There are a lot of protein bars on the market today, but they won’t all fit your nutritional needs. Some may have too many carbohydrate or fat grams for your diet. The bars that have higher amounts of protein also tend to have a higher number of calories. If you are trying to lose weight, the higher-calorie bars are easily out of your caloric budget.
For example, one of the best protein bars for men right now is the Big 100 Colossal Meal Replacement Bar from MET-Rx. This is a meal replacement bar, but many men use it as a protein bar because each bar contains 32 grams of protein, and that is a lot more than many other protein bars offer.
These bars also contain more than 400 calories and 40 grams of carbohydrates, and that makes it a bad choice for anyone trying to control their calorie or carbohydrate intake. They are great bars if you want to increase your protein intake in order to pump up muscle or gain weight, but not everyone has that type of goal.
Quest protein bars are a more suitable option if you want to lose weight or control your carbohydrate and fat intake, but you may not have the budget required to purchase these bars on a routine basis. If you want to supplement your diet with protein bars on a daily basis, your cheapest option is to make protein bars in your own kitchen.
Prepackaged protein bars are more convenient, but you can buy the ingredients and bake your own for less money. There is a tradeoff either way, so you have to decide what works best for your lifestyle and budget. Remember, you also get complete control over the ingredients when you make homemade protein bars.
Start with Simple Homemade Protein Bars
You don’t need a lot of ingredients to make protein bars that fit your nutritional needs perfectly. For instance, this simple list of ingredients is enough to make delicious peanut butter protein bars:
- Old Fashioned Quaker Oats
- Peanut or almond butter
- Protein powder
- Sugar, Stevia or another sweetener
- Skim milk or almond milk
The oats will give your protein bar the shape and texture that it needs to stay together as a hand-held bar, and the milk will add moisture so that your bar does not taste too dry. The protein powder adds the protein you need while the cinnamon and sweetener add some flavor along with the peanut butter. The peanut butter and milk will also add a bit of extra protein to your bars.
Combine 1 cup of oats and 1 cup of milk with a serving of your protein powder to create the base for your protein bars. You can add the other ingredients until you create the flavor that you like for your bars.
There are more complicated protein bar recipes out there, but something simple like this is a good place to start if you aren’t sure how to make protein bars that meet your nutritional needs and please your taste buds. You can build off of this basic recipe in order to create more complex protein bars that meet more complex nutritional needs.
Create Your Own Homemade Protein Bars
You can make protein bars with more fiber and other nutritional benefits when you adjust the ingredients. You can add any of the following in order to increase the fiber content of your bars:
- Ground flaxseed
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Dried fruits and berries
- Whole wheat flour
- Oat flour
- Wheat bran
You can also adjust your protein bar recipes to create flavors that you can’t find when buying prepackaged protein bars. Think about your favorite fruits, berries, spices and extracts. Think about the textures that you find most enjoyable in a candy bar. For instance, you may want to create the crunch of a wafer or add fresh strawberries for a bar that reminds you of strawberry shortcake.
If you enjoy chocolate, consider adding dark chocolate as a coating or chocolate-flavored protein powder so that you feel you are indulging while leaving the sin out of the indulgence. Just a small amount of chocolate or a low-calorie chocolate protein powder is enough to create the flavor you crave so that you can indulge without derailing progress toward your goals.
Learning how to make protein bars may take some experimentation. You may need to use different flavors and types of protein powder and different combinations of ingredients before you get it right. You can still use store-bought protein bars when you don’t have time for homemade bars, but your budget will appreciate your new skill of making your own.