Here’s the thing about exercise: You need to eat after you do it.

I know this sounds all sorts of counterintuitive to people that are exercising to lose weight, “Err, I just burned a whole bunch of calories, why can’t I revel in that glory for a bit?”

Because there’s a window of about an hour after you work your muscles that they’re primed for taking in nutrients while they repair. Basically, you have to feed the muscles you just worked so that they can look all strong and sexy. What’s the point in lifting all those heavy things if your muscles are going to just shrivel back up, right?

The widely accepted optimal ratio of protein to carbohydrates for recovery is 4:1 (four grams of carbohydrate for every one gram of protein). Some folks rely on recovery drinks. Chocolate milk is great, because it’s an awesome combination of protein and easily digested, carbohydrates and you don’t have to buy any fancy powders or juice boxes. Or, you know, you could just eat something.

My problem: My gym is about a mile and a half walk from my apartment. I don’t like bringing drinks because there’s nothing quite as disgusting as a mixed beverage that’s been sitting in a stinky locker for 90 minutes, and I don’t exactly want to start food combining while I walk through Brooklyn. Those packaged protein bars they sell at the Vitamin Shoppe directly across the gym are expensive and have all sorts of scary ingredients. Thusly, I’ve decided to take things into my own hands and make my own protein bars to nibble on the walk back from the weight room.

I adapted this recipe from fitness model/writer Jamie Eason’s website. I changed a few of the ingredients, but for the most part this is her genius, not mine.

**Disclaimer, these are not as natural as I’d like. I take comfort, however, in the fact that they are perishable. Refrigerate after they cool.

Homemade Lemon Protein Bars

Ingredients

  • 1 cup millet flour (The original recipe calls for oat flour, but I used millet—it’s a bit sweeter, but also a gluten free and easily digestible flour for baking)
  • 2 scoop vanilla whey/soy/egg white/hemp protein powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pack sugar free lemon Jello (Jamie Eason uses Crystal Lite, but all I could find was pink lemonade and there was nothing appetizing about pink protein bars in my mind. The jello substitution was just fine)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup apple sauce, you can half the apple sauce if you like your bars to be denser in consistency
  • 1/4 cup Splenda
  • ¾ cup of liquid egg whites (or 4 egg whites)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix flour, vanilla protein powder, salt, baking powder and jello powder, in large bowl.

Mix egg whites, Splenda, applesauce and water in a bowl.

Mix all ingredients into a bowl; pour into a square or rectangle baking dish. Make sure the dish has been sprayed with non-stick spray.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes.

 

Allow to cool then cut into squares. Wrap individually and refrigerate for easy post gym snack that tastes like cake!