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homemade protein bar

I hit up Melissa Joulwan, author of Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat for advice. She says: “A great protein bar needs to include natural sources of protein and fat, be low in added sugar, and include no grains or dairy. At least 30 percent of the calories should come from protein and the carb content should remain low.”

Consider following these other rules of thumb:

1) The less sugar, the better
2) Seeds like sunflower and sesame are high in omega-6 fatty acids, so use them for flavoring only
3) Lots of recipes include oatmeal as a binder; replace with almond meal to avoid excess carbs.

Joulwan adapted this protein-bar recipe from Each bar has 184 calories, 14 grams of fat, 6 grams of carbs and 13 grams of protein.


  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup nut butter (almond, cashew, walnut, hazelnut)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 11/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened whey protein powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries or blueberries
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, to sprinkle on top


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread almonds, macadamia nuts and 1/4 cup shredded coconut in a single layer and toast until golden, about five to seven minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. When cool, place nuts and shredded coconut in food processor and pulse until nuts are chopped and the mixture becomes coarsely ground, the consistency of breadcrumbs.
  3. In a mixing bowl, melt coconut oil and nut butter in the microwave, about 30 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir until smooth. Add vanilla extract and sea salt; mix thoroughly. Fold in the ground-nut mixture, almond meal and whey powder; mix until blended.
  4. In a small bowl, beat the eggs and egg white until frothy, then stir into the nut mixture. Fold in the dried berries.
  5. Press the mixture into an 8-inch-by-8-inch baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle the untoasted coconut on top and place under broiler until top begins to brown.
  6. Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Cut into 12 bars. Stack on wax paper or parchment and store in an airtight container.
Jen Sinkler

Jen Sinkler, PCC, RKC-II, is a fitness writer and personal trainer based in Minneapolis. Her website is

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