My version of homemade protein bars originates from the idea of making my own homemade Quest bars. Why? I discovered the Quest bars and their deliciousness when I was at the beginning of my keto journey. While I thought they were a perfect snack for busy people, I also realized it wasn't the cheapest snack out there.
Later on, I started thinking these bars were not much more than highly processed food, and that one should not consume too many of them, no matter how tasty. The recommended limit is 2 bars a day, but I think there's so much real food out there that, even for an extremely busy person, 2 bars a week should be enough.
While on a keto diet, even one Quest bar at a time can be a bit too much protein.
Related: Protein Fasting Experiment (oh well....)
A nice solution would be eating half a bar and adding more fat like whipped cream or coconut butter. Further on, the bars contain IMO syrup that supposedly throws some people out of ketosis. So, having a Quest bar at hand is a very nice solution when extremely busy, but it shouldn't be the only solution.
Taking all this into consideration, I decided to make my own bars that would be more keto-friendly and would make a perfect on-the-go snack when all else fails. I invested in the IMO syrup and made a batch of bars that seems to last forever. Half of the bars are still sitting in my refrigerator. I prefer natural food but still, find one of these to be a delicious sweet little snack in emergencies.
Some of the benefits of making your own homemade protein bars:
- You choose what type of protein powder you throw in. This way you are in control of the ingredients and possibly avoid less preferred sweeteners.
- You increase the amount of fat in the bar and decrease the amount of protein you desire.
- You choose the type of flour/ meal that goes in. I use macadamia meal and/ or shredded coconut.
- You make a bar as big as you need for a snack.
I'll share recipes for two basic types of homemade protein bars. One is based on macadamia and the other on coconut. You can use almond or any other nut butter and meal if you wish, but the macronutrient values will change accordingly.
Add some dark chocolate bits or crushed nuts. Use your imagination. Some hints: Matcha green tea powder, cinnamon, cardamom, jaffa chocolate butter. Use your imagination!
Homemade Quest Bars
Macadamia based protein bar
- 0.8 oz IMO syrup
- 1 tablespoon macadamia butter
- 0.5 oz whey protein - (I used vanilla)
- 0.5 oz macadamia meal
Coconut based protein bar
- 1 oz IMO syrup
- 1 tablespoon macadamia butter
- 0.5 oz coconut - (shredded)
- 0.5 oz whey protein - (I used strawberry vanilla)
- 0.3 oz coconut flour
- This procedure applies to whichever version of protein bar you choose to make.
- Get your ingredients ready. In a small bowl, combine flour (or meal) and protein powder. Have the tablespoon of butter at hand.
- Pour the IMO syrup into a small microwave-safe bowl (or a ramekin).
- In a microwave, nuke the syrup on high for 20 seconds.
- Take the bowl with the hot syrup out of the microwave and immediately mix in the nut butter (use a spoon). While the mixture is still hot, mix in the flour-protein mix.
Feel free to add in some spices at this point. I love adding ½ tsp. of matcha green tea powder, especially with the coconut version.
- The mixture will probably be crumbly and should also be sticky. Put it on a kitchen foil, cover it with more foil, and use your hands to shape one or two bars.
- If you desire, add some dark chocolate bits or crushed nuts.
- Place the bars in the fridge. You can eat one straight away or microwave it for 20 seconds (in this case it will inflate a bit and get soft. You can add some whipped cream, and eat the bar as a dessert).
Do you know what imo syrup is? Do you know what changes a microwave has on nutrients? There are too many unknowns there. It is a common misstep on the keto path. Part desperation, part ignorance. One is better off having a little raw sugar, dark chocolate, quality honey, etc. and exercising to burn it off. The more you do, the more carbs one can afford.
My Sweet Keto says
Folwart, thank you for pointing out some of the concerns that you (and me) share with lots of individuals out there.
IMO syrup stands for IsoMalto-Oligosaccharides syrup that is, in short, made out of starch. It is not a natural ingredient, nor it is calorie or carb-free. Probably, each person digests it somehow differently, depending on many factors. Same goes for protein powders. While this recipe includes a considerable amount of IMO syrup, it does not intend to encourage readers to use it excessively. It does, however, offer an alternative option for commercial protein bars. Another possibility is also a bag of chips at a supermarket. Everyone decides for themselves. As for the alternatives you are offering, I couldn't agree more. Now and then I do indulge in bits of either quality chocolate or honey, or such, just like I occasionally use IMO syrup in a dessert or a bar, mainly because of its gluing properties. But overdoing it is not an option here.
As for microwave effects on nutrients, I just recently wrote an article about pros and cons, standing on scientific research. It will be published soon. Writing it, I couldn't find any sound scientific research that would support the somewhat popular belief that microwaving is unhealthy in any way. If you find such research, please do share.
Anyhow, I strongly support an individual's thoughtfulness and criticism of what they are being sold and what and how much of certain something they consume.