No Bake Protein Bars – Healthy Chocolate! Ready in 15 mins
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I don’t tend to follow fads or new diet crazes, and I’m usually about four years behind on the latest ‘superfood’ but I have to admit when I was back in the UK a few weeks ago I did treat myself to a few ‘raw organic bars’.
Some of them were pretty good – but really expensive! Up to £2. Two pounds! For a few nuts, seeds and dried fruits pressed together into an (admittedly tasty) little snack bar.
I only forked out the scandalous fees because I really wanted to try them – and to know if I could make one equally good (or better) myself, for cheaper. I could, and I can.
Keeping Costs Down
As I mentioned already, and will continue to do so, most of these bars are extortionately expensive. And why?
Well partly because the costs of nuts and seeds start to add up, but mostly because these companies know that people will pay through the nose for something once they see a label of ‘natural’, ‘organic’, ‘animal friendly’, ‘paleo’, ‘gluten free’ or whatever.
Take your pick, it’s probably been slapped on a bar. Even just giving it a tag like this seems to magically make the bar cost double the price.
It’s the same for the companies producing meat replacement products (think sliced veggie ‘ham’) and so on – it’s bullshit.
You’re paying through the nose for an inexpensive item (usually a mash of some type of tofu/soya or seitan) because they know you will.
If you’re avoiding meat for humane reasons then beware that many of these ‘veggie’ companies are big meat producers too – and you’re feeding them profit.
Many meat replacements also use egg, and although some used are free-range, many are not.
I’m not saying they’re all evil or worthless, and indeed they can be a great help from transitioning away from eating meat, but paying stupid money to a company for a no-meat product or a few nuts and berries can’t be the answer can it?
Being vegetarian or vegan is starting to get a reputation for being expensive – and I call bull.
So what to do? Make no bake protein bars yourself of course!
By my reckoning, a ‘bar’ of this delicious concoction will cost you at most $1.00 if you make them yourself. And those are big bars, like 50g, compared to the 30g bars I was eating.
You’ll need to invest in the essential ingredients like lovely hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds and apricots first and an easy way to do it is order it all online.
If you can buy in bulk you have a real advantage, though of course that’s what the big companies have too. It can be worth keeping an eye out in your local area for special offers and deals too.
You’ll need an initial outlay to begin with to buy the various different ingredients first, but nuts and dried fruits last forever (well pretty much anyway) so you’ll be stocked up for ages.
Think of it as an investment 🙂
As an optional side, you can also put in some flax seeds or protein powder (so you can also flavour the bars in different ways).
These elevate the nutritional content way above typical store bought bars, and are perfect for a post-workout snack.
We also add a little dark chocolate for the blood pressure benefits it brings (as well as taste of course).
You can even mix up the nuts, seeds and fruits to what you have at home. If you don’t have apricots but have a load of raisins or dried cranberries – use them instead!
You’ll save money and make sure ingredients don’t get wasted.
As long as you follow the amounts listed in the recipe, the consistency of the of the bars will be perfect. So set your creative side free – go wild 😉
Health Benefits – No Bake Protein Bars
I could write an essay on the importance of getting nuts and seeds into your diet – but I don’t want to bore you. Plus, these guys have summed it up a lot better.
In a nutshell (har har) – almonds will help with heart health, provide protection against diabetes and even help with losing weight – to name but a few benefits!
Some seeds, like pumpkin seeds, are an exceptionally good way of obtaining zinc – helping greatly with antioxidant support.
According to WHfoods, pumpkin seeds have even been linked to lowering risks of cancer! Time to dig in, I think 🙂
- 4 tbsp almonds (4 tbsp = 50g)
- 4 tbsp hazelnuts (4 tbsp = 50g)
- ⅔ cup porridge oats
- 4 tbsp pumpkin seeds (4 tbsp = 50g)
- 1-2 tbsp maple syrup (or honey, if that’s fine for you)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 shot freshly brewed espresso (any strong coffee will work)
- 6 apricots, dried (6 dried apricots = 50g)
- 1.8 oz dark chocolate
- ½ cup flax seeds, ground
- salt to taste
- ½ cup your favourite protein powder instead of the flax seeds.
- Add the nuts, oats and seeds and toast on a low heat for four or five minutes – until golden brown. Optional: blend the mix roughly with a food processor or blender. It will make the bars better stick together.
- Pour in the maple syrup, olive oil and coffee and stir for a couple of minutes.
- Finely chop the apricots and dark chocolate. Add both together with the flax seeds (or protein powder). Keep stirring until it’s all mixed evenly.
- Line a tray with cling film or foil and pour in the mixture. Press it down firmly with a spoon or spatula – this will ensure the bar stays together properly.
- Chill for a minimum of four hours in the fridge, chop into equal sizes and take one whenever you want!
I had a go at making this yesterday evening and refrigerated it over night – it was looking good in the tin, but when I went to cut it this morning it fractured into a thousand little nutty, seedy pieces. I followed the recipe using the flax seed option – any suggestions for adjustments I could make to make it bind together better?
Hi Sam! I have two ideas right off the bat: did you use quick oats or large rolled oats? Quick oats deffo work better. For the flax seeds: did you use ground flax seeds or whole ones? Ground flax seeds are the better option. I was planning to make another batch later on today or early tomorrow. I’ll let you know if I find more tripping stones!
I had indeed been using rolled oats and whole flax seeds. I tried again last night and stuck the oats through the food processor and the flax seeds through my coffee mill to get a powder. I also chopped the nuts before I roasted them. That did the trick nicely and my bars now look (and taste) superb – thanks for the tips 🙂
Hi Sam, thanks for messaging back! I’m not sure what’s wrong with me, but I feel I’m in competition mode all the time at the moment: instead of thinking “yaay, Sams’s protein bars turned out great” I thought “damn, his bars sound really good, mine need to turn out better today!”
At least I catch myself thinking in those ways hahaha
Amazing and surprisingly very tasty – I added some chilli. flakes and cinnamon to give it a kick and they were awaesone. Thank you
Yum, if I could eat all those bars from a tray in a day, so I usually make similar raw bars in a teeny tiny tray and I usually add few drops of water in a crushed flax seeds few minutes before I add them to the mixture – it helps bars not to crumble…
Haha the teeny tray isn’t a bad idea – they’re slightly moreish to say the least 😉
Ah yes, I can see that would work with the flax, I’ve had to add a little moisture from time to time too. But I usually put in coffee 😀
hey , i prepared mine , they taste amazingly delicious . my only bad that it fell apart , but eventhough its not a bummer with such taste 😀 thanks alot
Hi Bassel! Really glad to hear to you enjoyed the bars. And I’m glad you still got all the nutritional benefits from them 🙂 – lets try and get to the bottom of why they fell apart! As you might have noticed from the comments above, using whole flax seeds and/or large rolled oats seems to be a serial offender in regards to the bars crumbling. Crushing/grinding those first should solve the problem, or as Jasmin points out a little water in the flax should do it. If they still appear crumbly then I usually add a little more coffee (extra honey/syrup is also a fix to the problem, depending on whether you find it important to avoid that or not). Please let us know how you get on next time, thanks for the feedback!
is it possible to prepare them without coffee- I would like to serve these to my kids. Thanks.
Absolutely, Milica! You could use the same amount of chocolate milk instead (soy milk or almond milk would work too).
Hope they’ll be a success! 🙂
Thanks. I’ll give it a try
I thought I might try it with ginger, green or berry tea.
I think all of it would work nicely, Nicki! 🙂
I actually used a blender and apart from the apricot and chocolate I grinned all my seeds , nuts and oats – I left a handful outa me chopped them roughly and added chopped apricots and choclate – no crumbling at all as it bound well together like a fudge bar . Hope it helps – don’t forget some chilli flakes and cinnamon if you like a kick
Cool! Nice touches. Really like the chili flake idea :). Thanks for the feedback Stephen!
Hi how can you store these ? Do they freeze o
If not how long do they keep in the fridge? Thanks
Fridge is perfect, Debs!