Protein bars are actually really easy to make on a budget. You just need four basic ingredients: oatmeal, nut butter, cream and protein powder. That’s it - you combine all four, chill overnight and slice into bars. It works out a lot cheaper than buying readymade and it’s a lot healthier, too.
You can use these bars for breakfast or as a snack, depending on how you slice them. They are ideal pre-workout (sessions 1hr+) and post workout (if you are trying to gain weight and put on muscle) snacks. It’s also an easy way to eat more quality food if you are really skinny and you need to bulk up. If you are trying to lose weight, one of these bars in the morning will help you cut back on snacking during the day keeping you fuller longer.
One batch can last you up to two weeks and should be always kept chilled in the fridge. You can use any milk or cream for the recipe but coconut cream works best. You can buy it in any local supermarket in the Asian foods section, it comes in tins and packets, consistency may vary from brand to brand. Coconut cream and milk are often the same thing, just have different labels. You want to find one with the consistency of cooking cream but not as thick as butter.
We use peanut butter for the recipe because it’s the cheapest option. You can use any other butter, coconut or almond butters for example. You can use seed butters if you have a nut allergy. If you have no peanut butter in your country, you can make your own – we’ve got a recipe here.
This recipe is based on protein powder. We use it, again, because it’s cheap. It raises the protein content of the bars and it adds flavour. We use vanilla but you can use any type of protein powder you want as long as it has a flavour – if you use plain protein powder, your bars will come out plain. You can find a no-powder protein bar recipe here.
If you are not a fan of protein powder or are not comfortable using it, you can still make the bars using this recipe here. You’ll just need to add extra flavour to the bars but they’ll still come out just as tasty (we use honey for sweetness).
Quick tip: use disposable gloves in the last stage of mixing (when you add oatmeal) – it’ll make the process faster and less tedious. Foil or baking paper can be used for the pan lining. We often cover the bars with baking paper as well to prevent them from drying out.
400g uncooked oatmeal (quick oats)
200g peanut butter
250ml coconut cream or milk
6 scoops whey vanilla protein powder
200 Calories per bar
6g carbohydrates / 2g fiber
1Pour the coconut milk (or cream) into a large bowl, whisk until smooth if necessary.
2Add protein powder and continue whisking.
3Next add peanut butter and mix everything together with a spoon.
4Add uncooked oatmeal and mix everything together - you may need to use your hands at this point.
5Line a dish with baking paper or foil, transfer the mix in and flatten it until smooth.
6Chill in the fridge overnight (or minimum 2hrs) then cut into 12 or 14 bars.