Everyone needs protein to survive on a daily basis, so our bodies can maintain muscles, organs, and other structures and fluids. Many studies have shown that people who eat more protein have more lean muscle—the correct combination of strength training and consuming protein is what makes us build muscles, and the older you get, the more protein you need to bulk up. In fact, according to a recent study by the American Journal of Physiology -- Endocrinology and Metabolism, male adults need 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight (about 62 g of protein per day for a 170-pound person). That’s equal to about 3 full-sized chicken breasts—and a lot of people don’t realize that they don’t get enough of their protein quota daily. Power bars are a great way to get your protein needs, but more often than not, store-bought options do more harm than good, because they’re packed with sugar and preservatives, too. We’ve come up with some easy recipes that even a kitchen newbie could pull off.

Oat Chocolate Bars:

Ingredients:
  • ½ Cup low fat soy milk or unsweetened almond milk
  • 3 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 Tbsp. almond butter
  • 1 small banana, mashed
  • 1 Tbsp Chia seeds
  • 1½ Cup rolled oats
  • 2 scoops chocolate protein powder
  • ½ Cup sliced almonds
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 2 cups dark chocolate chips or buttons (optional)

Preparation:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Combine first soy milk, honey, banana, almond butter, and chia seeds in a medium to large bow and mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients (oats, almonds, protein powder, flour), then slowly mix in with wet ingredients. Make sure batter is well-incorporated.
  4. Spread coconut oil on a shallow, square baking tin and spread batter across. Bake for 20-25 minutes, checking at 20 minutes to see if the batter is dry when pierced with a fork. Let cool before removing from pan and cutting into bars.
For the chocolate topping:
  1. Pour about 1-2 Tbsp coconut oil into a small pan.
  2. Pour dark chocolate chips into pan and heat until melted.
  3. Spread chocolate over each bar and cool.
  4. Store bars in freezer.

No-Bake Bites:

Ingredients:
  • 1½ Cup rolled oats or quick-cook oats
  • 3 scoops chocolate protein powder
  • ¼ Cup Natural Health coconut syrup or agave nectar
  • ⅓ Cup peanut butter
  • ½ Cup crushed almonds or cashews


Preparation:
  1. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Mix rolled oats, protein powder, and nuts in a bowl.
  3. Combine peanut butter and sorghum syrup, and add to dry ingredients.
  4. When texture is dough-like, press into parchment paper depending on how thick you want it.
  5. Freeze for about 20 minutes before slicing into bars.

"Chocnut” No-Bake Bars:

Ingredients:


Preparation:
  1. Prepare a baking sheet or loaf pan and spray/brush with oil. Set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix all dry ingredients including the nuts and seeds.
  3. Add the vanilla extract to the milk
  4. Slowly add milk with vanilla extract in the mixing bowl with the “dry ingredients” and thoroughly mix.
  5. Check the consistency of the batter. Add more milk if too dry, or add coconut flour if too wet.
  6. Once you can form a protein bar with your hands, place the batter in the baking sheet or loaf pan and spread evenly firmly pressing with your hands.
  7. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to set before cutting into bars.

Trisha Bautista is a freelance writer, food and product stylist, social media manager, and violin teacher. She was formerly editorial assistant and social media editor for Women’s Health Philippines, and the assistant lifestyle editor and social media editor for Cosmopolitan Philippines. She enjoys discovering easy recipe hacks, working out by herself and trying out DIY workout programs, traveling outdoors, and enjoying wine and whiskey.

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