How to pick a protein bar (and some of my favourites!)
Do you have a go-to protein or snack bar you can grab when you're HANGRY?
You know those days when you're in between errands, meetings and running between appointments and there's no kitchen full of fresh ingredients or time to make something?
I was reminded of how important it is to keep healthy products on hand yesterday when I flew to Miami. I had put all my 'snacks' and food into my checked bag so I didn't have my go-to items with me and was on the hunt. The flight attendant happened to offer me a KIND bar so I took it to at least look at the label. Yikes! Soy lecithin, cane sugar, milk powder...I decided to wait until I got to the next airport. Here's some tips on how to read a label.
INGREDIENTS TO AVOID IN YOUR SNACK BARS:
- Sugars: added or original. You'd be surprised how many bars have straight up cane sugar, agave syrup let alone sugar from the natural ingredients. Many products will you honey, maple, molasses, brown rice syrup and others. Decide how much sugar you want in your diet and limit when possible.
- Soy Lecithin: this is a binder found in tons of food products. Lecithin is a naturally occurring food chemical found in soy and egg yolks, so when I have a client reactive to this, we would even take eggs out of their diet for a little bit of time. I'd avoid soy in general as well.
- Oils: all oils are not created equal. Opt for coconut, almond, walnut, flax, chia or other nut or seed based oils instead of peanut, safflower, or canola.
- Milk powder: choose a bar that is dairy-free, gluten-free, and soy-free and then remember that if you have a food ALLERGY (this is different than a sensitivity) you also must read all the way to the end of the label to see if this product has been processed in a facility that also makes other products with the common allergens: milk, nuts, tree nuts, eggs, soy.
So enough of the junk, what CAN you eat instead?
HERE ARE 6 PROTEIN BARS YOU CAN LOOK AT AND SEE IF THEY FIT WITH YOUR FOOD NEEDS!
Larabars: who doesn't love a Larabar??? These are really whole food, simple ingredient options made from dates, nuts and fruits. They are easy to find and clean but not high in protein. So technically these are 'sugar-free' because there's nothing added, just remember that dried fruits are condensed down and naturally higher in sugar. I like to use these for dessert, mixed with chia, fresh berries and flax milk, that way you can just chop the bar up and use some of it to flavor your chia pudding!
RX Bars: these have a higher amount of protein, usually about 12 grams because they use egg whites in their bars. There are various flavors, and they recently switched from using figs to cashews to reduce the sugar content even more.
Bulletproof Bars: These are my newest find! I have the vanilla collagen protein bites from this line and love them. They contain collagen protein from grass-fed sources and natural flavors like vanilla bean as well as caprylic and capric acid triglycerides sourced from coconut and/or palm kernel oil and 12 grams of protein. The mini bite size ones are great too!
Sakara Life: This line of food and supplements is amazing. There are three types of bars:
Detox Bars: Activated charcoal to cleanse the body of toxins and lucuma for inflammation-reducing antioxidants.
Beauty Bars: Coconut for medium-chain fatty acids to nourish cell membranes and lower inflammation, pineapple for Vit C to support collagen production and fight free radicals and MSM to build keratin for strong hair and nails.
Clarity Bars: Green coffee to improve memory and cognitive function and lemon for Vit C to support nerve cells
EPIC Bars: if you like meat, you might like these. I haven't personally had them, but get asked about them a lot. Some are better than others when it comes to sugar. For example, their chicken sriracha bar is just that, chicken, and herbs and flavors. They also have a Bison Bacon bar, this one has added brown sugar and cranberries. Plus it contains pork and you know how I feel about that....so again, read the labels and there may be one flavor better for you.
Rawxies: I am an ambassador for Rawxie's a great company based out of Kansas City. They have a crunch product and also heart-shaped bars. They primarily use gluten-free oats, coconut and then different fruits/nuts/flavors to create their various flavor choices. These are vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free.
So what's important to remember is that depending on what type of food plan you follow, you can find something that will be a go-to snack option. If you're vegan, vegetarian, sugar-free, paleo or something else, there are choices for you!
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