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How to Make Healthy Protein Bars

By Michelle Kerns

It's important to eat protein after exercising, sports nutritionist Suzanne Girard Eberle said in "The Washington Post" in 2013. Protein helps you repair and build muscles when you're recovering from a workout, especially if you consume it within 30 to 60 minutes of completing your exercise regimen. You can get this protein from nuts, dairy products, eggs or lean meat, poultry or fish, but protein bars are more convenient since they're easily transportable and quick to eat. If you want the benefits of a protein bar without the high cost and the added preservatives, make your own at home.

Mix your choice of dry ingredients in a large bowl, selecting from whole rolled oats, seeds like sesame or shelled sunflower seeds, shredded coconut, flavored or unflavored protein powder, oat bran, wheat germ or a flour such as whole-wheat, almond or oat flour. Use approximately 4 1/2 to 5 total cups, using any proportion of ingredients that you prefer.

Add your preferred seasonings and sweeteners, choosing from salt, spices such as cinnamon, vanilla extract, brown or white sugar, dried fruit like blueberries or cherries and chocolate chips or chunks of chopped chocolate. Mix thoroughly.

Stir in wet ingredients that can bind the dry ingredients, seasonings and sweeteners together. Use maple syrup, mashed ripe bananas, Greek yogurt, honey, oil like coconut oil, nut butter, cow's milk or plant milk, juice, eggs or water, as desired. Add enough to yield a batter that can be shaped easily.

Press the mixture into a baking dish that's been lightly coated with oil or nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes. Allow to cool, then cut into squares or bars.

Tips

Store baked protein bars in an airtight container or individually wrapped in plastic wrap inside the refrigerator for up to a week.

If you prefer, you can simply chill the protein bars in the freezer before cutting and storing them.

Warnings

Do not use eggs in protein bars that you plan to chill instead of baking.

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