You would never chase a workout with a Snickers. But if you scan the ingredients of the chocolate–peanut butter protein bar stuck to the inside of your gym bag, you’ll be shocked to discover what it really is: a glorified candy bar.
Many bar options come complete with all the sugar, preservatives, artificial colors and flavors, and other half-baked ingredients that rival your favorite candy bar. They can also be expensive costing upward of $5 depending on where you purchase them.
However, If you’re stuck somewhere and need a pick-me-up, protein bars can be a great option. If you choose the right one. And you can skip the guess work with a homemade option. Making them at home saves a bunch of money, and helps you rest (and snack) easy knowing where they came from.
Fuel your body post-workout or any time you need a quick snack with these homemade protein bars that will keep you energized all day with the following recipe and guide from Training Club Trainer, Becca DeVries. She takes a foolproof approach to helping you take your body and health back into your own hands.
DIY Protein Ball Recipe
- 2 cups quick oats
- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 large banana
- 2 pouches Truvia or Stevia
- ¼ cup PB2 (only the powder, not mixed with water)
- ¼ cup Your Choice of Protein Powder
- ½ cup chocolate chunks or dried fruit.
In a large bowl combine quick oats, Truvia, PB2 and protein powder, mix well. Mash you banana(s) and add with vanilla to the dry ingredients. Mix until very well combined then fold in chocolate chips.Press evenly in a 8 inch square baking pan, cut in bars and enjoy.
Design your own bar
Do-it-yourself protein bars can help incorporate more whole grains into your diet and work around allergies and eating philosophies (e.g., Paleo, vegan, gluten-free). The grains serve as a base for your bar. Try one of the following options:
- Rolled oats: High in both soluble and insoluble fibers, oats promote satiety. Also, beta-glucan—a type of soluble fiber—can contribute to lowering cholesterol.
- Quinoa: Because it contains all the essential amino acids, quinoa is the only grain that’s also a complete protein.
- Amaranth: Like quinoa, amaranth delivers protein along with a host of bone-building and muscle-feeding minerals, including iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.
- Millet: A crunchy addition to any bar recipe, toasted millet can take the place of nuts while also delivering heart-protecting magnesium and cell-repairing phosphorus.
The quickest and easiest way to add protein to homemade bars is by using either whey protein powder or vegan protein powder. Nuts (walnuts, cashews, pecans, almonds, peanuts, and pistachios); seeds (flaxseeds, pepitas, chia seeds, hemp hearts, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds); or natural, unsweetened nut or seed butter will also add protein, along with healthy fats and hunger-fighting fiber.
Bold flavors won’t cost you too many extra calories. For a nutty, chocolate flavor, stir in cacao nibs, crumbled pieces of 100% cocoa beans that are rich in antioxidants and contain no added sugar. For an intense coffee flavor, use a small amount of instant espresso powder. Citrus zest will add a fresh, fruity flavor, while fall-friendly spices (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and pumpkin pie spice) can make a bar taste more like a baked good.