Everything You Wanted to Know About Nutrition Bars
With so many nutrition bars claiming wholesomeness, how do you know which ones are good choices and which ones are basically junk food in a pretty wrapper? With so many choices, how do you know which are the healthy energy bars?
Continue reading to learn more about which protein bars you should buy and which you are best to avoid.
What to Look for in Protein Bars
Most protein bars have about 150 to 270 calories. Healthy energy bars and quality protein bars usually have seven or more grams of protein along with three or more grams of fiber. Lastly, healthy protein bars tend to have fewer than 13 grams of sugar. But what protein bars fit the criteria?
The Best to Consider:
Health Warrior: Acai Berry
This is one of the protein bars you can buy. The Acai Berry bar is rich in whole ingredients such as chia seeds, cashew butter and oats. The chia seeds are infused with fiber, proteins and omega-3 acids. The dry chia seeds turn into a gel-like substance, which will help you feel full. My beef with these bars is that they list as one of the ingredients, “natural flavors”. There is no knowing what that is and “natural flavors” could even indicate there is MSG in the product.
Chocolate Sea Salt RXBAR
Your search for a fresh list of ingredients ends here. The RXBAR comes with six natural ingredients that are everyday foods; almonds, cashews, dates, egg whites, sea salt and cacao. The egg whites within this wholesome snack are an amazing source of protein and since it’s just the whites, it has fewer calories and still provides all of the necessary protein. It’s also a great source of potassium, which helps lower your blood pressure while simultaneously countering sodium. Again, my beef with these bars is that they list as one of the ingredients, “natural flavors”. If they are good flavors good ingredients, why aren’t they listing them?
Juno Bars are among the most coveted of the protein bar family. These bars are made of healthy ingredients such as apples, almond butter, dates, chia, quinoa and rice protein. Juno bars are also an amazing source of iron, which greatly benefits women who are still in their childbearing years. However, for people who have irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, you may want to avoid this bar. No “natural flavors” here, but there are 19 grams of sugar! Yikes!! That’s nearly five teaspoons of sugar in one bar.
My Current Personal Favorite:
You don’t hear a lot about these bars. It took me reading just about every label at the nutrition bars section of Whole Foods to find it. It’s always on the bottom shelf… I like them because they only have four ingredients: Cashews, coconut nectar, Pea Protein and Lemon Extract. They are vegan and all ingredients but the pea protein are organic. There are 12 grams of sugar in a bar, which is low compared to most bars, and the sugar is not added sugar, fructose, corn syrup, etc.
The One to Pass Up:
Unfortunately, Balance Bars is one brand you should avoid. Just because they have a flashy wrapper doesn’t mean they are a healthy choice. The ingredients used in Balance Bars are far from wholesome. In fact, the ingredient list resembles a science experiment. Sitting at the top of the list are glucose syrup, sugar, palm oil, fructose. Balance bars also contain caramel color, which is not natural and not good for you.
The One to Really Avoid:
Green SuperFood Energy Bars
Don’t let the words “energy”, “green” and “superfoods” fool you. This protein bar is one of the least healthy bars on the shelves. The Green SuperFood Energy Bar has 25 grams of sugar. Even though it is comprised of various teas, roots and powders, you can get the same nutrition from eating fruits and vegetables without the sugar rush.
Protein and nutrition bars are meant to be a quick, wholesome snack rich in vitamins and minerals, not a sugar-infused candy bar in disguise. Before you dig in, look at the list of ingredients. If you can’t pronounce it, if it has tons of sugar or if it contains “natural flavors”, you really shouldn’t be eating it.
I know this is long, but so many of us grab nutrition bars when we’re on the run, me included, that I want you to the information you need to make informed choices when you go to purchase healthy energy bars.
How may I serve you in your quest for optimal mental and physical health?
Cheryl A Major
Cheryl A Major lives in Westford and is a Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant. Her TV show, Thin Strong Healthy, airs on WestfordCat and is an offshoot of her blog http://ThinStrongHealthy.com Cheryl offers ongoing information, live and online courses and personal health coaching to help you feel better and be healthier. Follow Cheryl on Twitter @CherylAMajor. She is also a full time residential Realtor with Coldwell Banker with more than 25 years experience.
Subscribe to Cheryl’s podcast, “Major Health Tips in Digestible Bites” and check out her book, “Eat Your Blues Away” in which she chronicles her recovery from depression is now available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback!