Protein bars are a good source of nutrition before and after workouts. Some stores offer cases of protein bars at a discount, but the cost still adds up. You likely have many of the ingredients in your kitchen to make your own protein bars. With a little effort, you can make homemade bars for a fraction of the cost.
Cereals and Grains
Using cereals adds bulk and texture to your bar. Other than rolled oats, you can try oat or wheat bran, wheat germ, amaranth or a combination of these grains. If you are not going to bake your bars, toast the grain slightly before adding other ingredients. Place grain on a baking tray and toast in a 400-degree Fahrenheit oven for a few minutes until it begins to brown. You also can use a sauté pan on the hob for toasting, but watch it carefully or it will burn.
Fruit, Nuts and Powders
Use any type of dried fruit you like. Raisins are probably the most popular, but you can use dried pears, cherries, figs, apples or bananas. You need to use dried fruit instead of fresh fruit because the dried fruit will hold better in the bar. Fresh fruit has too much moisture to work well.
Sliced nuts also offer protein, texture and taste. Try sliced almonds, peanuts, cashews, pecans or shredded coconut.
Include spirulina powder or another supplement powder. This will provide an added nutritive benefit for your bar.
Binders, Sweeteners and Spice
Add peanut butter and other nut butters to hold the bar together and provide the bulk of the protein in your protein bar. Honey, agave nectar, molasses and corn syrup also can be used in combination with the nut butters. If you bake your bars, you can use egg as well.
Add a little spice in the form of cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg or ground ginger.
Putting it Together
After choosing your ingredients, start by melting 1 cup of nut butter and ½ cup of honey or other liquid sweetener in a saucepan. Cook on low heat until the mixture becomes pourable.
In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup of toasted, rolled oats, ¼ cup of wheat bran, 2 tablespoons of spirulina powder, ¼ cup of slivered almonds, ¼ cup of raisins (or other dried fruit), ¼ cup of chocolate chips and a pinch of salt.
Pour the nut butter and honey into the rest of the ingredients and combine thoroughly. Spread into a lightly greased baking pan and refrigerate for at least one hour, uncovered. When the bars have hardened, cut them into the desired size and place them in an airtight container.
For baking, whisk together 1 egg and 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and add the mixture to the other ingredients. Bake in a 350-degree Fahrenheit oven for 20 minutes or until the bars begin to brown.