One of my very first blog posts was this one for Homemade Protein Bars. That post has received a lot of traffic over the last year and a half. Apparently, a lot of people use “the interwebs” to research homemade protein bars.

homemade protein bar

Well, here we have Homemade Protein Bars Take 2. I could also be calling them granola bars. I think they could stand a bit more tinkering, but I like them. A lot. I avoided using any type of protein powder this time because I am just not a fan of it, but if you added some in, it would certainly make the protein content higher. I want to see if I can get them to be a little less crumbly next time…so don’t be surprised to see Take 3 at some point in the future.

On the original post, a lot of people asked me if I could provide nutritional information for the recipe: ie the calories, fat, and protein per bar. I was initially annoyed by this line of questioning and tried to beg off, stating that I don’t count calories and don’t think my readers should either. I tried to explain that I believe eating a balanced, whole foods diet should not require focusing on these types of numbers: believe me when I say that I’ve been there, done that with the nutritional number crunching thing (I spent all of my teenage years and early twenties obsessing over that stuff) and don’t feel it’s necessary for good health (in fact, I think it can be detrimental to your psyche).

That said, I realize some people feel differently than I do about this having this information at their disposal (plus curiosity got the best of me), so I decided to run the ingredients through the recipe calculator over at Spark Recipes. This is what I came up with:

If you cut these into 9 bars (which are pretty large: I’ve been eating them for breakfast and they are very filling), each bar has:

357.6 calories
16.9 g. total fat (the bulk of which is monounsaturated)
0 mg. cholesterol
12.8 mg. sodium
492.5 mg. potassium
58.5 g total carbohydrates (of which 7.1 g is fiber)
11.3 g protein

Looking at these numbers, I’d honestly like to see the carbs lower and the protein higher. I’ll be trying to make this happen when I work on “Take 3″. But considering these contain entirely all-natural ingredients and in light of how high they are in some of the micronutrients (see below), I feel pretty good about eating them.

Vitamin/Mineral Profile of each bar:

Vitamin B-12 1.1 %
Vitamin B-6 9.3 %
Vitamin C 1.4 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 27.4 %
Calcium 13.5 %
Copper 36.5 %
Folate 12.2 %
Iron 26.9 %
Magnesium 37.1 %
Manganese 136.4 %
Niacin 7.5 %
Pantothenic Acid 10.0 %
Phosphorus 41.2 %
Riboflavin 12.5 %
Selenium 5.5 %
Thiamin 28.5 %
Zinc 18.8 %

I sweetened these with Coconut Secret Raw Coconut Nectar .

This is a low glycemic sweetener I found recently and have not used too much, but it worked very well here. You could use pure maple syrup, raw honey, or your favorite all natural sweetener instead, if you like.

Something I am going to try when I make these again is soaking the oats overnight before proceeding with the rest of the recipe. Soaking grains like oats makes them more digestible, and allows the nutrients to be better absorbed by the body.

So how do you feel about me including nutritional information with my recipes? Please let me know. Also, if you’ve had success with homemade protein bars and would like to share your secrets, I’d love to hear how you make them.

how to make homemade protein bars

Homemade Protein Bars/Granola Bars

makes 9-12, depending on how what size pan you use and how you cut them

Ingredients:

*2 1/2 cups organic raw oats (make sure to use certified gluten-free oats if you need the recipe to be gluten-free
*1 cup dried blueberries (try to find ones without added sugar or preservatives; you could also use raisins, currants or your favorite dried fruit, chopped small)
*1/2 cup organic almond butter (or use organic peanut butter, or a different nut/seed butter)
*1/2 cup organic, plain Greek yogurt (I use full-fat; to make this recipe vegan, omit and use 1/2 cup more almond butter)
*1/3 cup hemp seeds (available in bulk food section of natural food stores)
*1/3 cup sesame seeds
*1/3 cup sunflower seeds
*1/4 raw coconut nectar (or honey, maple syrup, molasses, or your favorite all-natural liquid sweetener)
*1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*1 teaspoon fine Himalayan or sea salt
*1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients until well combined.

2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Press "batter" into a lightly buttered/oiled 8 x 8 inch pan. Really press down/pack it in.

3. Bake for 20-25 minutes until light golden brown. Cool before slicing into bars (freezing them before doing so may keep them from crumbling when slicing).

homemade protein bars

More Bars to Check Out:
Molasses Ginger Bars from GoodLifeEats
5 Ingredient Granola Bars from How Sweet It Is
Healthy Homemade Granola Bars from Craving Greens

 

33 Comments

  1. 1

    Kristin @ FoodFash — February 4, 2011 @ 9:35 am

    I think it’s funny to go back to my earlier point and shoot posts as well! As embarrassing as it is, at least it makes you feel better knowing you’ve improved throughout the years!

  2. 2

    Kalynskitchen — February 4, 2011 @ 9:43 am

    This sounds like a great recipe. And I “improve” my old recipes all the time in addition to updating the photos!

    I am curious why you use full fat Greek yogurt? I love the 0% Fage Greek Yogurt and think it’s creamy even without the fat. (Not criticizing your choice, just wondering if there is a reason why the fat-free would not work?)

    As for providing nutritional information it’s something I refuse to do for the blog. I get requests for it all the time but since I chose the SBD to manage my weight partly because I didn’t want to have to count points, fat grams, or carbs, I am not going to do it for the blog either. It just goes against all my beliefs about food. I figure if other people want that information they can calculate it themselves. Going to check out the calculator you used though because people are always asking me to recommend one.

  3. 3

    Connie — February 4, 2011 @ 9:51 am

    Surprisingly I have everything but the seeds at the house. This would be interesting to try.

  4. 4

    Jeanette — February 4, 2011 @ 11:18 am

    These sound super healthy and look like a nice treat. I’ve thought about posting nutritional information as well, but I think it detracts from the recipe. I believe if we eat lots of different whole foods and eat in moderation, that’s the best way to stay healthy. Having said that, some people do best when they can add up what they’ve eaten over the course of the day. It helps them keep track.

  5. 5

    veggietestkitchen — February 4, 2011 @ 12:09 pm

    wow, making protein bars at home sounds like a great idea. i haven’t done this yet, but your recipe looks so easy i might have to try this weekend. are you still using a P&S, or have you upgraded? I always use a P&S, and I find that for the most part, it’s possible to take good pictures. the only limitation is that the light needs to be perfect, and you can’t really get the effect of focusing on whatever you choose while blurring out the rest of the shot. i love those sorts of pics.

    thanks for reposting and sharing this recipe. i have a veg blog that you might want to check out if you’re into health food. cheers.

  6. 6

    Cookin' Canuck — February 4, 2011 @ 12:41 pm

    My husband is a marathoner and I have been wanting to make an energy bar for him for a long time. I can’t wait to try these!

  7. 7

    Fresh and Foodie — February 4, 2011 @ 1:45 pm

    Fantastic! Great recipe and I love that you provided the nutrition info. My husband and I eat a lot of Clif bars — this would be a nice alternative.

  8. 8

    irena — February 4, 2011 @ 3:04 pm

    Beautiful, so much better making fresh home made bars:)

  9. 9

    Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite — February 4, 2011 @ 6:31 pm

    Bookmarking this to try soon – I am always on the lookout for healthy granola bars – it kills me to pay $$ for the better for you ones.

  10. 10

    uncanny kitchen — February 4, 2011 @ 8:54 pm

    This recipe is one for me to try. I like having the nutritional info available as it sometimes will prompt me to try one recipe over another….it’s just helpful information.

  11. 11

    Kay — February 5, 2011 @ 4:07 am

    I would love to try this one. i really like the small amount of sugar in it. Need to buy gluten free oats and I just found out that (through the hard way) I’m sensitive to regular oats.

  12. 12

    Kay — February 5, 2011 @ 4:09 am

    Also, wanted to say (since ou mentioned upping the protein and not liking protein powder), I saw a recipe somewhere recently that used cooked garbanzo beans in an energy bar. Can’t find it now, but will share it if i find it at all. I was intrigued by that as it would certainly shoot up the protein levels.

  13. 13

    Lisa Arnoff — February 5, 2011 @ 10:46 am

    I think providing nutritional information is great. It seems to me that most people have no idea what a portion is or how many calories are in the things they eat. I know and appreciate that you are trying to concentrate on the “healthy” aspects but many people (including me) have a hard time keeping healthy and keeping their weight under control without a better understanding of the number of calories consumed (and burned). It seems to me that the people I know underestimate the number of calories consumed and over estimate calories burned. So they are always complaining about their weight. I enjoy receiving nutritional information so I can make the smarter choices. I know it’s a painful process – so thanks!

  14. 14

    mimi — February 5, 2011 @ 11:55 am

    Lovely pictures! These bars look like a good way to supplement my husband’s expensive habit!

  15. 15

    Paula — February 5, 2011 @ 12:23 pm

    I can`t stop looking at this! It`s absolutely divine and I want to try this…

    Have a great time,
    Paula

  16. 16

    Megan — February 6, 2011 @ 10:16 am

    The hubby would love these and it’s nice to have a few different bar recipes to keep him happy! )

  17. 17

    Kim — February 6, 2011 @ 12:41 pm

    What a timely post, because I was just looking for granola bars! (I need to start making my own breakfast food instead of getting the pastry that comes with my morning latte).

    I’ve been posting nutrition info on my blog since day one. Bottom of every post. And not a single reader has commented on it in 15 months. So… for my readers, I’m not sure anyone cares. But I do it for me, because I like knowing what the nutritional value is. :)

    [K]

  18. 18

    Kim Beauchamp — February 6, 2011 @ 8:44 pm

    YUM! I love the addition of dried blueberries, which taste great without added sugar (like dried cranberries). These are going into school lunches this week :)

  19. 19

    Monet — February 6, 2011 @ 11:51 pm

    I try to avoid calorie counting…so I don’t need them, but I know that so many people like to know the nutritional breakdown of what they are eating. I also know that these protein bars look DELICIOUS. I love how you were willing to retry an old recipe (I need to do the same with quite a few of my own) Thank you for sharing, my blogging friend! I’m sending you wishes for a happy and delicious week!

  20. 20

    Heather Davis — February 7, 2011 @ 8:24 am

    I am going to try this for sure! Sound like a very healthy and tasty snack.

  21. 21

    Aubree Cherie — February 8, 2011 @ 7:54 am

    Wow Winnie, these look excellent! I’ve linked this recipe in my Fav Top Ten Recipes of last week post. Thanks!

    ~Aubree Cherie

  22. 22

    Juliet — February 8, 2011 @ 1:33 pm

    I really appreciate the nutritional breakdown. I am not counting calories but as a vegetarian who doesn’t eat soy or wheat, I try to be very conscientious about making sure I get enough protein. Knowing that these have 11 grams will help me figure out what else I have to eat to make sure I get enough.

  23. 23

    Nichole ( eat & be pretty ) — March 31, 2011 @ 9:31 pm

    these look simply yet delicious. i’m training for a half marathon right now so these would be a great pre-workout meal for me!

  24. 24

    Sandra — April 11, 2011 @ 8:05 pm

    I am making this granola bars right now. It looks yummy! I’ve made your granola too, so good to know what kind of ingredients are in it. I loved it!

  25. 25

    ashley — June 23, 2011 @ 10:07 am

    i am really loving your website! i’ve made homemade granola bars before and these look just as yummy! my husband and i are making a vow to eat as close to the earth as possible- we believe that God has given us all these resources and we should use them without changing them too much from their origional state!

  26. 26

    marci — July 15, 2011 @ 7:24 am

    hi WInnie-I just found yr website while searching for homemade protein bars. As one of the 10+ million in this country w/ hypothyroid, I know t’s imparative to follow a whole foods, low carb/low gi/ gluten-free/ hi protein diet to help manage this disease. Sadly many “healthy” recipes (esp gluten free) are way too high in carbs. I’ll customize the recipes above and see how they work out. It would be great to see more low carb recipes on your wonderful blog, and thanks for posting the nutrional info. It’s really important to those of us who need to be mindful of what we ingest. Thanks again!

  27. 27

    Dianna — August 6, 2011 @ 5:35 am

    Can you substitute the almond butter for something else besides peanut butter?

  28. 28

    Sonya — November 18, 2011 @ 9:18 am

    I found this recipe and showed my professor in my nutrition class. He loved the recipe and I will be making these for the class.. Looking forward to seeing how everyone will love them!

  29. 29

    31 Tasty Greek Yogurt Snacks | Greatist — February 28, 2013 @ 10:37 am

    [...] Homemade Protein Bars Refuel after a tough workout with homemade protein bars — they’re cheaper, healthier, and less likely to contain weird chemicals than store-bought [...]

  30. 30

    FurLong — November 4, 2013 @ 7:48 pm

    I tried making your protein bars from the original version. I looked at the recipe and thought, there is A LOT of fats and oils in here. Healthy fats and non-hydrogenated oils yes, but everything in moderation.

    I reduced the coconut oil to half a cup instead of the recommended cup. I also got rid of the brown sugar and maple syrup/ honey. It doesn’t need it! I removed the seeds from 8 medjool dates and put them in my vitamix on high until it wasn’t getting any more smushed. I mixed the date mush into my protein bar mush by squeezing it all together by hand. I baked it for 15 minutes and cut it into bars. I then put it back into the oven for another 15 minutes on 350. The bars looked pretty oily. When I make them again I may cut the oil to 1/4 cup and see if that workd just as well. I also added a half cup of semi sweet chocolate chips because they taste good.

    The end result was delicious!

    For the record, anyone who thinks the nutrition facts on recipes that are made with real ingredients and by hand, are anything beyond a guess, are ridiculous. These numbers are not a good way to evaluate the health of food. I know some people said they HAVE to know the numbers due to one metabolic issue or another. They don’t. If you eat a whole foods based, plant strong diet that isn’t based on overly processed foods, you will start to see how pointless these stupid numbers are. Frankly, I like how you leave the nutrition label out. I completely agree with your reasoning for it. I hope people who are under the number counting delusion don’t sway you to the dumb side. Spending your life counting irrelevant numbers in order to consume something your body is telling you it needs sounds about as healthy to me as eating nothing but Mcdonalds.

    • Winnie replied: — November 4th, 2013 @ 8:18 pm

      Thanks for sharing your experience making the bars and for your comment about calorie counts. I do not plan to add them to my recipes :)

  31. 31

    Cheryl — February 4, 2014 @ 4:22 pm

    I like having the nutritional info too. I am not a calorie counter by any means but I agree that most people have no concept of calories and nutritional content. Part of the reason I am not a calorie counter is that I have spent enough time looking at nutritional labels to have a pretty good estimate in my head and can then place the foods I make on a mental list of sorts…”super healthy”, “better than a cookie” or “once a year for a holiday”. My husband has begun Ironman training and had bought a ton of gross full of junk bars to assist in that goal. I had to provide him with the info to get him to trade your #1 bar in for some of the junk bars. It was easy enough to figure out.

  32. 32

    JD — March 20, 2014 @ 10:50 am

    My flatmate and I made these bars yesterday and they were yum. Will make a great snack after a workout. Thanks for the recipe.

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