Friday, October 25, 2013

My Recs for the Best Protein Bars

Many people eat protein bars on a daily basis because they are a quick and easy snack, and one would think, a healthy choice. However, most bars out on the market have some sort of coating, whether it is a “yogurt” or a chocolate coating. Oftentimes, these types of bars are full of saturated fat, and sometimes, hydrogenated oil (trans fat!). Furthermore, many bars are loaded with tons of sugar and are not the healthiest choice as a mid-day snack. I only really recommend bars for those that will be on the road and not able to have a meal for several hours, those trying to gain weight, or very active individuals. Protein bars tend to be very high in calories, so most people are not active enough throughout the day to require a very high-calorie snack... choosing fruit, non-fat yogurt, whole grain crackers, and/or a small serving of nuts/seeds is always a better choice.

It is always best to eat real food if possible, like cottage cheese or yogurt & fruit before a workout, instead of a packaged and highly-processed product. However, if you must eat a bar, first look at the ingredients list and make sure it contains high quality and fairly-natural ingredients. These would include nuts, seeds, whole grains, and honey or brown rice syrup (instead of high fructose corn syrup as the sweetener). There are many products on the market now, especially at Whole Foods, which do contain basic and healthy ingredients, and therefore, can be a nutritious choice for a snack.

My recommendations: Below are the bars I most often recommend to clients. Of course, there are now many bars on the market that meet my criteria of containing mostly natural ingredients,  high in fiber and protein, and actually taste good. But again, try to limit your processed bar intake- a slice of whole wheat bread with peanut butter, or a banana and a light cheese stick can be healthy and very quick snacks pre- or post-workout.

  •  KIND Plus or KINDNuts & Spice Bars
    • Most of the bars contain around 180 calories, 9 g fat (2.5 g SFA), 22 g carb (3 g fiber), 4 g protein, 50% DV Vit A, 50% DV Vit C, as well as small amounts of other vitamins and minerals
    • Each bar is made with very natural ingredients such as nuts, fruit, and honey- although glucose is added as a binder. The nuts & spice line contain <5 g sugar per bar.
    • ***I always have samples of these and give them to my clients- many delicious flavors like Chocolate Peanut Butter + Protein and Dark Chocolate Sea Salt... yummm
  • LaraBars (any flavor- 1.8 oz bar)
    • Most of their bars contain 220-250 calories, 8-11 g fat (< 3 g saturated fat), ~30 g carb (3-7 g fiber), 5-7 grams protein, and are a good source of several key nutrients (potassium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, etc.).
    • Each bar contains less than 9 ingredients, is made only from seeds, fruit, and spices.
  • Nature’s Path OrganicOptimum Energy Bar (any flavor- 2 oz bar)
    • Most of their bars contain 200-220 calories, 3-8 g fat (< 2 g saturated fat), ~37 g carb (4 g fiber), 5-7 grams protein, and 20-25% DV calcium, 15% DV Iron
    • Each bar is made with all organic ingredients, no trans fat, no high fructose corn syrup, and only quality ingredients
  • Vega Bars
    • Each bar is plant-based and contains high-quality proteins coming from pea protein and soy. These bars contain a ridiculous amount of healthy fruit and vegetable-based ingredients, and a healthier recipe compared to most bars for the dark chocolate coating.
    • These bars come in a variety of flavors, each around 250 calories, 11 g fat (3 g saturated), 25 g carb (6 g fiber,12 g sugar), and 15 g protein. They contain most of the major vitamins and minerals, and a whole slew of antioxidants and probiotics.
  • PowerBar Nut Naturals
    • These bars contain around 210 calories, 10 g fat (1.5 g SFA), 21 g carb (2 g fiber), and 10 grams protein, and are a good source of Vit C, thiamin, iron, and riboflavin
    • Each bar contains no preservatives or artificial flavors
  • NOW (No OpportunityWasted) Energy bars w/ Manuka Honey
    • Phil Keoghan’s NOW bars are all natural bars that are gluten free and contain very healthy ingredients including chia seeds.

      Most of the protein containing bars contain around 280 calories, 8 g fat (2 g saturated), 42 g carb (6 g fiber, 14 g sugar), and 11 grams protein. Most are also a pretty good source of calcium too!

1 comment:

Jones Morris said...

Thanks for sharing the info, keep up the good work going.... I really enjoyed exploring your site. good protein bars