We’ve all seen them. You may even be one yourself. People perusing packages in the protein bar aisle, trying to find the perfect option for a quick pick-me-up or a light lunch. Trouble is, few if any so-called ‘health food’ bars are more nutritious than the cardboard box in which they’re packed. Not to worry, though. If you’ve got a handle on basic cooking skills and access to good ingredients, you can create your own snack bars that deliver healthful nutrients without a lot of sugar, processed flour and other sketchy, not-so-healthful stuff.
History of Protein Bars
Nobody’s entirely sure which protein bar manufacturer made them first, but protein bars, granola bars and energy bars have been around quite a long time. Of the three types, protein bars tend to deliver the most concentrated nutrition, whereas granola bars are pretty much just cereal and sugars presented in bar form.
DIY Bars that Pack a Powerful Protein Punch
Image Source: Flickr
To make your own, you’ll need a great source of powdered protein. Many people prefer whey, while some use powdered protein based on milk protein and eggs. Some even go for nutritious, nutty flour made from crickets, says the ExoProtein company. Sure, it may sound a bit weird to the unaccustomed tongue, but crickets are actually a first-class source of body building protein.
Start by choosing a healthy protein powder such as whey, eggs or a combination powder that comprises whey, casein and egg protein. If you prefer, you can use a protein powder with added creatine and amino acids your body can use to build strong muscles. Select a flour made from coconut, almonds, walnuts or another sort of nut. Not only are these flours far more nutritious than typical wheat-based flour, they’re also appropriate for consumption on the paleo diet. Learn more about this remarkable, low-carbohydrate eating plan and other info from Paleo Hacks.
Bind the flour and protein powder with coconut milk, almond milk or dairy milk, according to your personal preference. It may take a bit of practice to make the batter not too soft, not too dry, and just right for forming into bar shapes before freezing until firm. If you want to add a drizzle of antioxidant rich dark chocolate, do so before forming and freezing your yummy DIY protein bars.
Customize your protein bars with extra ingredients such as goji berries, dried apricots, apples or other tasty fruits, chocolate chips and chopped nuts. Orange rind, vanilla extract, cinnamon spices can also make a delicious addition to your homemade protein bars.
If You Can’t Make Your Own
A number of companies make very good protein bars that deliver important nutrients in an easy-to-carry package. Tuck a few Clif bars, Luna bars or Kind bars into your backpack, and you’ll be all set to enjoy a quick and easy snack that’s sure to boost your energy levels, especially late in the afternoon.
Protein Bars for Every Stage of Life
Protein bars make a quick on-the-go breakfast that can start a kid’s day the right way. Studies show that children who eat a nutritious breakfast do better in school and stay more alert throughout the day, says the National Institutes of Health. Kids who skip breakfast are more apt to suffer from fatigue, missed school days and lower grades than children who power into a balanced breakfast that provides plentiful protein from low-sugar sources.
Seniors may especially benefit from occasional snacks and meals based on protein bars. One of the main reasons for this is a condition called sarcopenia. In truth, sarcopenia is a medical term for a common malady that affects people as they age. The origin of the word is Greek and translates to ‘lack of flesh.’ While some muscle loss and strength is to be expected in the so-called golden years, protein snacks such as homemade protein bars may slow the progression of sarcopenia.
Everyone at every age needs protein to build muscle and to keep internal organs functioning at optimum levels. Generally, men and women older than 19 require somewhere around 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight. Newer research indicates that seniors over the age of 65 should eat more protein per day, up to 1.2 grams per kilo of body weight.
Extend your usefulness and wide-awake time when you incorporate a healthful and delicious protein bar into your daily dietary regimen.
Joshua James is a dietitian who loves all things mind-body-spirit. Constantly on a journey of self improvement Josh shares his healthy habits in his articles along with the occasional recipe.