(Natural News) For athletes and physically fit individuals, protein bars are their common source of the macronutrient. Protein bars are generally beneficial for everyone, regardless of lifestyle, but many store-bought protein bars contain questionable ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup. Not to mention, they can be quite pricey. To save money and avoid consuming toxic ingredients, consider making your own protein bars at home with these four healthy and affordable ingredients:
- Protein powder – When making protein bars, the main ingredient you need is protein powder. Protein bars usually contain a certain type of protein powder and nuts, which provide essential amino acids. Amino acids should be replenished in the body, especially if you have a more energetic and active lifestyle. One of the best protein powder options is whey protein, which comes from milk. It is easily digested, providing a boost in amino acids that may help increase muscle mass and strength. It may also suppress appetite and help with fat loss. (Related: Choosing a Protein Powder That Is Good For You.)
- Chia seeds – Chia seeds are small seeds that are loaded with protein and other essential nutrients like fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, iron, and calcium. Chia seeds also improve digestion and boost your energy levels. Aside from their nutritional benefits, chia seeds also have very little to no flavor, so they won’t affect the taste of your protein bars.
- Hemp seeds – Hemp seeds, which come from the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa), have a mild, nutty flavor. They are loaded with protein, healthy fats, and essential fatty acids. In addition, hemp seeds offer high amounts of vitamin E, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, sulfur, and zinc. You can also blend them with water to make a milk substitute, which is great if you are allergic to nuts and soy. Note that hemp milk is less sweet than raw almond milk or cow’s milk.
- Quinoa – Quinoa is a great addition to any protein bar. It is a complete protein, which means that it provides all necessary amino acids. In fact, the Incas referred to quinoa as the “mother of all grains.” This ancient grain rose back into popularity because of its great nutritional profile, easy preparation, and versatile nutty taste. Quinoa is also rich in calcium, fiber, iron, and phosphorus. It also provides good amounts of niacin, riboflavin, and thiamine.
Making your own protein bars
You can make your own protein bars at home with these simple steps:
- 2 cups oats
- 1-2 scoops protein powder of choice
- 5 tablespoons nut butter
- ½ cup milk or ½ cup water
- Dark chocolate chips, nuts, or seeds (optional)
- Add some flour to your protein powder. It must be a type of flour that can be consumed raw such as coconut flour, almond flour, or a grain-based flour like quinoa or oat flour.
- Mix the powder and flour with milk. You may also add nut butter. The goal is to make a batter that will come together like dough and can be shaped into bars with your hands.
- If you are satisfied with the consistency of the batter, you can now shape it into bars.
- Melt some dark chocolate chips in a glass bowl placed on top of a pot of boiling water. Once melted, pour the chocolate over the bars or dunk the bars in the chocolate bowl.
- Put the protein bars in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
- You can eat the protein bars right away or pack them up for later.
Food.news has more ideas on making your own protein bars and other nutritious snacks.