Protein bars can be a great, effortless way to increase your protein intake or keep you going until your next meal. They work nicely for a great on-the-go travel snack or quick meal replacement. But, homemade protein bars can provide the nutrition you need without the extra additives.
There’s no denying the convenience they provide for all of us who are super busy and just want something healthy and quick pre or post-workout. There are even some fairly decent options that you can buy in the store these days. However, many store-bought varieties are packed with processed ingredients, too much sugar, extra additives, and can be very costly if you’re on a budget.
Not So Good for You After All
Unfortunately, way too many of the bars on the market contain a lengthy list of hard to pronounce ingredients, are loaded with hydrogenated oil (aka trans fats), too much sugar—or even worse, artificial sugar that is known to wreak havoc on our digestive systems. Emergency bathroom run at the gym anyone? No thanks!
Additionally, in order to remain shelf-stable, they may contain all sorts of preservatives and a bunch of fillers that are void of nutrients. They may throw in some extra vitamins and minerals, and fiber – but seriously, you can get that on your own with real food. Some bars on the market are basically nothing more than glorified candy bars.
The Solution: Easy to Make Homemade Protein Bars
That’s where homemade protein bars come into play. By making your own bars, you are in complete control over the ingredients and flavors. You have the freedom to customize the macronutrient profile, sugar content, and salt levels to suit your personalized preferences. They are simple to make and require just a few ingredients that you probably already have on hand. Many recipes do not even require any cooking at all. So, no pressure! I find it fun to play around with the ingredients to create new flavors and textures.
To get started, choose from the many types of protein powder to pick one that matches your needs. Then, try one of the recipes below. I promise, once you start making your own at home, you will never turn back. You’ll end up with healthier, tastier bars that will save you a ton of money in the long run. For starters, try this recipe below.
No-Bake Nut-Butter DIY Protein Bars
Adapted from Sweet Peas and Saffron
- ½ cup of your favorite protein powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- ½ cup natural nut butter
- ¼ cup real maple syrup
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp of water or milk if needed to form a batter
*Optional Toppings: crushed nuts and seeds, unsweetened shredded coconut, cocoa nibs, mini dark chocolate chips, dried fruit, granola
- Combine protein powder, cinnamon, and rolled oats in either a food processor or high-speed blender. Blend until the oats are powdery and everything is blended.
- Melt the coconut oil in a small microwave-safe bowl. Stir in the nut butter, maple syrup, and vanilla extract until smooth.
- Add the liquid ingredients a little at a time until the mixture is completely blended together. You may need to work the mixture a bit to get all the ingredients to be well mixed.
- If the mixture is too dry, add 1 tbsp of either water or milk at a time to get the right texture. Blend as needed.
- Line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Scoop the mixture into the pan and press firmly down with a spatula.
- Sprinkle with desired toppings.
- Freeze mixture for a minimum of 30 minutes before slicing into bars.
- Keep bars in the fridge or freezer as they become soft at room temperature.
Feel free to use any type of nut butter you like. I suggest experimenting with your preferred tastes and textures. Sky’s the limit!
- Serving – 1 bar
- Kcals – 210
- Carbs – 18 g
- Pro – 14 g
- Fat – 10 g
No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bars
- 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/4 cup honey or coconut palm syrup, if vegan
- 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/3 cup ground flaxseed meal
- 1/2 cup protein powder
- 2.5 ounces 85% dark chocolate bar
|1. In a medium bowl mix the peanut butter, honey, coconut oil, vanilla until smooth. Add in the ground flaxseed meal and protein powder of choice and mix using clean hands until it becomes a cookie-like dough.||3. Make the chocolate layer by adding 2.5 ounces of dark chocolate to a small saucepan and melt until completely smooth. Pour the melted chocolate over the cookie dough until the whole surface is fully covered.|
|2. Press into an 8×4 inch pan lined with parchment paper.||4. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour before slicing into bars or squares. Bars will keep for up to two weeks.|