Proteins are one of three macro-nutrients required by our bodies. They help the muscles grow and recover so it’s very common to see people munching on protein bars or enjoying a whey shake at the gym after they have completed their fitness routines.
Protein delivers amino acids to the muscles for rebuilding and immediate post work-out is the most opportune time…when muscle repair offers the greatest potential for proteins to do their work to stimulate muscle growth, reduce muscle damage and speed recovery.
This “window” of muscle repair and rebuilding is most active the minute you stop exercising so it’s not surprising that “Juice Bars” that offer a variety of protein shakes and protein bars have popped up and become standard in many gyms worldwide.
But the truth is, not all protein bars are created equal. Not surprisingly, store bought protein bars are not only expensive but often times filled with artificial ingredients.
Creating your own home-made protein bars puts you in control. They are easy to make and don’t require expensive or hard to find ingredients. They can be easily customized to your specific tastes and nutritional needs and enhanced with flavor extracts or ingredients to create tasty snacks or use as a meal replacement.
Place 1 cup of old fashioned or quick oats into a blender and process them until they resemble flour and then pour into a large mixing bowl.
Add 1 ¼ cups of vanilla protein powder and stir it into the ground oats.
In the blender combine:
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup low fat cottage cheese
¼ cup water
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Blend the mixture until it is smooth and uniform in color and consistency. Pour mixture into the oats and protein powder and add one cup of natural peanut butter.
Mix it all together until it is well combined.
Line a 9-inch x 9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil and spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray.
Pour the batter into the pan and refrigerate for at least two hours.
Cut into 8 bars. Each one of these bars can easily be halved if necessary to reach your nutritional goals.
Each bar supplies 300 calories and 24 g of protein.
The type of protein power used will make a difference in the nutritional content of the finished bars. These peanut butter bars were created with 100 percent whey protein powder that contains 80 calories per ¼ cup measure and 22 g of protein. Your protein powder may contain different amounts so you must take that into consideration.
Whey, soy and egg protein powders can all be used with success to create delicious high protein bars.
Everyone needs protein but those who are actively doing exercise, especially strength training are going to require more protein than those that don’t. Although protein does provide energy, it is actually used as a back-up energy source, not the primary one.
You can easily add your own personal twist to homemade protein bars by changing up the ingredients and flavors. Adding chocolate protein powder rather than vanilla creates chocolate peanut bars. If peanuts aren’t your thing, replace the peanut butter with almond, cashew or sunflower seed butter.
Change up the flavor by adding inexpensive extracts like almond, orange, lemon or coconut…easily found at your grocery store.
Dried fruits of all kinds, chopped nuts and sugar-free chocolate chips are great additions.
If you are tracking your calories, simply add up the calories of all the ingredients and divide by the number of servings.
For more exciting and healthy raw dessert recipes and treats visit: