RX Bars are the meal replacement bar of the moment. Thanks to a streamlined ingredient list that just so happens to be compliant with a certain month-long eating program, these bars are an easy solution when you need to fill up on the go.
These high-protein, chocolatey date- and nut-based bars are sprinkled with sea salt, satisfying that craving for sweetness. And if you're wondering what they taste like, imagine the chewy edge of a chilled brownie — they're that decadent and now you can make them at home.
What Is an RX Bar?
RX Bars are high-protein meal replacement bars with a limited ingredient list (they list the major components right on the front of the package!). Some RX Bars are packed with whole nuts, while others are soft like cookies. Each flavor differs in their density and chew.
They're made with whole ingredients and free of added sugars (mind you, dates are a fruit and contain natural sugars), gluten, soy, and dairy. Egg white protein powder is the star that sets these bars apart. This powder gives RX Bars their distinctive chew and protein-filled staying power that make these bars a meal.
Key Ingredients for RX Bars
- Egg white protein powder can be found in the vitamin and supplement section of the grocery store, at health food stores, or online. Trader Joe's even carries it!
- Dried dates are naturally sweet and ideal for binding ingredients when you do not want a sugar-sweetened syrup. Look for them in the produce section or wherever your grocer stocks nuts and other dried fruit.
- Choose raw cashews and almonds for a hearty dose of good fats and buttery flavor. Despite their labeling, some raw nuts have been steamed to pasteurize or to remove the nut from its shell. The important factor is choosing nuts that have not been roasted, cooked in oil, or salted.
RX Bars for a Fraction of the Price
When half the reason to tuck an RX Bar in your bag is to have a quick and compliant emergency meal, why would you consider making them? For one, despite their short ingredient list, these bars are expensive! At $2.50 or more a pop, starting an RX Bar habit can cost you some serious coin. Even though nuts, dried dates, and a specialty ingredient like egg white protein powder can appear expensive, making your own bars will save you money.
We crunched the numbers (and a few cashews along the way), calculating the ingredient costs for making a copycat bar that is identical in its serving size, so you'll be left with a batch of bars that taste better at a fraction of the cost of the store-bought variety.
Cost Per Bar Breakdown
Our bar = $1.02 each
RX Bars at the grocery store = $2.50
In bulk on Amazon = $1.89 each
Key Steps for Making RX Bars
- Prep your baking pan. These bars set up in the refrigerator, so line the pan with a parchment sling for easy removal. Later, you can cut the same parchment into small squares to separate the bars once they've been cut.
- Process the ingredients. First, process the nuts into a fine crumb. Grinding the nuts into a fine crumb means they are less noticeable, making for a denser, richer, chewier bar instead of one that crumbles and breaks apart. Egg white protein powder and cocoa powder come next. Process to combine completely with the nuts. The dates are the backbone of the bars, binding all of the ingredients together. Once incorporated, the dough will feel tacky, but there should not be any dry or powdery spots left from the cocoa and egg white powder.
- Slice into bars. Once chilled, slice into 20 bars. These bars are nutrient dense, so make sure to slice them into an appropriate serving size. A ruler and a pizza cutter (or sharp knife) make quick work of slicing into 20 (2- by 1 3/4-inch) bars — the same weight as the store-bought bars.
Serving and Snacking on RX Bars
The refrigerator or freezer are your friends for setting and storing homemade RX Bars. Once cut, separate the bars with parchment squares or wrap individually to grab quickly on your way out the door. I like to keep the bars in the freezer. They thaw in time to satisfy my 3 o'clock chocolate craving, while maintaining a brownie-like chew.
Store the bars in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or freeze for up to three months.
How To Make Copycat Rx Bars
Makes 20 bars
What You Need
whole raw almonds (about 5 ounces)
whole raw cashews (about 5 ounces)
1 1/4 cups
egg white protein powder (3 ounces)
unsweetened cocoa powder (2 ounces)
pitted dried dates, preferably Medjool (28 to 30), quartered
coarse sea salt
Measuring cups and spoons
Kitchen scale, optional
11x7-inch baking pan
Pizza cutter or large knife
Line the pan with parchment paper. Line an 11x7-inch baking pan with a parchment paper sling.
Process the nuts until finely chopped. Place the almonds and cashews in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Process until finely chopped into a crumb consistency, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.
Process the egg white protein and cocoa powder. Add the egg white protein powder and cocoa powder and process for 30 seconds. You may need to stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add the dates and process until a dough forms. Add the dates and process for 1 to 2 minutes. The processor will be very full so the dough might not form a ball, but it should feel slightly tacky and hold together when squeezed. The mixture will not feel dry or powdery once the dates are completely incorporated.
Press the date mixture into the pan. Transfer the date mixture to the prepared pan. Press down into an even layer with your fingers. You can also use a small piece of parchment to help you press the dough into a smooth layer and keep your hands from getting too sticky. Sprinkle with the salt and press lightly to adhere.
Chill and cut the bars. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or freeze for 30 minutes to set. Grasping the parchment, pull the slab out of the pan and place on a cutting board. Using a pizza cutter or large knife, cut into 20 (2- x 1 3/4-inch) bars.
Store the bars between parchment in an airtight container. Transfer the bars to an airtight container. Divide each layer of bars with a piece of parchment to keep the bars from sticking together. Bars can also be wrapped individually in parchment paper for easy transport.
Storage: Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 3 months.