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Protein Bar Recipe


Habeas Brulee
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Since I've started boxing and weightlifting, I've found myself eating store-bought protein bars between meals. Okay, I confess, I prefer to go for granola bars, which are tastier. But it's hard to find a tasty bar that's high in protein, high in fiber, and low in calories.

I've mostly been going for Kashi's chewy granola bars, since they're the best compromise I've found, but surely the combined brainpower of eGulleters can help me come up with something better.

I'd love to make my own protein bars at home if I can. Surely the homemade sort would end up healthier and tastier, no?

So - does anyone have a good recipe for homemade protein bars / power bars?

Mr priorities:

1. Tasty. I really love chewy granola bars, so something along those lines would be ideal.

2. High protein.

3. Low calories.

4. High fiber.

5. Good shelf life.

Thoughts? Advice? Recipes?

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I make my own protein bars all the time. They're low carb but probably not low calorie. I don't have a particular recipe, but just kind of add things until I'm happy with how they turn out. The basic ingredients are usually peanut butter, cream cheese, butter (some combination), maybe cocoa powder; Splenda, vanilla, whey protein powder, and then extra ingredients depending on how crunchy or chewy I want them. Like nuts, granola, Kashi cereal, toasted sesame seeds, flax seeds, or flax seed meal. The flax adds healthy fats and lots of fiber. Oast would probably be good, but I haven't tried them.

I'll mix it up until it is a consistency that will hold together and then pat it into silicone muffin tins and stick it in the fridge. They're easy to remove from the silicone, too.

It's nice to have something to grab if I need breakfast in a hurry, and they're pretty filling.

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Terrasanct, what makes your little bars hold together? The fact that you have to put them in the fridge makes me wonder what happens to their consistency after a couple of hours at room temp.

Do they taste good?

My husband practically lives on Atkins chocolate peanut butter bars, which cost a fortune. I think they taste awful but he loves them, as if they were candy bars. If I could make something for myself that I actually liked, I would do it.

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Terrasanct, I'm also interested in your recipe. My husband used to eat low carb protein bars, every morning for breakfast, but I think they stopped making his favorites.

Do you cook that mixture, or knead it together, then mold it? Have you tried it in bar form? I've got no silicone muffin pans, so I'm looking to spread it in a pan and cut it in bars.

Your recipe looks exactly like what he seeks in his breakfasts. Now it's got my gears turning...

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've been out of town for a bit; I'll have to find the recipe and post it here. It's more of a method than a recipe since I change things every time. What holds it together is usually peanut butter or cream cheese. The bars you buy at the store use things that I can't buy or don't want to use, including sugar alcohols.

If they don't taste good I keep working on them. Sometimes a pinch of salt or a bit more vanilla.

I usually just melt the peanut butter and/or cream cheese or butter in the microwave, stir in the other stuff with my hands, and press it into the pan. An 8 x 8 pan should work fine.

Most of them hold up for at least a few hours at room temp; sometimes they are crumbly but not usually. Since they would be for breakfast they don't have to keep at room temp for that long.

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i'm a fan of cliff builder bars (20 g protein, tasty, and not a lot of horrible chemistry ... $1.29 at whole foods).

one thing to consider is protein source. whey is probably the highest quality protein source, in terms of amino acid profile. it's particularly good in terms of glutamine content, which may be helpful for recovery after exercise.

on the other hand, there's some research that shows soy to be a better source of protein for consumption during endurance exercise. i'll dig up the research if anyone's interested; i don't remember the reasons soy was better.

Notes from the underbelly

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These two recipes were my starting point, but I changed a lot:

I.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon liquid artificial sweetener

1/4 cup Splenda

1 scoop Vanilla whey protein powder

Melt peanut butter and butter in microwave or double boiler. Mix in the sweeteners thoroughly. Add protein powder and stir until it forms a ball. (You may need to use clean hands to aid in the thorough mixing.) Roll up in ball and knead a bit; then separate into even portions, shaping as desired. Refrigerate until firm.

II.

Ingredients:

2-1/3 cups vanilla protein powder

One ounce square unsweetened chocolate

1/2 cup butter

4 ounces cream cheese

1 ounce chopped walnuts

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon peanut butter

1/4 cup Splenda

Directions:

Melt butter, cream cheese, peanut butter and chocolate in bowl in microwave and mix together very well. Add splenda and vanilla, mix well again.

Add walnuts and protein powder and mix.

Using your hands, knead it all together, squeezing so that the powder disolves into the mixture. Place in a baking pan, flatten and refrigerate. (Using a rectangular casserole dish works well.)

When cooled and hardened, cut into eight bars.

Recipe makes eight bars; about 3.2 carbohydrates per bar.

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To up the fiber, you could add ground psyllium husks to any protein bar recipe, just make sure you drink a lot of water (or other fluid) when you eat them.

Personally, I make up yoghurt shakes for breakfast (yoghurt, milk, frozen fruit, whey protein powder and ground psyllium husks), and keep some extra in a thermos for later in the day (kept in the fridge at work). But that's not really practicable for everyone.

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I have psyllium and also a cereal made with it. I use the husks to make a very filling cracker rather than stir it into liquids. The stuff can be a little scary, though. You really have to be careful to drink enough with it.

I tried the psyllium cereal in one batch of protein bars because I wanted more crunch--it was great at first but it absorbs a LOT of liquid and the next day the bars were inedible--big chunks of hard, gummy cereal interspersed throughout them. Ugh. I learned not to use the cereal with liquid.

Flax meal or seeds provide lots of fiber as well, without the strange absorbtion problems.

Oh, and I used cocoa nibs once for crunch. It turned out pretty well.

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These two recipes were my starting point, but I changed a lot:

I.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon liquid artificial sweetener

1/4 cup Splenda

1 scoop Vanilla whey protein powder

Melt peanut butter and butter in microwave or double boiler. Mix in the sweeteners thoroughly. Add protein powder and stir until it forms a ball. (You may need to use clean hands to aid in the thorough mixing.) Roll up in ball and knead a bit; then separate into even portions, shaping as desired. Refrigerate until firm.

II.

Ingredients:

2-1/3 cups vanilla protein powder

One ounce square unsweetened chocolate

1/2 cup butter

4 ounces cream cheese

1 ounce chopped walnuts

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon peanut butter

1/4 cup Splenda

Directions:

Melt butter, cream cheese, peanut butter and chocolate in bowl in microwave and mix together very well. Add splenda and vanilla, mix well again.

Add walnuts and protein powder and mix.

Using your hands, knead it all together, squeezing so that the powder disolves into the mixture. Place in a baking pan, flatten and refrigerate. (Using a rectangular casserole dish works well.)

When cooled and hardened, cut into eight bars.

Recipe makes eight bars; about 3.2 carbohydrates per bar.

Wow, I must say as much as the ingredients have me drooling, this certainly isn't something you would want to have if trying to gain lean muscle or are watching your saturated fat levels... also even though it is sweeter than sugar so you need less, splenda is basically 100% carbohydrates anyways.

Regardless of that though, these sound like they would make kickass chewy bars for kids (or something sweet to munch on).

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  • 2 months later...

I'm going to experiment with making protein bars. I found a recipe through the internet offered by Alton Brown. It has soy protein powder as an ingredient. Is that the same as soy flour?

Most recipe uses wheat (oat bran, wheat germ, and whole-wheat) which I'm not keen about. I'm looking at using ancient grains (quinoa, kamut, spelt, etc.)

Also, I prefer not to bake the bars to preserve the nutrients (the Alton Brown recipe has eggs) and I plan to use freshly ground flaxseeds.

Does anyone have a recipe they can offer that follows the above criteria? Is there a thread or site that you can point out? Are there tips and secrets to making the bars so they don't fall apart or become dry (which seems to be a problem with a lot of recipes?)

I'd appreciate any feedback.

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Soy protein powder is not the same as soy flour. Protein Powder is a nutritional supplement commonly available at health food stores and those places that sell nutritional stuff to weight lifters. Some of it can be great, some is very calorific, so you have to read your labels.

If you don't want to bake the bars, perhaps you could use brown rice syrup as a binder...you could perhaps boil the syrup to a soft or medium ball stage and then mix it into the ingredients, press it into a pan and let it cool.

I use ancient grains to make both granola and bars. I bind my ingredients with Brown Rice Syrup and bake until brown and not too dried out. Works very well.

Let us know what you come up with!

Don't try to win over the haters. You're not the jackass whisperer."

Scott Stratten

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I just sort of make them up as I go along, I'm afraid.

The health food store here has a wonderful selection of kamut flakes and other things, so I just buy random bags. I pour it all in a bowl, add whatever nuts and seeds I have on hand or feel like adding - last time it was sunflower, sesame and hemp seeds. I mix in a pinch of salt as well. I usually have about 6 cups of assorted items in the bowl, maybe a bit more. Then I pour about one cup, maybe a little more, of brown rice syrup and mix it all together with my hands until well coated. I then press it onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake it until it's brown and looks kind of set. I cool it completely and cut it into bars. They aren't that sturdy, but I'm okay with that.

If I'm after granola, it's the same process, except I remove it from the oven several times during baking to stir it so it browns quicker and forms clusters instead of bars. Also, with Granola, after it's out of the oven I mix in chopped dried fruits of whatever variety I have on hand.

I actually started doing these for my BIL, who, it would appear, subsists on a diet of tree bark, brazil nuts and the occasional hay bale. And kale. Lots and lots of kale. My brother swears he once saw him sucking a pebble from the driveway. He approves completely of both the bars and the granola, so they must be healthy :smile:

Don't try to win over the haters. You're not the jackass whisperer."

Scott Stratten

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Badiane - are these ok kept airtight at room temp then? Any problems adding dried fruit to the granola bars? Do you get brown rice syrup at the health food store? Is it less sweet like corn syrup?

Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

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I dont know if this will help, but when I make my super protein pancakes I use oatmeal ( greatest carbs around) protein powder, soy flour ocasionally ( to add some of soy in my diet),splenda if you want,flaxeed meal,egg whites,unsweetned apple sauce,I change sometimes depends what I have handy , but the protein powder , oatmeal and egg whites are the main ingredients.Maybe you can try to use these same ingredients to make a protein bar,like high protein granola bar, yummy,maybe I should work on it as well,then we post our results.

Vanessa

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Thanks for the lovely ideas. I am looking for something my son could take with him. He is in a situation whereby he does an incredible amount of physical activity in all weather conditions and does not get enough food. The important requirements, I think, are calcium, protein and energy. This can only be eaten at night and must be something quick. This is why I thought of a bar with ancient grains. Any others ideas would be very appreciated.

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Last night I thought of the following to add to a bar: maple syrup or agave syrup or stevia, crushed organic cereal made of ancient grain from Nature Path, various seeds and nuts (pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, etc.), flaxseed oil, cinnamon, dried apples (from the Farmer's Market), coconut, nut or seed butter (a change from peanut butter)and dark chocolate. And maybe protein powder.

I think the above might meet my requirement for protein, omega-3, complex carb, and fiber. I'll have to figure out the right combination to make it from into a bar without baking. I'm assuming this will have to be refrigerated.

If it works out, this will make the perfect Christmas gift for someone who does a lot of outdoor activities.

Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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