Protein bars are handy to have in your cycling jersey to eat on longer rides, cyclosportives and after races. Protein is necessary to build your muscles back up after you break them down and over-stress them through training. You must refill your body’s protein stocks in order to fully recover. And the older you get, the more protein you need. This means many of us have whey protein powder at home, for our post-workout shakes. If you do too, then here’s a super-simple recipe for home-made protein bars.
Protein powder, water, peanut butter, rolled oats and sugar are your only ingredients. (And the sugar is optional.) You don’t need an oven for this, just a big mixing bowl and a shallow tray to roll out, or press, the mixture into.
Mix and mush
First take 150g of rolled oats (Quaker Oats, or similar) and dry mix it in a bowl with 110g of protein powder. Then add 70g (about 5tbsps) of peanut butter and 2-3tbsps of white sugar, depending on your taste, and how sweet your protein powder already is. We have flavourless whey powder, and therefore prefer a bit of a sweetness boost. You may not.
Mix all the ingredients together, with a spoon or with your hands, if you don’t mind getting into the mush. Add a cup of water slowly, to create a stiff mixture which you can later shape into bars. The consistency of the bars is based on how much water you use. Also every protein powder absorbs water differently, so this is the look-and-feel part.
Knead to know
Knead the mixture a bit, to make sure all the ingredients mix well. The peanut butter has a tendency to stay in one place, so it’s a good idea to spend a bit of time mixing or kneading the whole lot together. Spread out the mixture onto a shallow tray, and roll or press flat with your hands. Score the mixture with marks for the bars. Then put it in the freezer. Pro-tip: make sure you have enough room in the freezer for the tray you use!
On the road
So, a small word of warning: these are not commercial bars, so they may have imperfect consistency. Once they have frozen for the first time, take them out of the freezer again. If you leave them for about 15 minutes to warm up, you can then cut them into individual bars. You should get about 10 bars out of this mixture.
You may already want to wrap them for future rides: aluminium foil or plastic wrap is probably best. The bars do go quite soft once they have warmed up to body temperature in your back pocket, and can become a bit crumbly. So we recommend storing them in the freezer, and slipping them into your cycling jersey nice and cold. This is not perfect, but these bars don’t cost €2 a pop, like some other healthy snacks. And once you’ve got this recipe down, you can get creative with additional ingredients such as mashed dates, dried fruit and so on. Enjoy!