If you’re like me, you probably cringe when you’re standing in the “healthy” aisle of your local grocer while reading the ingredients list of that wall of protein and energy bars before you. You might, like I do, sometimes, pull out your phone and start scanning them, seeing how they fare on Fooducate.
The verdict? They all suck.
They’re all over-processed, loaded with filler, and just not really that good for you. They’re glorified candy bars, some just a smidge better for you than that Milkyway and some actually worse. Which is why I only grab one Balance Bar in Chocolate Raspberry and one in Chocolate Craze. They’re my “treats” for the week.
Fall is settling into the coast here in Maine, so that means I tend to cook inside more than I do out (although even snow doesn’t keep me away from my grill). Meaning one thing, experimentation is back in full swing on the quarry.
Starting with homemade protein bars.
I found on BodyBuilding.com a recipe for DIY protein bars that boasts just 5 easy steps. I happened to have all the ingredients except any of the flours it called for, so I set out to the task.
It is noted to use a flour that can be eaten raw… and those flours are: coconut flour, almond flour, or a grain-based flour like oat flour or quinoa flour among some. Coconut makes me gag, and I won’t even get into my reaction to almonds, so my choices were narrowed down to oat flour and quinoa flour. I went for the quinoa flour, a) because I love quinoa and, b) because, well, it was the easiest to find. (Note: Beware, this stuff is far from cheap. One bag of quinoa flour ran about $9.)
I set out all of my ingredients, picked the bar I was going to make and starting making what I hoped to be magic in my kitchen.
Boy was I wrong.
First off, quinoa flour is kind of gross. Tastes nothing like actual quinoa. Second, be prepared to add massive amounts of both protein and flour to get this mixture to “bind” and be shapable into bars.
My bars inevitably ended up in cupcake liners and shoved in the freezer and are now used as what I have dubbed “smoothie pucks”, as the only way that I can stomach them without my face puckering up is with things added to it.
The ingredient recipe I followed:
- 1/2 cup Vanilla Whey
- 1/4 cup of Flaked Coconut (try toasting your own!) (substituted w/dried, sugar free cranberries)
- 1/4 cup of Coconut Flour (substituted with quinoa flour)
- 1/4 cup of Milk
- 30 grams melted 85% Dark Chocolate
What I ended up with:
- 1 1/3 cup Vanilla Whey
- 1/2 cup dried, sugar free cranberries
- 1 cup of quinoa flour
- 1/4 cup of Milk
30 grams melted 85% Dark Chocolate
And I feel the need to add: They still were not solid enough to stay formed into bars, hence why they were put into cupcake liners. And I ditched the chocolate to dip them into because, well, what was the point? I had nothing to dip them in to.