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Homemade Protein Bars Are The Best Substitutions to Ready-Made Pricey Snacks!

Homemade Protein Bars Are The Best Substitutions to Ready-Made Pricey Snacks!

Protein bars are all the rage and it’s no wonder, they pack some serious nutrition in the size of a candy bar! The market is so huge, between parents on the go and the casual exercise fanatic, that a trip into the grocery store can lead you wondering just how healthy a protein bar really is.

The Nutrition Behind a Protein Bar

Proteins bars are full of protein from milk, soy, and/or eggs. You will also find that protein bars are full of fiber, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals. They offer benefits to a wide variety of people.

People looking to change eating habits for health purposes, or to lose weight, can include protein bars for snacking so that they can avoid the unhealthy options they are used to. The protein in the bar will fill them up and keep them feeling satiated for longer. The fiber allows their systems to adjust to the new diet change that could result in short term digestion issues. The carbohydrates can recharge them if they are feeling sluggish. The fats, vitamins, and minerals can keep their health in balance.

For the athlete or the regular gym attendee, the protein bar easily offers a fast recharge and satiation from feeling hunger and depleted after a grueling workout or sports match. For those engaged in weight training, protein bars support the continuing muscle building that happens during the time when we aren’t working out.

Why should we eat protein bars?

There are plenty of pros when it comes to eating protein bars for weight loss, health improvement, and athletic support. They are:

  • help build and maintain muscle mass for weight loss
  • improve red blood cell function to improve wounds or muscle tears
  • provide extra boosts of energy

As far as cons go, the major issue is relying on a protein bar for your nutritional needs. Although protein bars provide plenty for positive health, we cannot rely on protein bars alone. Eating well balanced healthy meals and using protein bars occasionally will help your health in generous ways.

Save Money, Make Your Own!

Protein bars can be pricey, it’s absolutely best to make them at home and save yourself some money. One of the best reasons to making your own is you can personalize your bar to fit your tastes and goals. Here are some basic no-bake recipes that you can practice with. Don’t be shy about changing it up!

Peanut Butter Brownie Balls

    Ingredients:

    2 cups raw almonds

    20 medjool dates, pitted

    1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (we used dark cocoa powder)

    1/2 cup all-natural peanut butter

    3 tablespoons maple syrup

    1/8 teaspoon sea salt

    Procedure:

    • Place almonds into a food processor and process on high until you’ve created a fine almond meal.
    • Next, pit 20 medjool dates. Then, add those into the food processor along with the cocoa powder, peanut butter, maple syrup, and sea salt. Process on high until everything is pulverized. You may need to add a few teaspoons of water to the mixture depending on how sticky your dates are.
    • Scoop a heaping tablespoon of dough into your hands and roll into a ball. Repeat.
    • Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

    Easy 3 Ingredient Protein Bar

      Ingredients:

      1 cup quick oats, divided

      3 scoops flavoured protein powder of choice (30 gram scoops)*

      1/2-1 cup dairy free milk of choice**

      Sweetener of choice***

      Optional- Add ins of choice (I used dairy free chocolate chips and vegan white chocolate chips)

      Procedures:

      • Line a deep baking dish with baking paper and set aside.
      • Divide half the quick oats and blend them to a flour.
      • Combine the oats and protein powder in a large mixing bowl. Slowly add the milk of choice until a very thick batter is formed. Stir through your add ins of choice and transfer to baking dish and press firmly. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm. Cut into bars and enjoy!

      Peanut Butter Protein Bars

        Ingredients:

        1⁄2 cup skim milk

        1 cup natural-style peanut butter or 1 cup low-fat peanut butter

        1 tablespoon honey

        1 1⁄4 -1 1⁄2 cups of whey protein powder (I use vanilla, but I’m sure chocolate would work too)

        2 cups dry uncooked oatmeal (not quick cooking kind)

        Procedures:

        • Combine peanut butter, honey and milk in a pot.
        • Warm over low heat. Add the protein powder and mix well.
        • Add the oats. You don’t want to cook it, just warm it through so you can stir it. Add more milk if it is too thick to stir.
        • Press in a 9″ x 13″ pan. Let the bars sit until cool, and cut into 16 equal sized bars.
        • Wrap each bar in foil or Saran wrap and store in plastic baggies. They do not need refrigeration.

        DIY Protein Bars

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          Ingredients:

          1 cup protein powder, your favorite flavor

          1 cup flour (your choice of coconut, almond, oat, or quinoa)

          1/4 cup milk (cow, coconut, or almond)

          16 oz of dark chocolate (the darker the better), melted

          Procedures:

          • Mix your protein and flour together.
          • Bind together with milk to create a dough. If too hard, add small amounts of milk. If too wet, add a bit more protein and flour.
          • Shape the dough into bars and place on parchment or wax paper.
          • Pour the melted chocolate over the bars.
          • Freeze the bars for 30 minutes.

          Alton Brown’s Protein Bars

            Ingredients:

            4 ounces soy protein powder, approximately 1 cup

            2 1/4 ounces oat bran, approximately 1/2 cup

            2 3/4 ounces whole-wheat flour, approximately 1/2 cup

            3/4-ounce wheat germ, approximately 1/4 cup

            1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

            3 ounces raisins, approximately 1/2 cup

            2 1/2 ounces dried cherries, approximately 1/2 cup

            3 ounces dried blueberries, approximately 1/2 cup

            2 1/2 ounces dried apricots, approximately 1/2 cup

            1 (12.3-ounce) package soft silken tofu

            1/2 cup unfiltered apple juice

            4 ounces dark brown 2 large whole eggs, beaten

            2/3 cup natural peanut butter

            Canola oil, for pan,

            Procedures:

            • Line the bottom of a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish with parchment paper and lightly coat with canola oil. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
            • In a large mixing bowl, combine the protein powder, oat bran, wheat flour, wheat germ, and salt. Set aside.
            • Coarsely chop the raisins, dried cherries, blueberries and apricots and place in a small bowl and set aside.
            • In a third mixing bowl, whisk the tofu until smooth. Add the apple juice, brown sugar, eggs, and peanut butter, 1 at a time, and whisk to combine after each addition.
            • Add this to the protein powder mixture and stir well to combine.
            • Fold in the dried fruit. Spread evenly in the prepared baking dish and bake in the oven for 35 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 205 degrees F.
            • Remove from the oven and cool completely before cutting into squares.
            • Cut into squares and store in an airtight container for up to a week. approximately 1/2 cup packed

            Banana Oatmeal Protein Bars

              Ingredients:

              2 cups gluten-free rolled oats

              1 cup mashed banana

              2/3 cup vanilla protein powder

              1/2 cup peanut butter, slightly melted

              1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries

              1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut

              1/2 cup chopped raw almonds

              1/4 cup brewed sweet and spicy black tea

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              2 tablespoons chia seeds

              1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

              1 teaspoon vanilla extract

              1/4 cup coconut, or to taste (optional)

              Procedures:

              • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8-inch square pan.
              • Mix oats, banana, protein powder, peanut butter, cranberries, 1/2 cup coconut, almonds, tea, chia seeds, cinnamon, and vanilla together in a large mixing bowl; spread into prepared pan. Top with 1/4 cup coconut.
              • Bake bars until lightly browned, 25 to 30 minutes. Set aside to cool until they set completely, at least 15 minutes.

              Peanut Butter Banana Protein Bars

                Ingredients:

                2 cups quick cooking oats

                1 cup protein powder

                1/4 cup whole wheat flour

                1 tablespoon ground flax seed

                1 cup peanut butter

                1/4 cup honey

                2 very ripe bananas

                Procedures:

                • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment.
                • Spread oats out onto an unlined baking sheet in a thin layer, and toast until lightly browned, about 10 minutes; remove and allow to cool.
                • Mix together the cooled oats, protein powder, whole wheat flour, and flax seed until thoroughly combined, and mix with peanut butter and honey.
                • Mash the bananas into the mixture, and stir to combine.
                • Press the dough down onto the parchment-lined baking sheet in a 1/2-inch layer.
                • Bake in the preheated oven until the edges of the dough are golden brown, about 15 minutes; cut into bars while warm, and allow the bars to cool.
                • Wrap bars in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use.

                Rice Cereal Energy Bars

                  Ingredients:

                  1/2 cup sesame seeds

                  1/2 cup sunflower seeds

                  1 pinch salt

                  1/2 cup chopped dates

                  1/2 cup raisins

                  1/2 cup dried apricots

                  1/2 cup dried cherries

                  1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

                  1 cup rolled oats

                  7 cups crisp rice cereal

                  1 cup corn syrup

                  1 cup white sugar

                  1 1/2 cups crunchy peanut butter

                  1 cup powdered milk

                  1 teaspoon vanilla extract

                  1/2 teaspoon almond extract

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                  Procedures:

                  • Combine the sesame seeds and sunflower seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat.
                  • Cook, stirring until fragrant and toasted. Salt lightly, and set aside to cool.
                  • Combine the dates, raisins, apricots, cherries, chocolate chips and the toasted seeds in the container of a food processor.
                  • Pulse to chop until small but not pasty. Transfer to a large bowl, and mix with oats and crisp rice cereal.
                  • In a small glass bowl, mix together the corn syrup, sugar and peanut butter.
                  • Heat in the microwave until bubbly.
                  • Stir in the powdered milk, vanilla, and almond extract.
                  • Pour the peanut butter mixture over the bowl of cereal and goodies, and mix with a wooden spoon until everything is evenly coated.
                  • Press the mixture into a greased 10×15 inch jellyroll pan using wet hands.
                  • Cut into squares, and allow to cool completely before removing from the pan.

                  Homemade Blueberry Protein Bars

                    Ingredients:

                    1 1⁄2 cups vanilla protein powder (whey)

                    1 cup whole oats

                    4 tablespoons honey

                    1⁄4 cup ground flax seeds (optional)

                    1 cup blueberries (thawed)

                    2 tablespoons sugar substitute

                    2⁄3 cup skim milk

                    2 teaspoons olive oil

                    Procedures:

                    • Preheat oven to 350°F.
                    • Chop oats in food processor or blender. In large bowl, add all ingredients, except oil; mix well.
                    • Use oil to grease a 9×9-inch baking dish and line the bottom with foil (to prevent sticking).
                    • Pour mixture into pan and bake for 25 minutes.
                    • Let cool completely before cutting into 6 bars.

                    Carrot Cake Protein Bars

                      Ingredients:

                      1 cup oat flour

                      2 scoops vanilla whey protein

                      2 teaspoons cinnamon

                      1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda

                      1⁄4 teaspoon salt

                      1⁄8 teaspoon allspice

                      1⁄8 teaspoon nutmeg

                      2 eggs

                      1 egg white

                      1⁄2 cup stevia, in the raw

                      8 ounces pureed carrots

                      2 ounces water

                      Procedures:

                      • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
                      • Mix flour, whey protein, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl.
                      • Mix egg whites, stevia, carrots, and water (optional) in a bowl.
                      • Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix together.
                      • Spray 8×8 glass pyrex dish with non-stick butter spray.
                      • Pour ingredients into dish.
                      • Bake for 20-30 minutes.
                      • Let cool and cut into 8 bars.

                      Almond Banana Protein Bars

                        Ingredients:

                        1 banana

                        1 cup rolled oats, Ground

                        3 egg whites

                        1 tablespoon honey

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                        3 tablespoons almond butter

                        1 teaspoon salt

                        1⁄4 cup pumpkin seeds, ground

                        1⁄4 cup sesame seeds, ground

                        1⁄4 cup sunflower seeds, ground

                        1⁄3 cup soy milk, unsweetened

                        1⁄2 cup spelt flour

                        1 cup protein powder, vanilla

                        1⁄2 teaspoon butter

                        Procedures:

                        • Mash banana. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
                        • Coat a 9×9 pan with butter and pour mixture in pan.
                        • Bake at 325 for 20-25 minutes.
                        • Cut into 10 bars.

                        Sweet Veggie Protein Bars

                          Ingredients:

                          2 eggs

                          2 tablespoons coconut cream

                          1 cup pure pumpkin puree

                          1⁄4 cup jaggery or 1⁄4 cup coconut sugar

                          2 tablespoons honey

                          1⁄4 cup skim milk powder

                          1⁄4 cup vanilla whey protein powder

                          1⁄4 teaspoon salt

                          2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

                          1 cup sorghum flour

                          1⁄4 cup quinoa flour

                          1⁄2 cup amaranth flour

                          1⁄3 cup rice bran

                          2 tablespoons ground flax seeds

                          3 tablespoons psyllium, husk fibre

                          1 teaspoon xanthan gum or 1 teaspoon guar gum

                          1 tablespoon baking powder

                          2 tablespoons teff

                          1 large finely grated carrot

                          1⁄2 cup raisins, soaked in hot water and drained (reserve 1/4 cup liquid)

                          2 cups fruit and nut granola cereal

                          Procedures:

                          • Line a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with parchment and set aside.
                          • Using an electric mixer, beat eggs, coconut cream, pumpkin, jaggery, honey, milk and whey powders, salt and cinnamon until well combined.
                          • Add flours, bran, flaxseed, psyllium, xanthan gum and baking powder, mixing until combined.
                          • Fold in kaniwa, carrot, raisins (with liquid) and granola.
                          • Spread into the pan and allow to stand for 30 minutes.
                          • Meanwhile, heat the oven to 325 degrees F.
                          • Bake for 30-35 minutes.
                          • Let cool in pan before cutting into bars.

                          We hope by offering you these simple, easy to make protein bars you can add them to your diet. If you choose to buy your protein bars – we know how convenience sometimes win – please read the labels. Anything with processed sugars or flours should be avoided as they are not as healthy as you may think. Enjoy your new snack love!

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                          Angela Kunschmann

                          Freelance Writer

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                          Last Updated on August 15, 2018

                          7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

                          7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

                          Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

                          Video Summary

                          Why is it important to train up our core strength?

                          There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

                          This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

                          Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

                          In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

                          One Exercise, multiple benefits

                          There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

                          By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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                          When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

                          Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

                          In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

                          What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

                          What will happen when you start doing planks every day

                            1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

                            Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

                            • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
                            • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
                            • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
                            • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

                            2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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                              Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

                              Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

                              3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

                                Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

                                4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

                                  Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

                                  A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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                                  A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

                                  On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

                                  5. You’ll improve overall balance

                                    Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

                                    6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

                                      Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

                                      7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                                        Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                                        How to hold a plank position

                                        1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                                        2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                                        3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                                        4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                                        5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                                        6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                                        7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                                        Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                                        Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                                          How to improve your plank time gradually

                                          1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                                          2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                                          3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                                          Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                                          Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                                          You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                                          • Prolapse
                                          • After prolapse surgery
                                          • Pelvic pain conditions
                                          • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                                          • Previous childbirth
                                          • Overweight

                                          Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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