DIY Protein Bars: Healthy Bars In 5 Easy Steps
It's a recurrent scene at health food stores worldwide: people parked on the protein bar aisle reading the ingredient list and macronutrient breakdown of protein bar after protein bar. Eventually, somebody might settle on one, but a fair amount just sigh and return the bar to its place on the shelf.
Picking out a wholesome and nutritious protein bar is no easy task. Far too many bars—the majority, in fact—contain an inordinate amount of sugar, hydrogenated oil, preservatives, and a whole list of fillers and other nutritionally-void ingredients. Despite the downsides of packaged protein bars, we continue to buy them because they contain protein, they're convenient, they're easy to carry, and they're supposed to be healthy—even though the worst bars are just glorified candy bars.
This article is designed to make the madness stop. Once you start making your own protein bars, I promise you won't ever want to step food in the protein-bar aisle again. By making your own, you'll end up with bars that are far tastier, far healthier, far easier and far, far cheaper in the long run. Plus, because you made them yourself, you'll have the added bonus of feeling oh-so-proud.
Steps to Protein-Bar Mastery
Making a protein bar at home could not be any easier. With these simple steps, anyone can master it!
Select your protein powder and add a type of flour to it. Makes sure to select a flour that can be eaten raw: coconut flour, almond flour, or a grain-based flour like oat flour or quinoa flour are all good choices.
Bind the powder and flour with milk. You can use cow's milk, coconut milk in a carton, or a tasty nut milk like almond milk. If you want, you can also add nut butter. You want to add enough liquid, (and nut butter if you like), to make the batter come together like dough. The goal is to end up with a batter that you can form into bars with your hands.
Shape the above batter into bars.
If, after mixing your ingredients, your batter is too moist or sticky to mold, add a tiny bit of coconut flour or casein powder until you get the desired consistency. You want to be able to shape the bars, so getting the batter dry enough is essential.
If, after mixing your ingredients, the batter is too dry, add a bit of milk until you get the desired consistency. Don't make it too liquid-y though, or you'll have to go back to adding flour.
Melt some chocolate in a bain-marie or in a glass bowl on top of a pot of boiling water. Once it's melted, dunk the bars in the chocolate or pour it over the bars.
I like to coat my bars in 90-100% chocolate, but you can go as dark (or light) as you want. Obviously, the darker the chocolate, the less sugar and more antioxidant goodness it contains. In my experience, really bitter chocolate goes extremely well with sweet fillings. But like I say, it's up to you.
Place bars in the freezer for at least 30 minutes and BOOM! They're ready to pack up and take with you or you can eat them on the spot!
My Favorites, Bar None
Below are some of my favorite protein bar recipes. Remember, once you get the hang of this, experiment with ingredients. Set your creative, food-loving inner child loose!
Try adding nuts, flavorings, spices, seeds, or dried fruit to the batter before you shape it. You can also bind the bars with cream instead of milk and use more unusual nut and seed butters in the mix. It's also fine to tweak them so they better fit your macros. Bite into some bliss!
Serving Size (Makes 3 medium-sized bars)
- 1/2 cup of Organic Unflavored or Vanilla Whey Protein Powder
- 3/4 cup of Ground Almonds
- 1/4 cup of Coconut Flour
- 3/4 cup of Goji Berries
- 1/4 cup of Coconut Milk (from the carton, not the can)
- 1 tbsp of Vanilla Essence
- 1 tbsp of grated Orange Rind (optional, but highly recommended!)
- 1 tsp of Chili Powder (optional but highly recommended; it gives the bars a really nice kick)
- 40 grams melted 85% Dark Chocolate
Serving Size (Makes 5 small bars)
Serving Size (Makes 4 medium bars)
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