Tuesday, March 17, 2020

PORTABLE PROTEIN BARS

Let's face it, protein bars do have some allure.  They kind of remind us of candy bars...but our kind of legitimate candy bars, that could double as a light snack or meal.  However, it can get expensive after a while, and there is so much controversy surrounding them.  People often stall eating them.  Some don't, so it is a YMMV thing.  I like making my own protein bars as they have ordinary ingredients in them that are not likely to stall one's weight loss.  I wrap them and put a couple in my purse and if I'm in a mall, I can order a cappuccino and not be tempted by the sugary desserts, because I know I have my own, delicious sweet treat with me.  This way I stay on track and have energy to do the rest of my shopping or errands.

Here are some I make from time to time.  They are so easy to make!  Someone mentioned that she keeps them wrapped and in a hard eyeglass case in her handbag.  Cool idea!



CHEWY, CANDY-LIKE PROTEIN BARS
Chewy, satisfying snack and so much cheaper than store-bought protein bars, plus you know the ingredients that go into it.  Sometimes I get a craving for protein bars.  They are a treat, but at the same time offer easily-assimilated protein without making one feel heavy in the tummy area as one sometimes does when one eats a steak, for instance.  Protein bars are great for carrying in one's purse while shopping.  I love having a cappuccino in the Mall, but often I feel a craving for something sweet and a protein bar is a very innocent way to stay on track and indulge my sweet tooth at the same time.  My peanut butter protein bar was quite popular, so I thought I'd dream up a new bar for fun.  Unlike the peanut butter protein bar, this one is chewy, which makes it quite satisfying, although I do like the peanut butter protein bar a lot and have made it again as well.

4 oz spreadable cream cheese (125 g)
Liquid sweetener to equal 1/2 Cup (125 mL)
 sugar (such as sucralose or stevia)
1/cup powdered erythritol (60 mL)
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted (45 mL)
1 tsp vanilla extract (5 mL)
2 oz sugar-free chocolate chips, OR (60 g)
   unsweetened chocolate*, melted
21/cups vanilla whey protein (560 mL)
1/3  cup sugar-free chocolate chips (75 mL)

In food processor, process cream cheese.  Add liquid sweetener, powdered erythritol, butter and vanilla extract; process.  Add melted chocolate; process.  Add vanilla whey protein and process on slower speed.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Place in two 8 x 4-inch (1.5 L) loaf pans.  Press down with plastic wrap to spread evenly.  Mop surface with paper towel.  Freeze half an hour and cut into 6 bars per loaf pan.  Keep refrigerated until needed.  They can be kept at room temperature, but they will be softer and more moist.

Helpful Hints:  *If using unsweetened chocolate, you will have to increase the amount of sweetener used. An easy way to melt chocolate:  place chocolate in bowl and pour boiling water over it. When chocolate tests soft to the tip of a paring knife, pour off the water.  It may be necessary to do it twice.  Don't worry the chocolate will not seize.  Trust me on this one. :)

Yield: 12 bars
1 bar
168.1 calories
13.4 g protein
10.0 g fat
1.4 g net carbs


 

ONE MINUTE PROTEIN BARS
These are ready to eat right away or refrigerate for later.  This bar is very tasty but has a slight cooling effect.  You can easily play with these ingredients.  Sometimes when a craving hits for something sweet, a protein bar will do and it can double as a small meal if you have more than one.  Every now and then I get a craving for protein bars.  I never buy them.  I make them.  Have you seen the ingredients in a protein bar besides the fact that they are so expensive?  It is still questionable if they are really as low-carb as the manufacturer claims they are, because too many people who are strictly low-carbing say that these protein bars stall weight loss.  I bought maybe 5 in my life and I've been low-carbing since 1999.  Homemade protein bars are far less likely to stall weight loss.  Admittedly, I "cheat" occasionally (not recommended), but 95% of the time (especially at home), I stick with the program.  I feel better low-carbing and have been loyal to low-carbing since I started all those years ago.  Besides that cheating usually involves starting to gain weight and I can't afford to keep that up.  So, I just want you to know I'm human and if you are also prone to cheating occasionally, realize that it doesn't mean you have to fall off the wagon forever and a day - even if the cheating continues for longer than a few days.  Know what your body likes and go back to sensible eating as soon as possible.  Don't be an all-or-nothing kinda gal.  That is too destructive. You could wind up regaining all the weight lost.  If you slip up, so what?  Get back on the wagon ASAP!

1/4  cup sugar-free peanut butter (60 mL)
1/4  cup powdered erythritol (60 mL)
1/4  cup chocolate, OR vanilla (60 mL)
  whey protein
1 tbsp cocoa (15 mL)
1 tbsp whipping cream (15 mL)


In medium nonstick pot, over medium heat, stir together peanut butter, erythritol, chocolate, OR vanilla whey protein, cocoa and whipping cream.  Keep stirring just until it comes together.  Place on cutting board and pat into a small rectangle.  Cut into 3 bars.  

Helpful Hint:  There are differences in peanut butters.  If the mixture is not coming together, add a tablespoon of light-tasting olive oil and maybe a bit more whipping cream.

Yield:  3 protein bars
1 protein bar
167.3 calories
10.3 g protein
12.4 g fat
3.8 g net carbs




PEANUT BUTTER PROTEIN BARS
Quite an addictive protein bar.  It is certainly cheaper to make our own.  I bought a huge tub (71/lbs) of Isopure® whey protein isolate which costs about $129.00 over here and with a GNC discount card, it came to around $105.  I don’t use huge amounts of whey protein, so this should last me 1 1/2 years.  These protein bars can be quite addictive - add the chocolate chips and you won't be able to resist them!

1/2  cup natural crunchy peanut butter (125 mL)
2 tbsp heavy cream, OR evap. milk (125 mL)
2 tbsp powdered erythritol (30 mL)
Liquid sweetener to equal 1/2  cup (125 mL)
  sugar  (such as sucralose or stevia)
1/3  cup vanilla whey protein powder, (75 mL)
  divided

In saucepan, heat peanut butter, cream, OR evaporated milk, powdered erythritol and liquid sweetener over medium heat.  Stir and once it looks molten (if it doesn't, add a tsp of light-tasting olive oil at a time and mix it in) and well mixed, remove from heat.  Stir in 1/cup (60 mL) vanilla whey protein powder.  Place in refrigerator to cool 20 minutes. 

On cutting board, sprinkle 1 tbsp (15 mL) vanilla whey protein powder.  Bring out cooled dough and place on cutting board.  Roll in vanilla whey protein powder.  Form a rectangle of desired size and cut into 4 protein bars.  Refrigerate.

Variation:  Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Bars:  Stir 1/cup (60 mL) sugarless chocolate chips into protein bar dough after refrigerating 20 minutes (you don’t want to melt the chocolate).  (5.4 g net carbs)

Helpful Hints:  Although I say to refrigerate the protein bars, I actually prefer these at room temperature.  Carefully wrapped (can place in a hard eyeglass case), they would make a great protein bar snack to put in one’s purse.  When you’re in the Shopping Mall and crave a cappuccino and something sweet, take out your protein bar and enjoy along with your cappuccino.

Remember the quality of your whey protein powder will affect all your baking products.  Do not choose whey protein concentrate, but rather choose whey protein isolate.

Yield:  4 protein bars
1 protein bar
210.6 calories
12.1 g protein
15.9 g fat
4.9 g net carbs

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