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Savoury "Protein Bars"

Morganna Aug 5, 2008 05:26 AM

I need to get a fair amount of protein intake throughout the day. I can process around, roughly, 25 grams of protein at a time, which means if I eat more than that at a sitting, I'm mostly wasting the protein over that amount. So I try to increase my protein intake throughout the day with smaller snacks. I need to get in around 106 grams of protein a day, and my husband needs to get in around 158 grams per day.

So we've been trying protein bars, but my major complaint about them is that the ones I've found, they're all sweet. I don't want sweet that often during the day. I want savoury. So the conversation went like this:

Me: I'm tired of all the sweet protein bars, so I'm thinking of looking for ones that are savoury
Him: You mean like chicken flavoured or something?
Me: or something like that
Him: Wouldn't that just be, oh, meat?

My husband is nothing if not sensible. The issue is stability and spoilage, mainly. Beef jerky is, generally, too tough for us, hard on our stomachs (we had surgery) and hard to process, so I'm looking for something softer. We were brainstorming and thinking maybe strips of meat, slightly thicker than jerky, that I smoke using my smoker. Then I can use my food saver to make packets of them, and even store some in the freezer to make them last longer.

So that's what I'm looking for. Ideas for sorta.. well, I guess preserved meats that aren't quite as dry and hard as jerky, and recipes for that. Anyone have any thoughts on that? :)

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  1. anachemia RE: Morganna Aug 5, 2008 09:15 AM

    This made me think of the freeze-dried liver treats we buy for my dog. Might sound gross but they are super light, keep forever, and are supposed to be super-nutritious. (Though watch out if you are trying to avoid cholesterol...) They crumble into pieces so I know toughness would not be an issue.

    Note: I'm not suggesting necessarily eating the actual dog treats themselves, but rather finding a way to replicate this same processing technique, on liver and other meats to see if it would work. :-)

    1 Reply
    1. re: anachemia
      Morganna RE: anachemia Aug 6, 2008 05:35 AM

      Won't do for my husband, he hates liver. And I love liver, but only occasionally. As a daily thing it'd be too much. :) Good thought though! Thanks!

    2. e
      ESNY RE: Morganna Aug 5, 2008 09:55 AM

      Clif has new mojo bars which come is slightly more savory/salty flavors with salted peanuts/pretzel sticks embedded in them which may help you as you fine tune your homemade protein ideas.

      Maybe if you make homemade smoked turkey breast (or chicken/fish/beef) and slice thin like deli meat and then foodsaver those, it would last at least a few days in the fridge but i'm not sure if you wanted something that needs constant refrigeration.

      i can't help with jerky type ideas as I have no clue what is needed to properly store cooked meat but I'd imagine smoking alone wouldn't work as it would still need to be preserved like dehydrating jerky preserves it, so unless you are making some homemade charcuterie you would still need to freeze/cook everything.

      I recommend doing a little researching on weightlifting websites to see what they eat for various snacks. They need lots of protein and usually eat 6-8 times per day, so they might give you some ideas of what they eat that you can tinker with for your palate.

      1. mnosyne RE: Morganna Aug 5, 2008 10:17 AM

        Back in the day when SO and I were backpackers, we would buy these compressed meat bars at the camping supply stores. They were made by Armour or one of the other packers and contained an enormous amount of meat in a small 3" x 1" x 1" bar. It was more the kind of thing that tastes better outdoors, but definitely meat.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mnosyne
          Morganna RE: mnosyne Aug 6, 2008 05:38 AM

          I'll check out our camping supply sites and shops. :) Thanks!

        2. ipsedixit RE: Morganna Aug 5, 2008 11:05 AM

          Are you concerned about the amount of fat you're consuming?

          If not, then try peanut butter on whole-grain, high protein bread, or even on a bagel.

          High protein, rye bread: http://www.pema.de/xist4c/web/RYE-BRE...

          3 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit
            Morganna RE: ipsedixit Aug 6, 2008 05:37 AM

            Fat content does matter, it can cause uhm.. some unpleasant digestion side effects if we have a lot at a sitting. We do eat peanut butter, though, and that's a good one. :) I even have some sitting here next to me at work. I'll encourage my husband to eat a little more of that.

            I also add whey protein to my morning yogurt (have to have yogurt every day), and that helps. too. :) Good thought on the high protein bread, I'll look into that. I have a bread maker, and I was looking for more ways to use it creatively. ;D

            1. re: Morganna
              darklyglimmer RE: Morganna Sep 3, 2010 09:23 AM

              This isn't about meat, but since you mentioned that you have to have yogurt everyday: I saw this today and am sort of excited about it.


              1. re: darklyglimmer
                Morganna RE: darklyglimmer Sep 5, 2010 07:36 PM

                OH that's awesome, thanks!

                I've actually turned to nonfat Greek yogurt (which has WAY more protein in it), and I've done my own flavoring in it. I made tzatziki and my own vanilla yogurt with real vanilla and splenda. It works well. I've also added chocolate milk mix to it and thoroughly enjoyed that. I'm liking the whole "add things to plain" process. :)

          2. d
            dct RE: Morganna Aug 5, 2008 02:25 PM

            There is a South African jerky called biltong, which can be cured to a soft or hard stage. It's usually sliced as opposed to a stick, so it can be easier to chew. Other cured meats that might work as well including air dried beef (Weaver's is a US brand in good delis, Italian dried beef is called bresaola, Germans have bunderfleisch) prosciutto, speck or other dried ham products, salami, etc.

            Hard-boiled eggs are nice and portable.

            What about some hard cheese, like parmesean or aged gouda?

            I've seen recipes for cheese biscotti or cheese crackers. You can also simply fry up grated cheese in a nonstick skillet or bake it on a silpat, let cool completely and you have really tasty cheese wafers.

            4 Replies
            1. re: dct
              Morganna RE: dct Aug 6, 2008 05:46 AM

              I'm looking at some recipes for biltong and it looks an awful lot like jerky. Though the sites I'm looking at emphatically state it's not jerky. Can you describe for me how it is different from jerky? :)

              1. re: Morganna
                dct RE: Morganna Aug 6, 2008 09:21 AM

                hmm..I'm not sure why you wouldn't call it jerky-like, at least. Like jerky it's cured and then air dried. Maybe it's a nationalism thing.

                Anyway--when I lived in South Africa you could buy it a lot of places, though people made their own. The style I had most frequently was sliced about an eight of an inch thick--it was suppler than American jerky, but still shelf stable. The texture was more like really thick fruit leather. You could eat it by the piece or make a sandwich out of it with a roll and butter.

                The spicing is different than American jerky. It's not smoky, maybe a bit fruity, with warm spices like pepper and ginger.

                1. re: dct
                  Morganna RE: dct Aug 6, 2008 09:58 AM

                  Ok, thanks. I'm gonna try making thicker strips this weekend. I'll cut up some eye round ('cos it's lean) and maybe some pork tenderloin, and I'm gonna put a rub on it, then smoke it, then air dry it and see what I get. :)

                2. re: Morganna
                  sebbo RE: Morganna Oct 28, 2010 03:19 PM

                  biltong although simerlar to beef jerky is not cooked , it is raw air dried meet , check out this site http://www.squidoo.com/beef-biltong It is an obsession among South Africans and Zimbabweans - very tasty and very nutritious and all natural .

              2. t
                type2runner RE: Morganna Aug 5, 2008 06:17 PM

                Hi. I also do not like sweet bars like Luna or Clif, but I've discovered Snickers Marathon bars..the multi grain version. It actually has chocolate on it, but it is NOT sweet. It is soy based. They do have several versions.

                Also, if you are baking/preparing foods, you might try the powered peanut butter found here and at some grocery stores. search these boards for threads using PB2 or powdered peanut butter. Most of the fats are removed....mostly protein.

                1 Reply
                1. re: type2runner
                  Morganna RE: type2runner Aug 6, 2008 05:39 AM

                  Great, I'll look for that too! Lower fat is a help. :)

                2. b
                  beggsy RE: Morganna Aug 5, 2008 08:34 PM

                  These aren't savoury but they are fantastic.. and they aren't too sweet.

                  Cocoa Energy Bars

                  1. f
                    fallingup RE: Morganna Aug 6, 2008 08:56 AM

                    when i was younger my mom always used to pack me plain boca burgers, hot dogs, and sausages to snack on. they're filling snacks, easy to eat/transport if you wrap them individually with foil, and you don't need to adorn them with anything, except possibly some ketchup.

                    other high protein small snacks:

                    -hard boiled eggs
                    -canned tuna snacks
                    -nuts (peanuts, brazil nuts, cashews, almonds, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, etc.)
                    -yogurt cups have about 10 grams of protein apiece. Fage 2% has 17 grams.
                    -cottage cheese cups
                    -hummus dip

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: fallingup
                      Morganna RE: fallingup Aug 6, 2008 09:15 AM

                      I'm looking for more "shelf stable" sorts of things (but those are all good suggestions, and I'm already implementing some of them). I think the biltong is a really good possibility. Or even just home made jerky that I smoke. I'm going to smoke some baby backs Friday, maybe I"ll get some eye round and slice it thicker than I would for jerky, and smoke that too... then let it air dry. Wonder if the rub I use for the ribs would be good enough for the biltong...

                    2. FoodFuser RE: Morganna Aug 6, 2008 07:53 PM

                      Sometimes, the "old ways" are the good ways.

                      Consider making some pemmican. It is the original archetypal "power bar" that fueled explorations for centuries.

                      Once you've dried the sliced beef, the potential for making tasty SAVORY bars is endless.

                      Here's a google link that includes blender. as a quick and easy way of pulverizing the jerky.


                      1. Morganna RE: Morganna Aug 11, 2008 05:49 AM

                        So I gave this a try this weekend, but I haven't tasted the results yet. I'll let you know! :)

                        1. h
                          HaLal RE: Morganna Sep 3, 2010 08:53 AM

                          You should try some of the savoury bars from http://www.journeybar.com/. They ship within the US and Canada. Great flavour!

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: HaLal
                            Morganna RE: HaLal Sep 5, 2010 07:39 PM

                            The only thing with these is they're 210 calories, but only 7 grams of protein. Not nearly enough protein for the amount of calories. But they do sound tasty!

                            1. re: Morganna
                              runnermatt14 RE: Morganna Sep 21, 2010 12:19 PM

                              I don't think Journey Bars are necessarily high protein bars, but they are REALLY tasty. I love the Coconut Curry flavor! And the ingredients they use are really healthy.

                              1. re: runnermatt14
                                Morganna RE: runnermatt14 Sep 22, 2010 07:00 AM

                                Yeah, I'm sure. Unfortunately, they're not suitable for my needs. I need a good amount of protein (upwards of 15 grams) for a reasonably low amount of calories (and especially lower in fat). I can absorb maybe up to around 25 grams of protein from a "sitting" (figure half hour to an hour meal), but that's pushing it. It IS better if I can spread it out into smaller bits over the day, but I need to be careful about drastically increasing my caloric intake in the process.

                          2. r
                            Rasam RE: Morganna Sep 3, 2010 09:14 AM

                            String cheese?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Rasam
                              Morganna RE: Rasam Sep 5, 2010 07:38 PM

                              I'm lactose intolerant and string cheese is fattier than I should be eating, too. Though it is nice for occasional treat. :)

                            2. enbell RE: Morganna Sep 5, 2010 08:43 PM

                              Have you considered vegan jerky options?
                              I have tried and like both

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: enbell
                                Morganna RE: enbell Sep 7, 2010 05:59 AM

                                Nope. I'll check out the costs. :) Thanks for the thought.

                              2. Pia RE: Morganna Sep 22, 2010 08:12 AM

                                I see your original post is from 2008 but it looks like you're still responding. So... smoked salmon? It's not a "bar", but seems to fit your other criteria.

                                How did your past experiments go?

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Pia
                                  Morganna RE: Pia Sep 23, 2010 11:01 AM

                                  Man was it that long ago? Well, my quest for protein is going to be a lifelong thing, so yeah... guess I'm still looking to a certain extent. I love smoked salmon, and it's not something I'd considered. My husband dislikes fish of all kinds, but I like it. :) I think there's salmon jerky. Think I'll look for turkey jerky too.

                                  I've also recently found non fat greek yogurt is LOADED with protein. :) And I can do all sorts of mix-ins to make it tastier to me. Though it's not as non-perishable.

                                  1. re: Morganna
                                    mollyomormon RE: Morganna Oct 28, 2010 06:42 PM

                                    The turkey jerky made by Snackmaster's is fantastic. I buy mine from amazon, but you can also find it sometimes at natural food stores. I love greek yogurt too and sometimes add chocolate protein powder to mine to make a chocolate pudding-like treat.

                                2. g
                                  gimlis1mum RE: Morganna Oct 28, 2010 05:28 PM

                                  What about roasted chick peas/ garbanzo beans? I'll put the disclaimer that I haven't tried these myself yet, but they're on my list. 15 g protein per cup with 12 g fiber, 4 g fat (http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/l...). If you make them starting from dried garbanzos you can control the salt. Here's a simple recipe but you can find many others by searching for toasted chick peas, roasted chick peas, etc:

                                  I didn't find much info on storage length, but most recipes said that you store them at room temperature. I suppose you could freeze them, too, and re-toast small batches (a few days' worth at a time) in the oven?

                                  You might also check out the snack offerings at an Indian grocery store, if there's on enear you. I've seen chick pea/lentil/snacky combos there that might work for you, too.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: gimlis1mum
                                    nothingswrong RE: gimlis1mum Mar 16, 2011 10:42 PM

                                    I know this thread is old, but who cares. If you roast chickpeas long enough that all moisture is gone (i.e. they're crunchy), you can keep them at room temp for a week or so. I think it's best to do this at a low temp for a long time so they don't burn at all, and dry out completely.

                                    Also, Whole Foods sells Salmon Jerky. I hate fish, but have heard it's good. A diner near me makes salmon burgers which are a HUGE seller. I know they're not shelf-stable, but maybe something to add to your dinner rotation :)

                                    One more idea--I don't stomach fat well either and eat mostly vegan, so I have a hard time getting enough protein. The fat in nuts is even too much on my stomach for me to get in enough of them in a day. Roasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds have been a saving grace. They are easier on my stomach and a 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds (shelled) has something like 10-15 grams of protein. I'll take a small handful twice a day like they're vitamins--you can practically eat them all in a bite or two. Seeds are also easy to toss with cooking spray/olive oil and then quickly roast with seasonings to vary the taste. Kind of like making Chex Mix but with no starch and all protein. You can add any combo of flavors--very yummy! I also put them in most things I eat, from quesadillas to roasted veggies.

                                  2. h
                                    Hayleydiane RE: Morganna Jul 6, 2013 09:14 PM

                                    I don't know if you are still reading these but I have the same issue. I just hate sweets in general. A friend of mine told me about these meat protein bars called Epic Bars. There are three flavors. Beef, turkey and buffalo mixed with cranberries. It sounds like it may still be a little sweet but I'm crossing my fingers. They are organic and come from grass fed animals (Paleo I guess) so they're healthy anyway. I haven't tried them yet but did order them and should be getting them in a couple days. I will let you know what I think.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Hayleydiane
                                      Morganna RE: Hayleydiane Jul 7, 2013 06:48 AM

                                      oh good, I'd love to hear what you discover. Cranberries don't HAVE to be sweet. :) I'll look around for them. Thanks! :D

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