I passed my son leaving the pantry with a sleeve of Saltines, and inside I lamented, “I wish there was something else I could have handy for him that he’d like.” The recipe I’m most curious about has got to be the Tater Skin Crispies! My kids love potatoes, and if this can replace potato chips, I think it’d be a winner!

Well, I already make (plastic-free!) stovetop popcorn — with nutritional yeast — all the time, so that would have been my choice, but I’ve got it covered.

I’m inspired by the crackers you made, and curious about the peanut butter kisses.

I was so excited to find this link I cannot tell you…I love Lara Bars and I have made my own mixture of raw balls/bars.
AND, I am also passionate about not using plastic and purchasing so many snacks when I could make them at home – although they are handy when caught on the run…
Thank you so much for posting…