Protein bars fill you up and give you energy after workouts or during a long workday. It's never a bad idea to stash a few in your desk drawer or your tote bag to carry around for when you need a quick fix and can't catch a break. This recipe will solve your 'I'm starving' problems. And after your workout, it's important to eat protein to fuel your body and rebuild your depleted muscle tissue.

It's always better to make 'meal-replacements' at home, so you know exactly which ingredients are used to make these bars. Many store-bought protein bars tend to be highly processed, pack in the sugar and carbs and contain ingredients like milk, eggs, or soy. So we searched the web to find a recipe that tastes like a treat but is low in calories and made with natural ingredients. These are my favorite bars because they don't contain many ingredients, taste delicious, and couldn't be easier to make.

Recipe Developer and Photographer: Crystal Hughes, @heartfullynourished 

Prep Time: 30 Minutes

Freeze Time: 15 Minutes

Total Time: 45 Minutes

Makes: 8 Protein Bars

Why we love it: These protein bars are made with real ingredients and don't require any bake or cook time! Simply soak your ingredients, mix them together, lay the mixture on a cookie sheet, and freeze it. This snack or meal replacer is a crowd pleaser and if you find yourself having a constant sweet tooth, this will help you fix the problem, in a much 'healthier' way than candy will.

Health Benefits:  This protein bar is made with All American Mint Chocolate Dream Almond Butter, which has 7.8 grams of plant-based protein per 2 tablespoons.

Alternatives: Skip the chocolate drizzle if you want to limit your calorie intake, they still taste delicious without! If you want more texture, add a scoop of oats.

Make it for:  A quick snack, meal replacement, or after your workout to rebuild and replenish your muscle tissue.

Ingredients

Chocolate Drizzle:

  • 160 ml can of coconut milk chilled the in the fridge overnight (2 tbsp of coconut cream)
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Instructions

1. Soak your dates in almost boiling water for 5 minutes.

2. Squeeze excess water out of dates and pat dry with a towel.

3. Put into the food processor and pulse until ground. See the picture above.

4. Add in all the rest of your ingredients (All American Almond Butter, chocolate protein powder, cocoa powder, and mint extract) and pulse until combined.

5. Put mixture into an 8X8 inch square pan lined with parchment paper.

6. Press down and smooth out with a small rolling pin or use a glass as a rolling pin.

7. Place in the freezer for 15 mins.

Chocolate drizzle

8. Once bars have been freezing for 15 minutes make the drizzle

9. Combine chocolate chips and hard coconut cream into a saucepan. Don't use the liquid part just the hard cream.

10. Turn on low heat, stir constantly until the chocolate starts to melt.

11. When chocolate starts to melt remove from heat and keep stirring until fully melted.

12. Place in the fridge for 5 minutes to cool and then pour into a piping page or zip lock bag. If still too runny let cool a little longer. It should be firm like icing.

Assembly

13. Remove bars from the freezer and cut into bars. I cut into 8 bars. But you can cut into smaller squares.

14. Once cut drizzle on chocolate.

15. Place back in the freezer for another 15 minutes to set chocolate.

16. Store in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks in the freezer or fridge.