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Homemade Protein Bars

Protein bars have gained popularity over the last decade. Although they were originally designed for serious athletes, they are now falsely perceived as healthy, nutritious snacks or meal replacements. While advertised as healthy, they are actually no better than candy bars with some extra additives. Yuck!

These are some of the reasons why you want to avoid eating commercial protein bars:

1. Loaded with sugar. Packaged protein bars are loaded with enough sugar to kill a small horse — labeled, hidden, artificial, you name it, tons of it. Most of the times you’ll find that some form of sugar in protein bars is the second or even first ingredient. Bad, bad, bad if you ask me.

2. Low-quality protein. Most protein bars use low-quality protein content masked around the many added ingredients and fillers. Soy protein isolate is one of the most common proteins used in bars. SPI is a highly processed soy derivative, usually made from genetically modified soybeans and has been considered a waste product and harmful to the body, causing inflammation and thyroid problems.

3. Too many ingredients. A list of ingredients longer than a line or two is not even worth your time reading, let alone eating. Most commercial protein bars average 15-20 ingredients. Many of these ingredients are commonly unidentifiable, artificial and highly processed, which can cause digestive distress.

 Although we love the convenience of a readily available snack or meal, we’re better off without packaged protein bars, even if labeled as “healthy”. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t have an easy and nutritious snack when you’re on the go; the good news is that you can make your own protein bars! The process is so simple, and the ingredients are fresh, plus you know exactly what goes into it.

I would point out, though, that protein bars in general, commercial or homemade, will never replace a properly balanced meal. So be smart about your food choices and don’t go “protein bar crazy,” but have these bad boys handy for a busy day or before/after a workout. My favorite time to eat my homemade protein bars is after a workout to replenish the energy spent :).

Follow this quick recipe and do your body a favor by choosing homemade!

Homemade Protein Bars
Makes 6 portions
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Freezing time: 45 minutes

12 dried apricots
6 large strawberries
¼ cup raw almond (or your favorite nut) butter
1 pinch sea salt
1 dash vanilla
⅓ cup water
4 scoops pea (or your favorite) protein powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups rolled oats

In a blender or food processor, mix 6 dried apricots, the strawberries, almond (or nut) butter, sea salt and vanilla. Blend with about a ⅓ cup of water until smooth. Then add the protein powder and the spices, and blend again. Set aside.

In a large bowl, incorporate the rolled oats and the protein mixture and combine using your hands, until it becomes a homogeneous mix. On a baking sheet or flat plan, spread the mixture evenly, about 1 inch thick. Freeze for 45 min and then proceed to cut in 6 equal portions.

Store each portion in a sandwich or snack bag to grab-and-go, and voilà! They stay fresh in the fridge for about a week.

Question for you
, health lover!

What do you think, do protein bars have a place in a healthy diet?

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  1. Robin says:

    Can you tell me how big the scoop you use for the protein powder is? I would like to make these with the change of the nut butter to sunflower butter, and the protein to hemp protein. Also, in the winter it might be harder to get fresh strawberries. Will frozen berries do just as well?

    Thanks for these answers. I can’t wait to try them.

    • Cinthia says: (Author)

      Hi Robin! The size of the scoop is 2 heaping tablespoons (18gr) according to the bottle. Ah, hemp protein is great! And, yes to the frozen berries in the winter time. You could also use apples since they’re more of a fall/winter fruit if you prefer to go with fresh fruit. Either way I’m sure it’ll be great. The idea is to use fruit to sweeten them as opposed to sugar!

  2. Robin says:

    I’ve modified the recipe a little. I use 1 cup of frozen berries any kind) instead of fresh strawberries plus I use 6 packets of Stevia. Then I don’t mix half the apricots with the liquid but leave them all diced and add a few raisins. I like it sweet and chunky. I also use 2 scoops or 66 grams (plus just a little more) pea protein. Then I make it into 12 balls and keep them in the freezer. They take only minutes to thaw and keep longer. I love them for snacks that are balanced and have staying power, and make about one batch a week.

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