With so many choices, even I get completely overwhelmed when it comes to choosing a protein, energy, meal replacement, nutrition bar. First things first... what are you looking for in a bar? Will you be using this a a snack, as a meal replacement, for energy, or for weight loss or weight gain? Once you answer that question it will be easier to find a bar that works for you. So many bars out there have the same content as a candy bar and yet, wouldn't you rather just eat a snickers? I would! To avoid eating a bar that doesn't taste half as good as that snickers but still has all the junk, here are some guidelines:
- Protein: What type of protein does the bar contain? Whey is the best source and stay away from soy. For a workout recovery "Protein Bar," look for at least 15 grams to keep you satiated. Protein should be listed as the first or second ingredient.
- Calories: If you’re using a nutrition bar as a meal replacement for a quick lunch, your nutrition bar should have between 200-300 calories in it. If you're using it as a snack opt for a bar with less.
- Carbohydrates: Carbs aren't bad. Especially in a bar that's supposed to give you energy. But make sure that the carb count is at least twice the sugar count. That way, you'll know that all of your carbs aren't coming from sugar which will result in a quick high followed by a low.
- Sugar: Brown rice syrup, high fructose corn syrup, sugar alcohols like malitol and sorbitol, are all undercover sugar ingredients.
- Soy: Stay away from soy, especially soy protein. Protein from soy not only screws majorly with your hormones, but it will leave you bloated and gassy. Thanks, but no thanks.
Bottom line, you should be able to read and understand all of the ingredients your bar of choice. With real, simple ingredients, my favorite bars include Quest, Larabar, Kind Bar and Good on Ya Bars. If I were you, I'd stay away from Luna, Cliff, Balance and Nature Valley... Say What?! Following the above guidelines, check out the ingredients on your favorite nutrition bar and remember, although they make a good snack on the go, don't forget to eat well-balanced meals too. Stay healthy, babes xo