As expensive as store-bought protein bars are, you’d think there has to be a cheaper, easy substitute
Last month, after indulging way too much in September and much of October, I decided to make it a priority to lose the 15 vacation pounds I’d put on. Sure, 15 may not seem like a lot, but on my small frame, it was enough to make me knees hurt just from climbing stairs or moving at a slow jog.
Fixing my diet was the obvious place to start. I decided to get rid of all the garbage I was eating, and replace it with a diet which included plenty of yogurt, nuts, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains — foods associated with losing weight.
What about gruel?
By coincidence, my friend and fellow personal finance blogger Carl over at 1500 Days to Freedom also was looking to lose some weight and planned to do so through a liquid diet based on a drink he called Soylent.
All of the ingredients that went into Soylent were definitely healthy. Sure, it may not appear that appetizing, but he was more concerned with resetting his relationship with food — shocking himself back into sensible eating.
Protein bars instead
While I’m no stranger to taking aggressive moves and being shocking, I also like chewing. You might call me a chewing enthusiast 🙂
Not only that, I didn’t just want to shock my system, I wanted to change the bad habit of eating awful food permanently. As with personal finance, the best plan for a diet is the one you can actually stick to.
So I did a little brainstorming based on the ingredients I wanted, a little experimenting, and came up with some homemade protein bars.
Here’s what in them:
- Two cups rolled oats
- Two scoops of whey protein powder (Four or five tablespoons)
- One cup of nonfat Greek yogurt
- Half a bag of marshmallows
- A handful of walnuts
- A handful of low-sugar dried cranberries and low-sugar dried mango (The marshmallow already makes it pretty sweet, but you can increase or decrease this if you want it sweeter)
I also added some Cheerios — out of whimsy. Here’s what I did with all of that:
- First, I mixed the protein powder with the yogurt, then let them sit to get to room temperature while
- I melted the marshmallows in a non-stick pot.
- After that, I stirred the yogurt mixture in until the combined liquids were an even consistency before
- Then I just added the dry ingredients and the rest of the steps were similar to making Rice Krispie Treats — press it all into a wax-lined pan, let it harden, then slice into eight bars.
- Refrigerate (Because you never really cooked the yogurt)
They come out pretty tasty:
They’re also pretty good for you. By my math, here’s their nutritional information:
- 150 calories (Per bar, when you slice the whole block into eighths)
- 11 grams of protein
- 2 grams of fat
- 5 grams of sugar
Oh, also, they cost just $0.44 per bar.
They’re tasty enough that I’m still eating them four weeks in and they’re easy enough to carry that I always have a couple on me to be my go-to when I’m feeling peckish. Moreover, they may not look like it, but the nuts, the oats, the yogurt and all the chewing means these little guys fill me up enough that I’m able to avoid unhealthy snacks when I’ve got one of these in my system.
And that’s that! What fun food hacks do you have to help you lose weight, frugally?