All in all, I have recently tried to eat more whole foods and that is always the goal. However, sometimes the best option is a bar. Whether you are running out the door and don’t have time for anything else, or you know you will leave the gym, or a meeting, or whatever you are doing and absolutely will not have time to make it home or elsewhere for something healthy, a bar is the answer. A protein bar can definitely have its place in a healthy diet. When choosing a bar the main thing to think about is why you are eating the bar. Is it a meal replacement bar or is it a snack? These definitely matter because not all bars are created equally and they are not all for the same nutritional need.
Protein bars have become a staple but some aren’t any better than eating a Snickers candy bar. Some are LOADED with sugar! So when you are looking at a protein bar make sure the amount of protein in the bar is at least half the amount of carbohydrates in the bar. I personally look for a bar with about 6 grams of sugar and depending on the time of eating between 10 – 20 grams of protein. Less protein if its just a snack to get me over a hump and more protein if its after a workout and is taking the place of a meal.
As far as calories it depends again on why I am eating it. If it is a snack I want it below 200 calories – more like 120 – 150. If it is a meal replacement bar then I look for one with about 200 calories.
I also look at the list of ingredients. If it is a paragraph long and I can’t pronounce the words, that bar is going back on the shelf! The less ingredients the better!
So, here is a look at what’s out there and how they stack up.
These have 190 Calories; 20 Grams Protein;
17 Grams Carbs and 6 Grams fat and only 2 Grams sugar. These bars are a great meal replacement and meal replacement bar. The protein/carb ratio is really good and I can attest that they do not taste like chalk! They are great to have on hand when you know you will miss a meal or after the gym when you need to keep going and might not be heading home for a proper meal replacement.
- Quest Bar
- 200 Calores; 20 Grams Protein; 22 Grams Carbs; 9 Grams Fat and 2 grams Sugar
- This is a protein packed bar that is really good for athletes. There are natural ingredients, it is low in sugar and loaded with protein. It is a great meal replacement or post workout bar. I see this bar discussed by athletes and given out at athletic events. I can’t give my personal opinion here as I haven’t tried it. Looks worth a try, though. What is your opinion?
- Think Thin Bars
- These are my “go to” protein bars when I want or need more protein and something a little more filling. They are 230 calories; 20 Grams Protein; 23 Grams Carbs; 8 Grams Fat and 0 Grams Sugar. Did you get that? NO SUGAR. These have a great taste – no cardboard here. They also have other flavors than chocolate. I’m not a HUGE chocolate person so I like to have something with a little more variety in the flavor area. I actually do like the white chocolate bar and the lemon creme pie is surprisingly good.
The Detour bars come in different options. There is the packed with protein bar that has up to 30 grams of protein or you can opt for a smaller Detour bar for a snack option. The smaller bar has 15 grams of protein; 150 Calories; 34 Grams Carbs; 9 Grams Fat and 5 Grams of Sugar. I have not tried the high protein bar and have only had the snack bar a couple of times so I can’t give a great critique here. These do look like a great option, though.
I discovered the Larabar Cashew Cookie bar and loved it as a snack. It’s a little high in calories at 230, but has 6 Grams Protein, 23 Grams Carbs, 18 Grams Sugar and 13 Grams Fat. Even with that the best thing about this bar is the list of ingredients: Cashews and dates. That’s it. Just two ingredients! Love that!
They have lately introduced some great new flavors, more fruit type flavors than the regular chocolate, peanut butter type of flavors. That makes these one of my favorite snack bars to have on hand.
I think these KIND bars have taken the place of the most popular healthy snack bar out there. Now you see them everywhere – and that’s a great thing! These make a great, healthy and filling snack. They have 180 Calories; 5 Grams Protein; 20 Grams Carbs, 11 Grams fat and 11 Grams Sugar. The Fruit and Nut bars have healthy monounsaturated fats and natural ingredients. I’m so glad these have flooded the market!
I haven’t tried these but I just sent a box to The First Son to keep in his dorm room. They are new from General Mills and can be found in any grocery store. They have 190 Calories; 10 Grams Protein; 14 Grams Carbs; 12 Grams fat and 6 Grams Sugar. These look like they would make a perfect snack and something that would also be kid friendly. Have you tried them yet?
These are not all that you can choose from, you know! There are so many more protein bars out there these days. This is a look at some of the most popular and the ones that I have had personal experience with. I’d love to hear about your experiences.
In as far as how often I eat a bar – it usually depends on my schedule. If I’m running around without time to have a snack at home or lunch I’ll throw one in my purse. It’s much better than allowing myself to get HANGRY. You know that’s true, don’t you? However, I might only buy about 3 bars a week to keep on hand. That way I make myself make something “real” to eat when I can and not just open a bar out of convenience too often.
What about you? Have a favorite protein bar? Snack bar or meal replacement bar? Do you depend on these as part of your weekly diet? Weekend plans? More football? How about some US Open Tennis, too??
Whatever you are doing this weekend I hope you have GREAT Fun!