Clean Protein Bars

By Lilian Dikmans


If you’ve ever spent time in a health food store reading ingredients lists, you may know that it’s hard to find a clean protein bar that isn’t: (i) artificially sweetened; (ii) ‘naturally’ sweetened with sugar alcohols such as sorbitol, erythritol, xylitol, isomalt or maltitol (which leave me super bloated); or (iii) packed with dried fruit such as dates (which also leaves me super bloated). So I’ve been making my own.

I keep them handy for a post-workout snack (i.e. when I get home from training and need to make dinner but I’m so hungry and need something to take the edge off). They have also saved the day when I’ve overslept and run out of time to make breakfast before heading out.

Flavours and substitutes

I like to flavour the bars with maca powder, because I’m loving maca at the moment. I’ve been adding it to everything, like my Raw Maca Caramel Slice. But I’ve listed some substitutions in the recipe below. Raw cacao or cocoa powder is a nice substitute if you want to make chocolate flavoured bars.

Clean Protein Bars, post workout snack
Clean Protein Bars, post workout snack

I use oat flour in the bars for some carbs (which I need when I’m working out hard). You can buy oat flour in the health food aisle at most supermarkets. If you can’t find it, you can make your own by whizzing rolled oats in a food processor until you get a powder. If you’re allergic to gluten, make sure you buy gluten-free oats as oats are often processed on the same equipment as wheat. If you can’t eat grains, you could try using desiccated coconut or almond meal instead of oat flour (although I haven’t tested this).

The only thing that can’t be substituted in this recipe is the whey protein powder. The stickiness of the whey protein when mixed with water is what holds the bars together. If you’re vegan or prefer to use plant-based protein powders, you could try my Easy Vegan Protein Balls.

4-6 bars

Prep time
10 mins

Cook time
0 mins


  • 3/4 cup unflavoured whey protein powder
  • 3/4 cup oat flour
  • 2 x 20ml tablespoons maca powder
  • 1 x 20ml tablespoon coconut flour
  • 1 x 20ml tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 2 x 20ml tablespoons rice malt syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Unsweetened desiccated coconut, for coating


  • 1
    Tip the protein powder, oat flour, maca powder and coconut flour into a bowl and mix to combine. Make a well in the centre and pour in the melted coconut oil, rice malt syrup and water.
  • 2
    Using a large and sturdy spoon, stir everything together until well combined. (I recommend using a large and sturdy spoon because the mixture gets very thick and sticky so you’ll need to use your muscles to stir everything until well combined. I used a thin metal spoon once and it ended up slightly bent). If the mixture is way too sticky, add a little extra coconut flour. If it’s way too dry, add a little extra water.
  • 3
    Break off pieces of the mixture and shape into bars in your hands. Coat in some desiccated coconut and then leave them in the fridge to set.
  • 4
    Store the bars in the fridge for up to 1 week.


I use an Australian 20ml tablespoon. 1 x 20ml tablespoon = 4 teaspoons.

If you don’t have maca powder, you could use raw cacao powder, cocoa powder, mesquite powder or lucuma powder instead.

Did you make this recipe?

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  1. These are so delicious! After hunting for so long for a whey bar recipe that wasn’t chock full of dried fruit and nuts, this recipe is amazing.

  2. I’d imagine that these protein bars, along with some of your other recipes, could simply be kept frozen and just taken out as needed?

  3. Hi! I live in Sweden and cant get that kind of protein powder, can I use hemp protein instead? I’ve never used protein powder before but now that I can find organic natural ones I can rethink using it. These looks so good, so I think I have to make them!

    • Hi Julia, the whey protein powder when mixed with water becomes quite sticky, which is what holds the protein bars together. If you wanted to use hemp protein, you’ll need to adjust the recipe because I don’t think it will get sticky like the whey.

      You could try replacing the 1/4 cup of water with additional coconut oil instead so that when the oil sets in the fridge, it holds the bars together (it might just be a bit tricky to shape the mixture into bars).

      Otherwise you could try my Choc-Mint Protein Balls ( which should work with the hemp protein! I hope that helps! x

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Lilian Dikmans

Lilian Dikmans is an Australian model, Muay Thai fighter and founder of Real Food Healthy Body

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