The Best Soy Free Protein Bars That Are Absolutely Delicious
Finding the right protein bar is a lot like finding your soulmate. You need your protein bar to be appealing, reliable, and good for you. You’re counting on it to meet most of your important needs. If it’s yucky and full of the wrong stuff, it’s not going to work out very well for you.
The biggest difference between finding the right protein bar and finding your soulmate is that, if you need to, you can make your own protein bar. Science has come a long way, but we’re far from the point of making our own soulmates. We’ll just have to keep dreaming on that one.
If you’re looking for a protein bar free from soy, you have a few options. Alternatively, you can make the perfect protein bar without soy. Making your own protein bars can even be fun. They taste fresher, and you have the final say about what goes into them. You can design a bar to meet your needs, rather than settling for a premade version that can only come close.
Is Soy Bad For You?
Nope. It’s actually not. As it turns out, soy is really good for you.
One of the best ways to demonstrate soy’s nutritional benefits is to look at plant milks. Out of all plant-based milk alternatives and vegan protein alternatives, soy is perhaps the most nutritious. Almond milk pales in comparison to the nutritional powerhouse that is soy milk.
Organic unsweetened soymilk contains 80 calories per cup, 2 grams of fiber, 7 grams of protein, vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin B12, iron, folate, calcium, potassium, riboflavin, and magnesium.
Organic unsweetened almond milk contains 40 calories per cup, less than a gram of fiber, 1 gram of protein, vitamin D, calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin E.
Almond milk may contain half the calories, but it’s sorely lacking in protein, fiber, and nutrients. To top it all off, soy milk is thicker and richer than almond milk. Soy is the clear winner here.
If you aren’t allergic to soy and don’t experience gastrointestinal distress when you consume it, you might consider incorporating some soy into your diet. Its nutritional profile is pretty amazing.
So, Why Do People Avoid Soy?
Soy is nutritionally wonderful. There’s no reason to seek out a more nutritious alternative to soy -- you probably won’t find one. Some people are allergic to soy or have a hard time digesting it. If this is the case, an alternative is obviously necessary. You need a source of protein that will work for your body.
Somehow, some way, a campaign started that declared soy unhealthy because it contains something called phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are plant compounds that are similar to the estrogen made in the human body, by both men and women.
Apples, grapes, berries, pears, plums, onions, garlic, sprouts, beans, wine, tea, cabbage, spinach, and the hops used to make beer are all rich in phytoestrogens. They’re in almost all the healthy things you eat.
Studies show that phytoestrogens are very healthy. Plenty of benefits have been proven, and none of the postulated risks have been confirmed.
If you’re only avoiding soy because someone told you it was unhealthy, that person didn’t have the science in front of them. Take a look at studies on the benefits of soy -- you might change your mind!
What Are Good Substitutes for Soy Protein?
There are plenty of substitutes for soy protein. Protein can be a finicky thing. Protein powders all have distinct tastes and textures. You need to choose a protein that you like. There are plenty of options, you don’t feel like you have to settle for a protein just because it fits your dietary restrictions and preferred nutritional metrics.
Rice protein is a very bland and neutral flavored protein. This isn’t necessarily a negative. Rice protein's absolute neutrality means that it’s easily blended among strong flavors. If you don’t want your protein to contribute a taste to your protein bar, rice protein will work perfectly.
Egg White or Whey Protein
Egg white and whey protein are both vegetarian protein sources. If you’re not looking to avoid animal products, you can use egg white or whey protein powers. Egg white protein is better utilized in the form of protein shakes. Whey protein can be used in both shakes and bars, thanks to its creamy texture.
Vegan Protein Blends
Vegan protein blends incorporate proteins from different plants. Every blend will taste a little different. One of the biggest advantages of vegan protein blends is the vast array of nutrients they contain. They’re made from a whole bunch of different plants, so they impart the benefits of a whole bunch of different plants.
Protein From Nuts
Most nut butters are vegan and high in protein. They contain a lot of nutrients, but they also contain a lot of calories. Nut butters are the most versatile ingredient for soy-free protein bars. Most people love the way they taste, and they’re very easy to cook with. The unique texture of nut butter allows you to make no-bake protein bars and protein balls.
Making Soy-Free Protein Bars
There are two ways to approach making soy-free protein bars, but the easiest method is the no bake method. This simple recipe can be customized to create protein bars to your taste.
No-Bake Fruit and Nut Protein Bars
The base for this no-bake protein bar is simple. You’ll need ¾ cup of your favorite nut butter, ¼ cup of maple syrup, 1 tbsp of melted coconut oil, ⅓ cup of flaxseed meal or oats, and ½ a cup of soy-free protein powder. You can blend in ½ a cup of your favorite dried fruit. You might want to chop up larger dried fruits, like apricots.
Blend the wet ingredients together and slowly add in the dry ingredients, mixing thoroughly as you go. Press the formed batter onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and stick it in the freezer for a few hours. When it hardens, you can cut it into bars. If you don’t want to wait, roll it into balls and eat it right away.
Flavor Combinations To Try
You can combine peanut butter with dehydrated bananas, pistachio butter with dried cherries, walnut butter with crunchy dried pears, and almond butter with cranberry raisins. Most nut butters go well with most fruits.
You’ll also want to consider the kind of protein that you use. Unflavored or vanilla varieties will work well in most no-bake protein bars, but you can use chocolate flavored proteins to give your no-bake protein bars a decadent twist.
Wait - What If I Can’t Cook?
Peanut BUTTA is made of peanuts, raw chocolate, brown rice, date syrup, maple syrup, hazelnuts, and oats. It boasts an impressive 6 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, and 100% peanut buttery goodness per 170 calorie serving.
Almond Crunch is crunchy almonds wrapped in nutritious raw chocolate and sweetened with organic maple syrup and yacon syrup. Get your crunch on with 6 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, and 14% of your daily iron at 170 calories a serving. Our editor is obsessed with these, and she’s convinced you will be, too.
Fudge Yah is protein-packed nutritious vegan fudge, fortified with pumpkin seeds to satisfy your chocolate craving with a healthy snack. At 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber per 160 calorie serving, you never need to feel guilty for indulging.
While making your own soy-free protein bars is a fun way to experiment in the kitchen, it may not be a project for everyone. If you’re busy or if your past baking experiments have been less than successful, Mid-Day Squares can take it from here.