I have been getting a lot of questions lately about which snack bars are best. I understand where all the confusion is coming from since grocery stores are now packed with so many different types and brands of protein, energy, and meal replacement bars.
Personally, I feel that the majority of food we eat should come from foods that don’t even have labels (fresh produce). However, most of us have busy schedules so snack bars can be a nutritious and convenient component to your healthy diet. But you need to make sure your snack bar is not junk food disguised in a healthy looking package.
Here are the top reasons why your bar might not be as healthy as you think:
1. The ingredient list is long with hard to pronounce words
If you are confused about what the ingredient is most likely your body is also confused about what the ingredient is. The long list of confusing ingredients will slow down the efficiency of your body, making it harder for you to stay healthy and strong.
Take Away: As far as ingredients – keep it short, keep it simple.
2. Empty calorie ingredients are at the beginning of the list
The ingredient list is set up in order from most to least abundant ingredient. Empty calorie ingredients such as sugar, syrups, soy protein isolate, and evaporated cane juice provide you with little to no nutrients. A bar that contains these ingredients in the first few ingredients consists mostly of empty calorie ingredients, which are harmful to your energy and waistline.
Take Away: Make sure the first few ingredients are nutrient dense ingredients such as whole grains, nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. Refer to my blog on Curbing your Sugar Craving for more information on empty calorie and nutrient dense foods.
3. The bar contains as much sugar as a candy bar
There is no sugar coating this reason. Too much sugar is just not good for you.
Take Away: Keep the grams of sugar down to at least 10 grams of sugar per serving, unless the bar is filled with natural sugars from fruits. Fruit contain vitamins and minerals making them beneficial even with the sugar.
Here are some of my picks for a healthy snack bar:
1. Odwalla: Sweet n’ Salty Almond Bar
220 calories, 11 g total fat, 6 g fiber, 8 g sugar, 7 g protein
2. Larabar: Apple Pie
190 calories, 10 g total fat, 5 g fiber, 18 g sugar, 4 g protein
Note this bar has more than 10 grams of sugar but the sugar comes from dates, unsweetened apples, and raisins. Not added sugar.
3. Kashi Crunchy Bars: Pumpkin Spice Flax
170 calories, 6 g total fat, 4 g fiber, 8 g sugar, 6 g protein
161 calories, 8 g total fat, 4 g fiber, 8 g sugar, 4 g protein
Two Healthy Hearts Bake is a small local bakery offering fresh made to order bars.
Check around your area to see what nutritious snacks local bakeries, cafes, and health food stores are offering. Just use my tips to make sure you are eating one of the many healthy snack bars out there.
Lots of Love,