Mmmm…Homemade Protein Bars (Recipe Included)

Mmmm…Homemade Protein Bars (Recipe Included)

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Homemade Protein Bars (Recipe Included)

I appreciate that the coaches I work with are continuing to address the importance of nutrition in fueling the needs of their athletes, and that most of the athletes I work with are striving towards improving their nutritional intake. It may not be perfect, but we are all really a work in progress so we celebrate the little successes. Protein bars are definitely a hit with many of our sports right now. I like that the athletes are trying to choose healthier options and that they will ask what bars are best for them. While life these days may not allow us to be eating directly off the earth at all times of the day, I think we can make choices that put us on the better end of the nutrition spectrum and that support cost, nutrition, and health. I also think we can make better long term impacts by making healthier choices at younger ages.

When athletes ask what type of protein bar they should be choosing, we talk through a few different nutritional points and I ask them to read the labels for the following items:

  • Sugar – How many grams of sugar are in the bar you are choosing? Grab a few different boxes and compare sugar content between each of the bars. Also, what type of sugar is in it? If it’s only listed as “sugar” or you see “corn syrup” (especially high fructose corn syrup), probably best to find a better option.

  • Fat – What is the source of fat in the bar? Is it something along the lines of palm or vegetable oils? There are healthier options to find (see recipe below).

  • Protein – How many grams of protein are in the bar? Are you balancing your protein intake throughout your day rather than cramming your body full of a high amount of protein once or twice a day? Also, are you making sure to get protein from other sources of food and not only soy-based protein bars? (Yes, we talk bigger picture and not just what’s in your protein bar.)

  • Calorie Source Balance – Is the total calories from carbohydrates, protein, and fat balanced?

  • Cost – If you were to look at the cost of your bar, how much are you paying for each one? What is the best nutritional value for the cost to buy these bars?

After we have these conversations, I suggest to them making their own protein bars. I typically get the response of, “We can do that?!?!” Absolutely! There are great benefits in making homemade protein bars – cost savings (if you compare to buying better nutritional bars), fewer preservatives (fewer because you will find some sort of preservative in most prepackaged items, but we’re making our goal to find a better place on the spectrum), less processed sugar, and better fat sources. I have a few different recipes I share with the athletes, but here is one to start with. Easy to make, supplies are readily available at most stores, and great tasting. (Please note, this is not a recipe I created, but one that was shared with me and that  I modified.)

Protein Bar Recipe

  • 2 cups oatmeal

  • 1 cup peanut butter (choose a natural peanut butter and read the label to be sure  other oils aren’t added, eg. palm oil)

  • 1 cup honey

  • 1 cup vanilla protein powder

 

Optional Additions

(Use smaller proportions of some of these as they are to enhance or change up the flavor and variety, but can increase your sugar content quickly if using a lot.)

  • Nuts (avoid nuts that have been salted or covered in other oils  – read the  package label)

  • Chocolate Chips (I recommend bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks. They are higher in cocoa and lower in sugar)

  • Dried Fruit (If larger items such as bananas, you may want to break them into smaller chunks. I would also recommend looking for dried fruits that are not packaged in oils.

  • Flax Seed

Mix together. Press into pan. Cut and serve. Can be bagged or wrapped for on-the-go convenience. Enjoy!

– Steph

Steph Fall

Steph Fall

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