If you feel like you could do with a protein boost on your plant based diet, then one of the easiest ways to do this is through protein bars. You can literally just grab them and go once you have a batch made up, so minimum effort is required for maximum results.
These healthy and homemade plant based protein bars are not only a cinch to make, but will save you a small fortune compared to the shop bought ones that are usually pretty expensive for what they actually are.
Why do we need protein?
Protein is vital to building and repairing body tissues, and is also a crucial building block when it comes to the growth of muscles, cells, skin, bones and blood. We literally need it for every part of our bodies to function, therefore we need to make sure we get enough, especially on plant based and vegan diets.
High protein plant based foods include:-
- Pulses such as lentils, chickpeas, peas, beans of all kinds.
- Whole grains
- Soy products
- Certain veggies are higher in protein than other, these include broccoli, asparagus, spinach, watercress, Swiss chard and bok choy.
If you consume lots of the above list in your diet every day then you are probably getting plenty of protein without the need for protein powders and such. However, if you aren’t getting adequate amino acids though your diet, OR of you do a lot of training/exercise, then sometimes supplements can be of use to you.
My advice would be to get the majority through whole plant foods, as this will always be a more natural way of meeting your needs.
I have given you some recipes that contain both natural ‘whole’ protein sources, and others that contain highly concentrated protein powders that will up the protein content of the bar significantly. You should decide what’s right for you.
How much protein do i need?
The dietary reference intake of protein for the average adult is 0.8 grams per kilo of body weight. This amounts to roughly 56 grams for your average sedentary male and 46 grams for your average sedentary female. But, this is the amount ONLY to prevent deficiency and not necessarily for optimal health .
The true amount you need depends on many other factors, including age, if you are on a calorie restricted diet, current state of health, current muscle mass, and that’s not to mention the fact that when you add exercise into the mix it will change yet again.
If you are a a beginner weight lifter for instance, you will need more protein to help build your muscle mass than somebody who has already built their muscle mass. If you are restricting calories to lose weight, then you should up your protein intake in order to stop your body burning lean muscle mass as fuel.
There are a number of factors when it comes to protein and it’s best not to get bogged down in the science of it. Instead follow a healthy diet filled with all the above foods, and maybe chuck some of these yummy vegan protein bars into the mix and you should be good to go.
Your plant based protein bar recipes
These bars can be eaten as a breakfast, lunch, snack, as a pre-workout energy bar, or as a post workout protein hit. Some of them require protein powder as an ingredient, so these will be higher in protein than some of the others and more suitable as a post workout snack or breakfast.
1. Amaranth and nut butter protein bars
Amaranth is a gluten free grain that is rich in protein, fiber and micronutrients, and popping it as per this recipe will give it a great texture to your bar.
You can use any nut butter in this recipe, but peanut and almond are good as they are high protein nuts that will up the total amino acid content of these tasty bars along with the plant based protein powder.
These are pretty high in maple syrup, so I would definitely eat these specific bars after a training or exercise session to help re-glycogenate the muscles.
Protein, protein, PROTEIN! (Said in loud, hulky voice.) That’s what I’ve jokingly been saying recently as I shovel mass amounts of food into my mouth. I’ve been trying to add more protein into my diet ( as always), but it’s hard work!
2. Mixed nut, seed and banana sugar-free protein/energy bars
These bars are made of only whole ingredients so are suitable for those eating a whole foods plant based diet. They will also give you a great boost of energy due to the sweetness from all those yummy bananas, and the fact that it’s a refined sugar free kind of sweetness makes it all the more, well, sweet I would say.
Tuck into these tasty bars for breakfast, as a snack when you need energy, or as a pre-workout energy boost to power you through a hard-core training sesh.
I have tried several times to make my own granola bars, unfortunately, most of them have been fails. I can’t seem to get the right amount of moisture in them so they crumble and fall apart.
3. Chickpea and almond protein bars
These bars are the perfect start to the day as they are refined sugar free, satiating, and high in plant based protein.
Chickpeas are a highly nutritious pulse that has a very neutral flavour and great texture, so perfect for this kind of recipe. These bars contain protein powder (which you could swap out for a peanut butter powder such as PJ Fit if you prefer), making them are great as a post workout protein hit too.
Vegan Chickpea Almond Protein Bars Soft vegan bars made up of only 5 ingredients that have a good amount of protein, fibre and healthy fats. These vegan chickpea almond protein bars would make an amazing on-the-go snack, post workout treat or even a speedy breakfast if you don’t have time to prepare a meal in the morning.
4. Date, chia and walnut energy bars
These bars are the perfect all round meal or snack due to the fact that they contain all the macronutrients of fat, carbs and protein to keep you full for hours.
You could eat these for breakfast, a light lunch, snack, or pre and post work out they are that good!
The chia and walnut’s healthful omega 3 fats will be kept in tact due to the fact that these bars are RAW. Omega 3’s at breakfast help fire your brain up for the day, and may also help with long term memory according to this PubMed study.
The fact that this bar is packed full of dates is another of its great selling points as dates are nutritional powerhouses of low GI nutrients and fiber. They will give you a slow release of energy over a sustained period, making them perfect for any meal of the day.
These healthy yet decadent, no-bake chocolate chia energy bars are one of my favourite quick snacks for busy days, weekend adventures and pre-workout snacks. They’re easy to make in a blender or food processor, high in antioxidants, have no added sugar and taste incredible!
5. Nut-free hemp and coconut granola bars
Some people cannot eat nuts, therefore this bar may be right for you if you are allergic or intolerant. Its main source of protein comes from the hemp and other seeds, so no protein powders involved here. It’s also a very low carb keto bar coming in at 1.4g of net carbs per 30g bar.
As with most other thing hemp, its seeds are also a true superfood. High in protein and essential fatty acids, they also contain superior amounts of vitamin E, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, sodium, calcium, iron and zinc – now that’s impressive huh?
Keto granola bars are healthy easy no-bake seeds bars with a delicious chewy texture and sweet maple flavor from sugar-free monk fruit syrup. Those delicious breakfast hemp seed bars are allergy-friendly 100% nut-free, vegan, dairy free and gluten free. 9g of plant-based protein and only 4.2g net carbs per bars
6. Carrot cake protein bars
Mmm, now these look amazing! You need a little protein powder for this recipe but you can use any kind that you wish, and if you don’t have a protein powder then just use a little extra coconut flour, no worries.
These bars are raw, very low sugar, and very coconutty due to the fact that they contain coconut flour, oil, milk and flakes.
These easy, homemade protein bars are inspired by classic carrot cake. Enjoy them for breakfast or as a healthy vegan snack. Treat yourself to a plant-based, no-bake snack with these vegan carrot cake protein bars. Inspired by the classic dessert, this recipe is easy to customize and make.
7. Chocolate and peanut butter protein bars
These bars are really simple to make and contain only 5 ingredients. You will definitely need a chocolate flavour protein powder for these as that is one of the main components of the bar, but this is what makes them so delicious.
Make sure you always buy protein powders that are very low in sugar (or use only natural sweeteners), as you do not want to be loading up on the carbs too much in a protein bar. Please check out my picks of healthy protein powders if you need help with this.
The main sweetness in these particular bars comes from the mashed bananas and dark chocolate chips (go for as dark as possible to again keep the refined sugar low).
As these are very high in protein they would make a great breakfast or post workout protein boost.
Delicious homemade peanut butter chocolate protein bars using just five ingredients you probably have laying around right now. These healthy protein bars are gluten & egg free. Two protein bar recipes in a row? Yes! Mr. Hungry said I had to share with you this “tweak” on my chocolate protein fudge recipe I shared last week.
8. Vegan keto protein bars
This keto bar has 15.7g of net carbs that can be lowered the darker the chocolate you use. They are also free of protein powder and instead use nutritious sunflower, hemp and coconut.
These bars are high in calories, so probably best for use as a pre or post workout snack when your metabolism is burning at its highest rate. Or, fine if you don’t need to watch calories of course, but not all of use are blessed in that department.
These homemade low sugar protein-packed bars are your new go-to low-carb vegan keto snack hero. When you need a plant-based protein-packed pick me up, or post-workout snack these coconutty vegan keto protein bars pack a proverbial punch. Simple to make, you’ll save a small fortune on expensive store-bought and so-called ‘healthy’ alternatives.
9. Cookie dough protein bars
These delicious bars contain plant based protein powder so come in high on the protein scale, thus making them great post workout.
They also contain nutritious raw almonds, blood sugar lowering cinnamon, and the ultimate training food that is dates. Dates on their own are well used in the world of athletes and endurance trainers due to the fact that they are have a unique macro nutrient profile similar to energy gels, making them perfect for exercisers.
Good morning, and happy Friday! Don’t ask me where the week went because I have no idea! I’m SO excited for today because I decided to plan a last-minute trip with my mom. We are staying at a cute bed and breakfast this evening and exploring the gorgeous Biltmore.
10. Superfood energy bars
These amazing energy bars get their protein content from quinoa (you don’t even have to cook it first), sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and almonds.
As they contain the antioxidant rich dried fruits of medjool dates and raisins, it makes these bars a great pre-workout snack that will give you all the energy you need to power you through your training session no problem. They would also be a great energy booster breakfast due to the natural sugar in those fat burning dried fruits.
If you are not a honey eater, then swap it out for maple, agave or some other sweetener of your choice. If you do use honey, always go for the good quality, unpaturised varieties as they are far more nutritious.
These yummy Energy Bars are packed full of superfood nutrients and sweetened with honey and just a little touch of chocolate. I often make healthy snacks like homemade granola bars or energy bites to have on hand for when I am on the go. They go great with Greek yogurt or piece of fruit.
11. Fig and almond snack bars
If you are on a plant based or vegan diet, then getting your calcium from plant foods is very important. Why do I mention this now? Well, because these very simple 4 ingredient bars contain one of the highest sources of plant based calcium that is figs, which are also an amazing fiber rich food too.
These bars are raw (which is always healthier than destroying precious nutrients with heat), and their other main ingredient of almonds boosts the overall protein content, not to mention adding more calcium, vitamin E, magnesium, riboflavin and potassium.
These bars would be either a perfect, on-the-run breakfast, pre-workout energy booster, OR just fantastic for the kiddies lunch boxes.
These Citrus Fig and Almond Snack Bars come together quickly and easily with only 4 ingredients and a food processor! Make this fast and simple recipe today for a healthy breakfast on the go, a perfect road trip snack, or for an afternoon energy boost at school or work!
12. Pistachio and raspberry energy bars
These bars look like there is a bit more effort involved in them than some of the others, but just take a look at them. They are totally worth it right? Anyway, they still only take 20 minutes to make!
There’s a LOT of antioxidant rich pistachios and almonds in there; both of which are among the highest protein nuts, so we’re talking a good amount of protein too.
They look like a real treat, yet still super healthy. I also reckon you could package these up as a healthy gift for somebody you care about (if you don’t scoff them all yourself first that is).
These pistachio raspberry homemade energy bars taste like dessert but are the perfect quick healthy snack. They are super easy and quick to prepare with only 6 ingredients and 20 minutes of active preparation time. (Psst, there’s a video with step-by-step instructions, as well!) It’s been a crazy week round here.
As you can see, making your own protein bars will save you a LOT of money in the long run than buying expensive shop versions. You can also have complete control over added ingredients such as refined sugars, preservatives, and any other nasty ingredients that may be lurking in commercial bars.
Always eat protein bars in moderation if you don’t want to consume too many calories. Everything you eat still needs to be burnt off regardless of its health status.
If you like these protein bars, you may also like my pick of the tastiest, healthy brownie recipes too. Some are high in protein and make great pre and post workout snacks.
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