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Do It Yourself: Protein Bars

If you read my protein bar post, you now know that many of these convenient, energy-dense snacks contain some questionable ingredients. Rather than omit them from your diet, why not make your own? It's just as convenient: the following bars take less than 30 minutes to prepare. They're flavorful, nutrient-dense, and made without protein powders, artificial flavors, or highly processed sweeteners.


I logged the ingredients of these recipes into a web app called Cronometer, which calculates the nutrients in detail. My aim was to find whole-food energy bars with 11 grams of sugar per serving or less—less than an Rx bar, which is one of the few whole-food energy bars commercially available. So, follow the links below to DIY and be better than the best!


A note about macronutrients, micronutrients, and daily values:

You'll notice I include some nutrient information below each recipe. I reframed the typical nutrition label to what I believe is a healthier and more practical way of viewing this information.

Firstly, I find the % Daily Value to be a much more tangible way of thinking about nutrition than grams, milligrams, micrograms... I certainly don't have each vitamin and mineral's optimal intake memorized, and I doubt most of us do. Looking at a percentage, we can say, "oh wow, that dish gives me 50% of the energy I need today!" or "look at that, one smoothie provides 135% of today's Vitamin A!"—and so on. (Plus, it's kind of like seeing nutrition as a video game where you consume a food and then little gold coins and gold letters,"+25% Magnesium Bonus" appears above your head— I can't be the only one who enjoys this thought, haha)


And before you start stressing about meeting 100% of every category every

day: don't, that's not the goal. The goal is to gain awareness of what various nutrients can do for you, which foods contain them, and what you may be chronically missing out on over time. There is no small accountant

in your intracellular fluid tallying these levels. Just know that the wider the net you cast in terms of whole-food diversity, the wider spectrum of nutrients you'll encounter! It's less about making each day mega-nutrient-dense, and more about getting a good, diverse rotation throughout the days and weeks.


Sugar is the only item I listed here that has no daily value—less is more when it comes to your health. The World Health Organization recommends no more than 25 grams per day.


Also, "energy" = calories. I believe energy is a better word, because that's

what calories do!


Important to keep in mind:

- These daily values are calculated for the average person. Depending on the makeup of the biologically complex miracle that is you, you may need more or less of a given nutrient.


All of that now being said, let's get to the recipes!


1. Banana Caramel Cashew No-Bake Energy Bars

by Cupcakes & Kale Chips

+ 5% energy

+ 4% carbs

+ 6% fiber

+ 9g sugar

+ 8% fats

+ 5% protein


+ 10% Copper - strong tissues, anti-aging, stable energy levels, balanced blood cholesterol.


+ 8% Manganese - healthy bones, beautiful skin, balanced blood sugar, anti-aging.


+ 7% Magnesium - healthy bones, decreased fatigue, nervous system balance, decreased inflammation, balanced blood sugar.


2. No-Bake Apricot Almond Coconut Energy Bars

by The Real Food Dietitians

+ 12% energy

+ 6% carbs

+24% fiber

+11g sugar

+ 28% fats

+ 14% protein


+ 43% Manganese - healthy bones, beautiful skin, balanced blood sugar, anti-aging.


+ 39% Vitamin E - anti-aging, heart health.


+ 23% Magnesium - healthy bones, decreased fatigue, nervous system balance, decreased inflammation, balanced blood sugar.


3. Paleo Energy Bars

by Sam Eats Her Nutrients



(20 servings)

+ 15% energy

+ 5% carbs

+15% fiber

+10g sugar

+ 38% fats

+ 14% protein


+ 45% Manganese - healthy bones, beautiful skin, balanced blood sugar, anti-aging.


+ 29% Vitamin E - anti-aging, heart health.


+ 23% Magnesium - healthy bones, decreased fatigue, nervous system balance, decreased inflammation, balanced blood sugar.


4. Paleo Nut Energy Bars

by Tastes of Lizzy T


+ 11% energy

+ 4% carbs

+ 15% fiber

+ 7g sugar

+ 29% fats

+ 11% protein


+ 56% Manganese - healthy bones, beautiful skin, balanced blood sugar, anti-aging.


+ 19% Copper - strong tissues, anti-aging, stable energy levels, balanced blood cholesterol.


+ 14% Magnesium - healthy bones, decreased fatigue, nervous system balance, decreased inflammation, balanced blood sugar.


5. Paleo Coconut Bars

by Running on Real Food



+ 11% energy

+ 4% carbs

+22% fiber

+5g sugar

+26% fats

+13% protein


+ 72% Manganese - healthy bones, beautiful skin, balanced blood sugar, anti-aging.


+ 25% Magnesium - healthy bones, decreased fatigue, nervous system balance, decreased inflammation, balanced blood sugar.


+ 21% Phosphorous - genetic and cellular function, healthy bones, energy maintenance, pH balance.



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