Protein bars provide a convenient, on-the-go snack that meets your energy and muscle-building needs. But how healthy are they really? That depends on how loaded they are with artificial sweeteners, flavorings, and fillers. But you don’t have to scrutinize the label description on every bar that’s out there to find out. Simply follow our guide to the best protein bars that dietitians recommend.
- Protein Benefits
- Why Take Protein Bars
- RX Bars
- Larabar Protein Bars
- GoMacro Bars
- Clif Whey Protein
- My Favorite Homemade Protein Bar
Protein is one of the three macronutrients contained in food, the other two being carbohydrates and fat. Protein’s main job is to form the building blocks that the body uses to build and repair itself. Protein breaks down into amino acids which build and repair muscle tissue.
Protein also helps to prevent fat gain. Of the three macros, it is the most satiating. That means you will feel fuller after eating protein, as opposed to carbs or fat. Protein also has the highest thermic effect, taking more energy to be consumed than the other macros.
Why Take Protein Bars
Protein bars are far more than just a tasty snack. Here are five reasons to get into the protein bar habit.
Your body needs an energy and protein boost to help power through your workouts. A protein bar delivers those nutrition needs in a quick, easily digestible format. It will prevent a drop off in blood sugar levels, ensuring that you have a consistent energy supply while training.
When your schedule gets crazy and you don’t have time for a meal, a protein bar can be a life saver. If you are trying to lose weight, you may also plan to have a protein bar in place of one of your daily meals.
The portability of protein bars makes them ideal to carry with you when you are out and about. When your cravings kick in and you feel like buying a sweet treat, you can simply pull out your protein bar to satisfy your craving in a healthy way.
Post Workout Meal
You probably know that one of your greatest needs after a workout is to get amino acids into your body. A protein bar is the ideal solution to that need. You don’t need to mix it up or wait until you have access to a blender. Simply pull your protein bar out of your gym bag and enjoy!
Protein Rich Foods
Protein bars are designed as a supplement to a healthy diet. That means they should be used as an addition to, rather than a replacement for, whole foods. The human body was designed to consume whole foods rather than supplements. As a result, you should get the bulk of your daily protein requirement from such foods as chicken, eggs, red meat, and fish. Limit your use of supplements like protein bars and shakes to between-meal snacks.
RX protein bars get the big thumbs up from nutritionists. When it comes to protein bars, the fewer ingredients, the better. So, with just three or four ingredients in each bar depending on the flavor, RX bars are a standout. As an example, the pumpkin spice bar includes just egg whites, almonds, cashews, and dates. Egg whites, which are very high in biological value and protein efficiency ratio, are the main form of protein. Each 32-gram bar provides you with between eight and twelve grams of protein.
RX Bars are available in a range of tasty flavors, including pumpkin spice, gingerbread, and snickerdoodle. Online reviewers rave about the taste of every flavor.
Larabar Protein Bars
Being a vegan protein bar, Larabar has carved out a unique niche in the market. Each bar contains 100% real ingredients. The sole blends of fruits, nuts, and spices that go into their range of flavors ensure that what you’re putting into your body is only going to make you better.
Depending on the flavor, larabar protein bars contain between two and nine ingredients. Every bar is non-GMO, with many of them also being gluten-free, vegan, dairy free, soy free, and kosher. There are more than twenty flavors in the Larabar protein bar range.
GoMacro Bars are vegan protein snacks that feature only plant-based ingredients. GoMacro is made up of a mother-daughter team and offers a whole range of yummy food products that are bigger than your everyday snack bar.
Clif Whey Protein
The Clif Whey Protein Bar is built around dairy whey protein and contains fourteen grams of protein and five grams of sugar in every serve. It also contains pea and rice protein. There are three flavors to this bar:
- Salted cashew caramel
- Peanut butter chocolate
- Coconut almond chocolate
Of the three flavors, the salted cashew caramel is the most popular. However, some people may find that the whey taste is a little overpowering on all three flavors.
My Favorite Homemade Protein Bar
According to the American Council on Exercise, only specific types of protein bars can benefit you. Most commercial branded protein bars tend to overdo the sugar, and a high-calorie bar will actually increase your weight. It is important to avoid excessive sugar, fat, and sodium because these are not good for your health. It is recommended that we limit our sugar intake to twenty-five grams on a regular basis for women and thirty-seven and a half grams for men. You can limit excessive consumption of sugar, fat, and salt by preparing a protein bar at home. Here’s my all time favorite homemade protein bar recipe.
Nutty Chocolate Protein Bars
• ½ cup peanut butter or almond butter (natural)
• 1 cup vanilla almond milk (without sugar)
• 10 packets calorie free sweetener
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 2/3 cup oat flour
• 8 scoops chocolate protein powder
• ¼ cup dark chocolate chips (or white chocolate chips)
• Place 8” parchment paper in a brownie pan. Combine the first 4 ingredients, and mix them slowly.
• Take a small bowel and combine the oat flour and protein powder. Mix them together.
• Add the chocolate chips, and again mix them well in the mixer.
• Combine both mixtures, and scrape the dough into a pan.
• Take a plastic wrapper to cover the pan and put it in the refrigerator overnight.
• Cut the prepared bars into your favorite size and shape.
Need a post workout pick-me-up or a way to beat cravings when on the go? Try out one of these dietician-recommended protein bars and see if they’re right for you!