Easy Homemade No-Bake Protein Bars

Let's tweak the storyline today. Instead of talking about fuss-free ways to cook or, that a dish is healthy and nutritious; how about pre- and post- workout food? Yes, foods that you consume before and/or after exercise.

Research has shown that one of the sweet-spots to boost protein for muscle recovery is about 10-15 minutes after exercise - in the form of snacks/beverages; and no more than 60 minutes in the form of a full-meal (meaning post workout lunch or dinner such as Chickpea-Tuna Quinoa Bowl, Chicken Broccoli with Sweet Potatoes, Avocado, Veggies and Shrimp Bowl, Tempeh and Veggies Salad).

For those of you (and me) who do not have the luxury to weave in a balanced meal in a perfect time-frame (yes, post workout lunch or dinner usually comes at least 3 hours after leaving the gym!), the next best bet is to make sure some form of protein and carbohydrates are consumed shortly after exercise. Protein shakes or smoothies are probably the easiest on-the-go "snack". Protein bars that are less perishable is a good option as well. However, both store-bought smoothies and/or bars may hide high amounts of refined sugars which is what you do not want to consume after a worthy workout.

Homemade is always best. These homemade no-bake protein bars are made from rolled oats (soaked overnight to soften), store-bought blanched peanuts, walnuts and pumpkin seeds, sweetened with dates and gojiberries.

Homemade No-Bake Oats, Nuts and Seeds Protein Bars
adapted from One Green Planet

1/2 cup organic rolled oats soaked overnight, to soften (drain away water before using oats next day)
5-6 pitted Medjool or Deglet dates, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes
1/4 cup dried goji berries, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup blanched peanuts
1/2 cup walnuts

First, pulse softened oats and dates. After a few pulses, add the nuts, seeds, and gojiberries. Then pulse a few more times. Do not over-do the blitzing or you will end up with a fine sticky paste. When ready, remove mixture from food processor, and place mixture on a parchment-lined tray and start spreading mixture out*. Cover the mixture of desired thickness with another layer of parchment paper and put into the fridge for about 1hr to set. When set, prepare into rectangles or squares (your choice) and store them in air-tight container in the fridge. *Alternatively, shape the oat-nuts-seeds mixture into spheres or balls then set them in the fridge.

Notes: (1) I found the bars on the "wetter" side (not as dry as expected) probably due to the moisture of the soaked rolled oats (overnight soaking might be too long). Next time, I may do only 1-2 hrs soaking the rolled oats (2) Adjust the quantity of nuts and seeds accordingly while doing the blitzing.

The more you prepare these bars, the better you are to perfecting these bars (I have not made them again after trying this batch). Perhaps I should do it again when I have more spare time.

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