There are a lot of products out there that are marketed to us as being healthy, when it reality, they are full of sugar, processed carbohydrates and additives; protein bars are some of the WORST! So, if these bars are made to look healthy, how do we read between the lines and make the right choice?
1. Look for a bar with at least 10g of protein :: Protein is paramount in keeping you feeling full and then also helping you recover from a workout. So, look for bars that have at least 10g of protein! The protein can come from plant sources like pea, chia, hemp or even nuts like almonds and cashews. I also like bars made with grass-fed whey protein, so if your stomach does okay with whey, that works as well.
2. Watch for sugars :: Look for words like cane sugar, agave syrup, dextrose or maltose. All of those are code word for sugar which is going to make your blood sugar spike and make you feel hungrier later. So, if your bar is going to have sugar in it, make sure that it comes from fruit only! I also suggest keeping your overall grams of sugar in a bar to 13g or less.
3. Fat is awesome :: Don't be afraid of high fat or saturated fat content in bars. This type of fat is going to keep you feeling full by stabilizing your blood sugar levels. So, fat is good, not bad! Some healthy fats in bars are things like nuts, chia, hemp, coconut oil, MCT and olive oil.
4. Know what's in your bar :: Last rule of thumb when it comes to picking out a truly healthy protein bar; if you don't understand a word on the ingredient list, you probably shouldn't buy it. Stick with transparent labels that have ingredients you recognize and can picture naturally in nature!
My Top Protein/Energy Bar Picks
I love love love Epic Bars. They are made with 100% grass fed meat and then combined with really fun, tasty ingredients like dried apples, cranberries or nuts. You can find them online or in your specialty grocery store like Whole Foods or Sprouts.
Bulletproof Grass Fed Whey Protein Bars
Bulletproof bars basically taste like a cookie but pack a serious nutritional punch. No joke. They are only available online right now so you can find them HERE.
I'm a big fan of how transparent the label is on these bars. They all only have 4-6 ingredients total and pack a fantastic nutritional punch. You can find these at most grocers. I love the coffee chocolate flavor best!
Rise Protein Bars
This bar is slightly higher in overall calories, protein and sugars which is what makes it perfect for after a big time workout. The Almond Honey flavor only has 3 total ingredients and packs 20g of protein. You can find this bar at nearly every grocery store.
If you have protein and energy bar questions or are just looking for more tips on how to refuel after a workout or on the go, then please leave your questions in the comments below!