High Protein No-Bake Meal Bars

By | 26.5.2016

Whether you need a quick snack after your workout, you’re going for a day-long bike trip, or you need something for a plane ride, a protein bar is a great thing to have with you. The protein bars you can get in grocery stores are full of weird chemicals. And if you want something that has even a decent amount of protein in it, better have some serious cash ready.

These no-bake bars are well balanced, contain only 2 grams of sugar and they taste great. They are the result of long process of trial and error, choosing the right ingredients. I got the best results with 80% chocolate flavored whey protein powder and steviol-sweetened dark chocolate. The chocolate is not essential and the carbs can be even lowered without it but it gives the bars nice ‘crunch’. If you don’t own a food processor, you can use unsalted, unsweetened natural peanut butter instead of making your own.

The recipe is for 16 bars (approx. 75 grams each), 1 bar contains about 296 kcal, 20 g protein, 22 g carbs (2 g sugars, 5 g fiber), 14 g fat (3 g saturated, 5 g monounsaturated, 3 g polyunsaturated), 0.002 g salt, 48 mg calcium, and costs around 19 CZK (May 2016)

3 cups (293 g) rolled oats
270 g whey protein powder (Essential Pure CFM 80 Chocolate)
81 g chia seeds
315 g unsalted peanuts
68 g puffed quinoa (Alnatura)
112 g dark unsweetened chocolate (Dorina)
18 tbsp (270 mL) water

Put peanuts in a food processor and grind for about 4 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally, until you get smooth peanut butter.

Put all the dry ingredients (oats, protein powder, chia, puffed quinoa) in a large bowl and mix well so all ingredients are well distributed.

Add the peanut butter and incorporate it as well as possible with a spoon or fork. Be thorough, you don’t want random clumps of peanut butter.

Add water and knead very well until all the liquid is absorbed and very sticky dough is formed. I get best results kneading it using my hands. Make sure the dough is evenly moist so you don’t get patches of dry oats or protein powder.

Transfer the dough into a sharp-corner 13×9 pan and roll out evenly using a small rolling pin (alternatively using a small sturdy glass spice jar). Put the dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to cool down, and also for the chia seeds to absorb water. Then cut it into 16 bars (2×8) and get it out of the pan. You might have to use a fork to unstick it from the pan.

Melt the chocolate and dip the bottoms of all the bars in it. Then lay the bars chocolate side up and let it harden. I melt 1/6th of the chocolate in a small tupperware (about the size of one bar) in the microwave, pulsing it in 10-20 second intervals until it’s ‘almost melted’. Then I stir it until all the remaining clumps dissolve. It’s called ‘seeding’ and that way when the chocolate hardens it retains its original properties and doesn’t melt on touch. I dip two bars in it. Then I melt another 1/6th of the chocolate, and so forth.

After all the chocolate hardens (you can put the bars in the fridge to speed it up) wrap each bar individually in wrapping foil. Keep in the fridge for up to a week. They would probably last even longer but after a while they start tasting stale. You should try to avoid carrying the bars in your backpack for too long (more than 24 hours) because they may start forming mold. They also freeze very well. To thaw just take it out of the freezer and leave in the fridge for a couple of hours.

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