Exercise and a post workout bar or shake go hand in hand these days. Protein bars are big business and growing. Enter any health food or vitamin store and you will find aisles dedicated to all sorts of protein bars.
Most all brands are very deceptive claiming to be healthy when they are anything but healthy. Choosing the wrong kind of protein bar or shake can actually be harming your body and all your workout efforts.
Here is what to AVOID at all costs when choosing a protein powder or bar..
#1 – Soy Protein Isolate (SPI) or soy of ANY kind
#2 – High Fructose Corn Syrup
#3 – Fractionated Palm Kernel Oil
#4 – Sugar Alcohols
#5 – Artificial Sweeteners (Aspartame, acesulfame and sucralose
Instead look for..
The best plant-based protein sources come from those with a complete amino acid profile. This includes: sprouted brown rice protein, raw hemp protein, pea protein, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and spirulina. NOT SOY!
#2 – sweetened with only stevia or fruit sugar
PROTEIN BARS vary in nutrient content and degree of processing. Many contain refined carbohydrates, highly processed protein isolates, chemicals, sugar and artificial sweeteners. Protein bars should NOT serve as meal replacements.
When choosing a protein bar it should contain high quality whey protein or plant based protein and not have any of the problematic ingredients listed above.
Occasionally protein bars can be a good way to meet protein needs for athletes and really anyone. But the problem is many people turn to them all to often instead of REAL food sources of protein (eggs, pastured poultry and meat, seafood, and even raw nuts/seeds and some vegetables such as peas or beans). These whole food sources are truly your BEST source for protein but understandably its not always convenient or available.
I have found making a batch of homemade protein bars is going to be the healthiest option. Make up a large batch and store them in the freezer. Take them out daily as needed!
Homemade Protein Bars (paleo,primal,non-gmo)
Makes eight bars
10g of protein per bar!
- One and one-third cups of pitted and roughly chopped Medjool dates
- Two cups plain pecans (not roasted nor salted)
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 cup raw almond butter
- 2 scoops plain grass fed whey protein powder
- 1 tablespoon collagen
- 1 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place dates in a medium bowl and cover them completely with water. Allow to soak for 20 minutes. ( you can skip the soaking if you are short on time)
Meanwhile, process the pecans in a food processor until they resemble the texture of breadcrumbs.
When the dates are done soaking, drain the water. Add dates to the food processor and process with the nuts. Add in the coconut oil, almond butter, whey protein powder, collagen, and shredded coconut pulse until well-combined and dough comes together into a ball.
Line a 9″x13″ baking pan with parchment paper ( this makes clean-up easier.)
Press dough evenly into the pan, pressing firmly with your hands to compact the mixture as much as possible. (It’s helpful to wet your hands with water to prevent batter from sticking to your fingers.)
Bake for about 15-20 minutes, until the top looks a bit dry. Move to cooling rack to cool completely (about one hour). If you find they need to firm up more you can put them in freezer to set for about 30 min.
Transfer bars (with parchment paper) to a cutting board, and cut into eight bars. Enjoy!
These bars are also delicious when enjoyed frozen to ! 10g of protein per bar.
Be Well! 🙂