Protein is arguably the most important nutrient for people who work out. When you exercise, your muscles are broken down in a process called catabolism. After your workout, when you rest and sleep, your body repairs this damage, a process called anabolism.
The muscle repair process requires protein, which contains substances called amino acids. Your body uses amino acids like building blocks, shoring up and reinforcing the damaged muscle cells so that they become bigger and stronger.
While opinions vary, most nutrition experts believe that exercisers should eat about 1.8 to 2.0 grams per kilo of body weight. That’s about 0.8 to 1.0 grams per pound. The heavier you are, and the harder you work out, the more protein you need. Consuming too little protein could severely undermine your training progress.
Eating enough protein is not always easy. High-protein foods, such as meat, fish, eggs, and dairy, usually require cooking and are not always portable or convenient to eat. You can use protein powder to increase your protein intake, but a lot of people prefer to eat their protein rather than drink it.
Protein bars are an excellent alternative because they’re both portable and convenient and taste good too.
While there is nothing particularly wrong with buying your protein bars, you’ll have more control over your diet if you make your own homemade protein bars.
Homemade protein bars are usually more natural than the store-bought version, and you can easily modify your chosen recipe to suit your tastes and nutritional needs.
Homemade Protein Bars
Can I Make My Own Protein Bars?
Making your own protein bars can be very straightforward. In fact, if you hunt around the internet, you’ll find lots of recipes to try, many of which don’t even need baking. But there is a drawback – they won’t taste much like the protein bars you can buy in stores and gyms.
Many commercially-made protein bars taste a lot like candy bars, and there are even high-protein versions of things like Snickers and Mars bars to buy. Made using machines and processes and ingredients that aren’t typically available to home bakers, your homemade protein bars can’t compare to something bought from a store.
That said, your homemade protein bars will be fresher and contain all-natural ingredients, so, potentially, they could be healthier too. However, you probably won’t confuse it with a candy bar!
What Ingredients Make a Good Homemade Protein Bar?
Homemade protein bars vary from one recipe to the next, but common ingredients include:
- Agave syrup
- Almond butter
- Almond flour
- Almond milk
- Cocoa powder and nibs
- Coconut flour
- Coconut oil
- Dark chocolate chips
- Maple syrup
- Oats, oatmeal, and rolled oats
- Peanut butter
- Sea salt
- Sunflower seeds
- Whey protein powder
Needless to say, you should use the ingredients that are listed in your chosen recipe. However, you can modify any recipe using these (and other) ingredients, such as replacing peanut butter with almond butter or using calorie-free agave syrup instead of applesauce for sweetness.
How to Make Your Own Protein Bars?
Ready to make your own homemade protein bars? Here’s an easy recipe to get you started! These protein bars are quite high in carbs, but that just means they’re ideal for a post-workout snack. If you want a lower-carb bar, reduce the amount of oats and increase the protein powder.
- ¾ cup smooth peanut butter (not reduced fat)
- ⅓ cup honey (or use agave syrup to save calories)
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 cups rolled oats
- ½ cup vanilla protein powder
- 3 tablespoons flaxseed meal
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅓ cup mini chocolate chips
1. Line an 8-inch x 8-inch baking tray with parchment.
2. Fill a saucepan with water and heat it to a simmer. Remove from the heat. Place a heatproof bowl on top of the pan. Place the peanut butter, honey, and coconut oil in the bowl. Stir and combine.
3. Add the oats, protein powder, salt, flaxseeds, and cinnamon. Stir to combine. Take the bowl out of the saucepan and allow it to cool for five minutes.
4. Next, stir in the chocolate chips and then pour and press the mixture into your prepared baking tray.
5. Refrigerate for at least an hour before cutting into eight equal slices.
Nutrition Per Serving
Protein – 10 grams
Carbohydrates – 25 grams
Fiber – 3 grams
Fat – 14 grams
Place the bars in an airtight container and store for up to a week at room temperate. Alternatively, they’ll last for two weeks if refrigerated. They can also be frozen for 3-6 months.
Store-bought protein bars are often all but free from sugar and carbs. That’s because they’re sweetened with things like sugar alcohols and held together with artificial setting agents and emulsifiers.
Homemade protein bars are invariably more natural, and that may mean they’re healthier. They’re usually cheaper and often taste better, too.
Finding your perfect homemade protein bar recipe may take a few attempts, and you’ll probably need to modify and finetune your ingredients to make the best possible version. However, once you master making your own protein bars, you’ll be rewarded with a bar that matches not just your nutritional needs but your taste buds too.