Save Money, Get Jacked: Homemade Protein Bars

For reasons that are only partially driven by biology, humans place a strong emphasis on physical appearance. I have no problem with this as I too enjoy looking fit. Unfortunately, our society has developed a real sense of entitlement that everyone should just automatically look good.

This is a line of thinking I’ve never really understood.

We don’t expect to become a doctor without going through med school or anticipate becoming rich if our career aspirations start and end with serving fries at McDonalds.

Yet, somehow, people have decided that it’s appropriate to yearn for a 6-pack, but are unwilling to accept the reality that without many hours of physical activity each week and careful attention to their diet, it probably isn’t going to happen.

As 8-time Mr. Olympia bodybuilding champion Ronnie Coleman is fond of saying,

“Everybody wants to be a bodybuilder but nobody wants to lift no heavy ass weights”

In other words, we often want great things, but are unwilling to invest the time and energy required to make those dreams a reality.

Of course, not everyone wants a 6-pack and would settle for more modest physique improvements. But even when the desire is something as straightforward as “dropping 5-10 lbs”, I’m still amazed at how little understanding people seem to have about what it takes to make it happen.

Undeniably, the most important part of looking good is sticking to a clean, healthy diet. What constitutes clean and healthy can vary from individual to individual, but in general, snacking on beer and cheesies is not considered a sound weight management strategy.

However, despite our cognitive understanding that feasting on beer and cheesies doesn’t produce a 6-pack, we still are loathe to give up the habit and commit to eating healthy food.

Just yesterday I was having a weight-loss related chat with someone at the gym who was telling me about a great motivational slogan he saw on a t-shirt. It’s basically a slogan that perfectly captures the mindset errors that can sink most dieters.

After some digging, I’ve been able to locate a copy of this shirt:

The source of weight loss fails everywhere!

Diet plans always seem to be scheduled to start “someday”. Unfortunately, when it comes to cleaning up the diet, someday is a day that never arrives for most individuals.

But starting a diet “someday” is not the only excuse given to justify avoiding healthy foods. You also hear “I’d love to get in better shape but I don’t have time to eat healthy” or “eating healthy is expensive” on a regular basis.

Since no time and cost are two of the major reasons people offer for not eating starting to eat healthy, I’ve decided to create a 5-minute healthy protein bar recipe that solves both of these issues.

These no-baking required protein bars work awesome as a grab-and-go breakfast option for those individuals who refuse to get up 15 minutes early to prepare an appropriate breakfast.

Alternatively, these bars work equally well as a post-workout snack, particularly if you are looking to add significant muscle mass. It doesn’t take much effort at all to down a couple of these, plus still have room to tackle a post-workout meal… they are just that delicious.

Oat and Peanut Butter Protein Bars

2 cups quick oats (regular oats will be pretty chewy in this recipe)
5-6 scoops vanilla protein powder
5 tbsp natural peanut butter
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional)
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chip (optional)

Lower carb option: omit the cranberries and chocolate chips, add 1/4 cup slivered almonds
Higher fibre option: add 2 TBSP chia seeds to this mixture

In a large bowl, combine oats, protein powder, coconut, cranberries. Add peanut butter and stir till peanut butter is coated. Slowly add ~1/2 cup almond milk, stirring throughout (add just enough liquid to the mix forms a batter-like consistency). Add chocolate chips if desired.

Line an 8×8 pan with wax paper, add mixture to pan. Cover mixture with another layer of wax paper and press down till the mixture is pressed flat. Refrigerate 30-60 minutes, then cut into bars. Wrap any unused bars in saran wrap and store in the fridge.

Makes ~10 servings.

Nutritional info per bar (cranberries and chocolate chips included):
240 kcal
9 g FAT
24 g CHO
– 4 g fibre
19 g PRO

So there you have it, a healthy protein bar recipe that is both quick and easy. No hard to pronounce ingredients, no bizarre preservatives. Oh and for all the frugal members of the crowd, the total costs of raw products works out to about $0.50-$0.60 per bar, so the bars cost less than a 1/5 of what you’d expect to pay in store.

At 5 minutes of prep and less than $5 for the entire recipe… the time to start cleaning up your diet is today – you really don’t have any excuse not to.

And of course, do add any tweaks to to this recipe in the comment section below, I love to hear how you guys adapt this recipe to best suit your needs.

Till next time, train hard and eat clean!