9 Homemade Protein Bars That’ll Stop You Snacking – For Good!
By Jessica Powell; Photography by Flickr
Feel like all you’re ever doing is snacking? These nutrient-dense, protein-packed bars will stop mindless eating in their tracks!
Snacking is a slippery slope: while snacks to stave off hanger offer major weight-loss benefits, if you’re constantly reaching for fillers in-between meals it could be detrimental to your diet. The key: a snack so packed with nutrients and satiating protein that you only need one. Whip up a batch of these babies and you’re set for days…
1. Hunger-Busting Butter Bar
Makes 10 bars
The low-fat low-down: 782kJ | 0.7g sat fat | 13.6g sugar
You’ll need: 140g rolled oats; 115g almond butter; 8 Medjool dates, pitted; 2 tbsp chia seeds; 2 tbsp flaxseed flour; 60ml water
Method: Grind the oats in a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and mix to form a dough. Line a 20x20cm pan with parchment, place the mixture in and press down. Chill in the fridge for about an hour, then cut.
BONUS: Scoffing one of these could make you eat more healthily for the rest of the day: fact. A study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that a mid-morning snack of almonds increases satiety and, in turn, lets you make healthier food choices. Magic.
Makes 10 bars
The low-fat low-down: 957kJ | 5g sat fat | 20g sugar
You’ll need: 12 Medjool dates, pitted; 200g chia seeds; 1 tsp raw cacao powder; 2 tsp cacao nibs; 4 tbsp coconut oil
Method: Pulse the dates in a processor until they form a paste. Mix in a bowl with the chia seeds, cacao, nibs and oil to form a thick dough. Press into the bottom of a 20x20cm baking tray and cut into squares. Eat right away for a more doughy treat or place in the freezer for one hour for a chewier texture.
BONUS: The dates pack a slow-release carb punch to fuel you through your weights session. Plus, they contain vitamin B6, which helps regulate mood, so you’ll sweat happy.
3. You-Look-Soy-Good Bar
Makes 10 bars
The low-fat low-down: 1 400kJ | 4.1g sat fat | 2g sugar
You’ll need: 100g sesame seeds; 200g each sunflower and pumpkin seeds; 50g flaxseeds; 3 tbsp dark soy or tamari; 2 tbsp olive oil; 2 tbsp honey; 1 tbsp wheatgerm
Method: Preheat the oven to 200°C. Put the seeds in a bowl and stir in the soy and oil. Spread on a tray and toast in the oven at 200°C for five minutes, until the pumpkin seeds are puffed. Leave to cool. Combine in a bowl with the honey and wheatgerm. Line a 20x20cm baking tray, put the mixture in and smooth down. Freeze, slice… You know the drill.
BONUS: Wheatgerm is a good source of vitamin E, which can boost immunity and keep skin and eyes healthy. Essentially: eat and glow.
4. Sunflower Power Bar
Makes 24 bars
The low-fat low-down: 786kJ | 3g sat fat | 6g sugar
You’ll need: 135g hazelnuts; 135g almonds; 50g sunflower seeds; 70g rolled oats; 5 Medjool dates, pitted and soaked; 70g Brazil nuts; 55g pumpkin seeds; 55g sesame seeds; 2tbsp tahini; 2 tbsp quinoa; 3 tbsp coconut oil; 3 tbsp honey; 2 tbsp maca powder; 90g goji berries
Method: Set your oven to 100°C and dust off your food processor. Put the hazelnuts and almonds in the oven for two minutes, adding the sunflower seeds midway. Blitz the oats, dates, nuts and seeds. Add to a bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Mix by hand then press onto a tray. Freeze for one hour.
BONUS: Research found goji berries speed up recovery from sunburn by reducing inflammation. They’re also antioxidant-rich!
5. Hearty Breakfast Bar
Makes 6 bars
The low-fat low down: 1 463kJ| 4g sat fat | 8g sugar
You’ll need: 140g rolled oats; 50g sunflower seeds; 100g pumpkin seeds; 30g each almonds and walnuts, chopped; 50g dried cherries, chopped; 3 ripe bananas; 1 tsp vanilla extract; 1⁄2 tsp salt; 1⁄2 tsp cinnamon
Method: This seed bar takes the longest to make as it requires baking time. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 20x20cm baking tray. In a large bowl, mix the oats, seeds, nuts and dried fruit. Blend the bananas, vanilla, salt and cinnamon until smooth. Pour the purée into the oat mixture, stir and press into the tray. Bake for 30 minutes, until lightly browned on the edges. Cool, then slice.
BONUS: A study found that the oil in walnuts reduces risk of heart disease.
6. Chocs-Away Energy Bar
Makes 14 bars
The low-fat low-down: 1 739kJ | 14.7g sat fat | 15.5g sugar
You’ll need: 400g sesame seeds; 175g raisins; 50g dried, shredded coconut; 65g flaxseed flour; 115g tahini; 115g coconut oil; 120ml maple syrup; 1 tsp vanilla extract; 3⁄4 tsp sea salt. For the topping: 2 tbsp each coconut oil, maple syrup and raw cacao
Method: Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl, then fold in the rest. Press all that into a rectangular tray. Cover and freeze for 1 hour, cut into slices. For the topping, melt the oil and syrup in a pan, add the cacao and mix until a thick liquid forms. Dip half of each bar in the chocolate. Cool then refrigerate for one hour.
BONUS: Epicatechin, a compound in cacao, can up energy levels as much as exercise. The possibilities!
7. Flax-Your-Muscles Bar
Makes 15 bars
The low-fat low-down: 627kJ | 4g sat fat | 8g sugar
You’ll need: 65g flaxseed flour; 65g hemp powder; 140g rolled oats; 175g cranberries; 115ml coconut milk; 115g unsalted peanut butter; 175ml maple syrup (or agave); 1 tsp vanilla extract
Method: Mix the dry stuff and chuck in a food processor. Stir the wet stuff in a bowl. Now combine wet and dry to become one happy family. Line a 20x30cm baking dish with baking paper and spread the mixture evenly. Leave in the fridge overnight to set, then slice. No midnight snacking – sorry!
BONUS: Both flax and hemp seeds are bursting with omega-3, which a Clinical Science UK study found increased muscle- protein levels. Hello, guns.
8. Chia Up, Coconut Bar
Makes 16 bars
The low-fat low-down: 957kJ | 6.4g sat fat | 8g sugar
You’ll need: 160g Medjool dates, pitted; 150g desiccated coconut; 175g blanched almonds; 60g macadamia nuts; 60g walnuts; 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds; 1 tbsp chia seeds; 1 tbsp wheatgrass powder; 1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract; 1⁄2 tsp matcha powder
Method: Place all the ingredients in a food processor and mix until they form a dough. Line a tray, press the mixture in, smoothing over the surface. Sprinkle on the coconut. Freeze for an hour, cut into squares, store in mouth, erm, fridge.
BONUS: Compared with regular green tea, matcha has as much as 137 times the concentration of EGCG – a powerful antioxidant. And you don’t even have to faff about with the kettle.
9. Mac-My-Night Bar
Makes 10 bars
The low-fat low-down: 1 547kJ | 7.5g sat fat | 7.2g sugar
You’ll need: 100g ground almonds; 100g sunflower seeds; 100g flaxseed flour; 100g pumpkin seeds; 2 tbsp chia seeds; 2 tbsp maca powder; 90ml maple syrup; 60ml coconut oil; 75g almond butter; 1⁄2 tsp sea salt
Method: Place the dry ingredients in a bowl. Put the wet ones in a pan on a low heat until melted, mixing well. Add to the dry mix. Line a 20x20cm pan with baking paper. Spread in the mixture and pack down tight. Place in the fridge for an hour to set. Behold your chilled aphrodisiac. #LibidoLife #Winning
BONUS: Research from Northumbria University has shown that maca can up male sex drive. Oh, yeah! At worst, he’ll at least have the energy to clean the dishes…