Homemade protein bar cookies that are delicious, super healthy, and no baking required.
This is the best way to make a homemade protein bar cookie that is:
- Quick and simple to make
- Made with natural plant-based ingredients
- Totally tasty
- With no additives, no supplements, no cheating
- And no baking required!
There are only a handful of ingredients that contain all the three elements that we need to get our energy from. Protein, carbohydrates and fat.
These flavoursome and wonderfully textured homemade protein bar cookies are a great way to boost your energy levels. The natural ingredients are also packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients (plant compounds) that are linked to the reduction of inflammation and chronic illness such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Homemade protein-packed bar cookies
Chia and hemp seed are complete proteins
Proteins are made up of amino acids connected together with cells that are the basic building blocks for our bodies. Proteins have complex structures with chains of over 100 amino acids and when consumed they are broken down into their constituent amino acids which are absorbed into our cell lining then transported through the bloodstream. They are then converted into over 50,000 different proteins that play important roles within the body such as creating the structure of our bodies such as muscle and collagen, regulating our metabolic reactions by producing enzymes and making antibodies to protect our immune systems. Around half the body’s dry weight is made up of proteins.
These proteins are constantly being broken down every day and replaced. Roughly 98% of our body’s proteins are renewed in a single year.
There are 20 dietary proteins important for our health whereby 9 of them are essential. This means that we cannot synthesise them ourselves so they have to come from our diet. Many people would get these essential amino acids or complete proteins from meat, dairy and eggs but this makes it possible to consume unwanted hormones and chemicals introduced into the animal’s diets some of which have been associated with chronic disease. For people who do not eat animal proteins, for this reason, can however still consume complete proteins from limited sources but hemp seeds and chia seeds are complete proteins. Other plant-based sources that are considered complete proteins are quinoa, algae and soybeans. When eating a purely plant-based diet however you can still make up the full amount of proteins by consuming a mix of grains, seeds, and pulses as one ingredient often contains the amino acid missing from the other. For example, wheat is high in protein but missing lysine. Peanuts are high in lysine so eating a peanut butter sandwich would provide you with the complete protein.
The average person needs 1g of protein per kg of their weight per day, i.e a person weighing 80kg needs 80g of protein per day. Hemp seeds contain around 33g of protein per 100g, chia contains 17g of protein per 100g and flax seeds contain 18g of protein per 100g.
The right fats
The body needs healthy fats known as essential fatty acids (EFAs) as the body cannot make enough to supply our needs by itself, therefore again they must come from our diet. Essential fatty acids come in the form of omega-3s and omega-6s. The names of these fats simply describe their molecular makeup which affects their shape and function and how they are processed in the body. EFAs are vital for the body as they produce more than double the energy that is provided by proteins or carbohydrates. Fat as a nutrient also has an important process in the body as they are important for the formation of cell membranes. They are also converted into compounds that control reactions inside these cells. Omega-3s are mainly derived from nuts such as walnuts, flaxseed and chia, and oily fish. These fats are incredibly good for your heart and ease inflammation in the body. Omega-6s are mainly derived from vegetable oils and it is important to balance the consumption of both fats. Dark chocolate is very high in healthy fat and exceptionally high in antioxidants. Dark chocolate has a massive Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity score of 103,971 units. ORAC scoring is when a food is graded on its antioxidant potency, the phrase “your 5 a day” came about following this format of how you can increase your daily fruit and vegetable intake. The average person should be aiming for at least 7000 ORAC units per day but optimally a lot higher at 20,000 ORAC units per day so superfoods that give energy rarely come in a better package than dark chocolate.
The beneficial fats in these foods are also protected by the large number of antioxidants they contain. When we consume foods that are high in antioxidants they help fight oxidative stress caused in our body by free radicals when they lose their negatively charged molecules that damage cells when we metabolise our food.
Carbohydrates give us energy in the form of a molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which comes from when we break the carbohydrate down into glucose. This is then taken up in the body’s cells after it goes into the bloodstream through a process called cellular respiration. The body can produce ATP from several sources including dietary fats as well but carbohydrates are the easiest way to produce this energy molecule. The other part of carbohydrate in dietary terms is fibre which is essential for a healthy gut and helps ferry toxins out of the body.
When consuming carbs, if the body has used all the energy it needs it can store the excess glucose for later, however complex carbs do take longer to break down which means the energy is slowly dispersed throughout the day.
Often people look to maintain a low carbohydrate diet as research suggests this will improve health but this is purely down to the type of carbs consumed. There are good carbs and there are bad carbs or refined carbs which are smaller molecules that are more easily broken down which leads them to be stored and not used. Sugars such as fructose will be more easily stored and can lead to weight gain and illness. However, there are numerous healthy cultures throughout history that have thrived on high carbohydrate diets, particularly today in Asia where rice is consumed as the largest crop staple and especially Japan which sees some of the longest lifespans in the world
It is the whole grains such as chia, hemp seed, flaxseed and oats that are in this recipe and nuts such as walnuts and peanuts also in this recipe that are excellent energy sources and healthy carbs.
Anti-cancer and other health benefits
Not only do these ingredients deliver energy in a healthy way they also contain a whole host of other health benefits that can help protect us against inflammation and chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
Flaxseeds are about 800 times higher in lignans than other plant foods. Lignans are phytoestrogens, a plant compound that has human-like estrogen qualities. Observational studies have shown that those who have diets high in flaxseed have reduced risk of cancers and especially breast cancer.
Chia seeds also contain a high amount of calcium which is important for bone health. Only around 30g of chia will contain around ⅕ of your recommended daily intake of calcium. So it is a great source of calcium for someone who doesn’t consume dairy.
Dark chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine which research has shown improves blood flow to the brain which could stave off neurological diseases and improve brain function.
Oats are high in beta-glucan which have the effects of making you feel full. The energy provided in this recipe is high so the addition of oats will keep you feeling full and less hungry to overeat. This could actually lead to healthy weight loss.
How to make these delicious homemade protein bar cookies (Full recipe card + ingredients below)
This homemade protein bar cookie recipe is so easy. All you need is the ingredients and a food processor.
Step 1. Put the dates and peanut butter in a food processor and blitz.
Step 2. Add the chia seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds and cinnamon and blitz.
Step 3. Add the organic oats and goji to the mix and blitz.
Step 4. Check the consistency of the dough to form your cookies, if they crumble at the edges add 1 tablespoon of water and process again.
Step 5. Melt some delicious organic dark chocolate. We melt the chocolate on the hob, by using a bowl over boiling water.
Step 6. Mould your cookies and drizzle dark chocolate on top.
Step 7. Leave the cookies either in the fridge for 60 minutes or freezer for 10 minutes to set.
Have you made this homemade protein bar cookie recipe?
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- 1 cup of pitted dates
- ½ a cup of smooth peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
- 1 tablespoon of flaxseed
- 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup oats
- ¼ cup goji
- 50g dark chocolate, over 70% (vegan)
- 1 tablespoon of water (if you need to depending on the mixture)
Put the dates and peanut butter in a food processor and process for 1 minute.
Add the chia seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds and cinnamon and process for another minute.
Add the oats and goji to the mix and a process for a further minute.
Check the consistency of the dough to form your cookies, if they crumble at the edges add 1 tablespoon of water and process again.
Take large spoonfuls of the dough and mould into 8 cookies and place on baking paper.
Melt the dark chocolate in a bowl over boiling water, using a teaspoon drizzle the chocolate over the cookies.
Leave the cookies either in the fridge for 60 minutes or freezer for 10 minutes to set.