How to Make Your Own Protein Bars

Power up with these healthy bar recipes!

Power up with these healthy bar recipes!

It’s a little too easy to pop an energy bar mid-day or down a protein bar post-workout. I know I’m guilty. Yes, the nifty bars are mostly healthier than candy bars, but truth is they often contain artificial ingredients and low-quality protein (yikes). Still, they’re a portable snack that fits perfectly into a fit lifestyle. The solution: Make your own! That’s exactly what Camilla Saulsbury decided to do. A certified fitness trainer, marathon running and creator of the healthy food blog, Power Hungry, Camilla ditched the prepackaged, processed bars for healthy and delicious DIY versions – and thank goodness she did! Camilla just came out with her first cookbook – Power Hungry: The Ultimate Energy Bar Cookbook – and now we all get to indulge in her guilt-free creations!

With page after page of blissful bars, there’s something for every palette and pursuit – Morning Maple Bars for early morning energy, Mega Marathon Bars for the runner, Paleo Power Pucks for the Cross-fit queens, Chocolate Chip Protein Cookies for the weigh-room junkies, Raw Buckwheat Bars for the raw yogi… even Fruit Endurance Gel Blocks for endurance athletes. I was seriously in bar heaven! And to top it off, Camilla has kindly offered to share 2 recipes from her fab book (thanks Camilla!)…

QUINOA CHIA APRICOT BARS
(makes 16 bars)
A cinch to prepare, these power bars are built on a foundation of two superfood seeds: chia and quinoa. Both are rich sources of fiber, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as vitamins and minerals. They are guaranteed to put a smile on all of your friends’ and family’s faces, even the ones who insist they don’t like “healthy” food and especially if you have whipped up a batch of kale smoothies as accompaniment.

3/4 cup packed pitted, soft dates
2/3 cup unsweetened apple juice
1/3 cup chia seeds
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil or vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups quinoa flakes
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup sesame seeds
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom or ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/2 cups dried apricots, coarsely chopped

1. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with foil or parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Preheat oven to 350°F.
3. Combine the dates and apple juice in a blender. Let stand for 10 minutes and then blend until smooth. Add the chia seeds and vanilla extract to the blender; pulse two or three times to blend. Let stand 10 minutes to allow the chia seeds to gel.
4. Meanwhile, melt the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the quinoa flakes, walnuts, and sesame seeds. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes or until the flakes, nuts, and seeds are golden and fragrant. Add the cardamom, cinnamon, and salt to the skillet; cook and stir for 30 seconds longer. Transfer to a large bowl.
5. Add the date mixture and apricots to the quinoa flake mixture, mixing with a spatula until combined.
6. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Place a large piece of parchment paper, wax paper, or plastic wrap (coated with nonstick cooking spray) atop the bar mixture and use it to spread, flatten, and very firmly compact the mixture evenly in the pan. Discard the paper or plastic.

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QUINOA CHIA APRICOT BARS from Power Hungry


STICKY SESAME BARS WITH RAW CHOCOLATE DRIZZLE
(makes 20 bars)
I’ll eat just about anything with “sticky” in the title, which prompted me to create a sticky energy bar my raw foodie friends and I can savor together. I’ve cast sesame seeds in a lead role here because I’m tired of seeing one of my favorite ingredients marginalized atop hamburger buns and everything bagels—they have a terrific earthy-nutty flavor and a delicate crunch that goes well with so many dishes. Moreover, their nutritional profile will leave you star-struck. Sesame seeds are a very good source of manganese and copper and a good source of protein, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, and dietary fiber. Further, they contain two special types of fiber, sesamin and sesamolin, which are members of the lignans group and can lower “bad” cholesterol and help prevent high blood pressure. And did I mention chocolate? Namely, raw chocolate drizzle? Sesame seeds plus raw chocolate drizzle equals crazy good.

2 cups raw nuts (e.g., cashews, peanuts, pistachios, pecans)
1 cup raw sesame seeds
1/2 cup chia seeds or poppy seeds
1/2 cup raw agave nectar or raw honey
1/3 cup natural, unsweetened raw nut or seed butter (e.g., tahini, sunflower, or peanut)
2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil, warmed until melted
1 teaspoons vanilla extract (omit, if strictly raw)
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

RAW CHOCOLATE DRIZZLE
2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil, warmed until melted
2 tablespoons raw agave nectar or raw honey
2 tablespoons raw, unsweetened, natural cocoa powder (not Dutch process)

1. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil or parchment paper and grease the pan with coconut oil or vegetable oil.
2. Place the nuts, sesame seeds, and chia seeds in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add the agave nectar, nut or seed butter, oil, vanilla, and salt. Process, using on/o. pulses, until the mixture is blended and begins to stick together and clump on the sides of the bowl.
3. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Place a large piece of parchment paper, wax paper, or plastic wrap (lightly greased with coconut or vegetable oil) atop the bar mixture and use it to spread and flatten the mixture evenly in the pan; leave the paper or plastic wrap to cover. Place the mixture in the freezer for 30 minutes.
4. To prepare the chocolate drizzle: Mix the oil, agave nectar, and cocoa powder in a small bowl until blended. Remove the bar mixture from the freezer, uncover, and decoratively drizzle or spread with the chocolate mixture. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or place in the freezer for 1 hour until the mixture is firm.
5. Using the liner, lift the mixture from the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 20 bars. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

STICKY SESAME BARS WITH RAW CHOCOLATE DRIZZLE from Power Hungry

STICKY SESAME BARS WITH RAW CHOCOLATE DRIZZLE from Power Hungry

Nutrients per bar: Calories 201, Fat 15 g, (Saturated 3.8 g), Cholesterol 0 mg, Sodium 33 mg, Carbs 14.8 g (Fiber 4.5 g, Sugars 8.7 g), Protein 5.9 g

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