Protein bars are a popular snack choice for on the go but are protein bars good for you?
Portable enough to store in the car, toss into a lunch or pull out of a gym bag after a great workout, they are a quick and protein filled snack for many on the go. Protein bars can also aid in healthy weight loss if they are relatively low in calories and high in fibre. The key is to read the labels and pick the right protein bar to ensure you are getting lots of protein, minimal added sugar and no unnecessary fat.
Are Protein Bars Good for You?
While some protein bars can be a nutritious option, many are a fat and sugar trap resembling a pretty packaged chocolate bar. Faced with the ever-growing selection of bars available, here are some guidelines to make sure you are making a healthy protein snack choice.
Keep the Sugar in Check
High sugar offenders are easy to spot when they are dunked in chocolate or coated in hardened “yogurt”, but the ingredients inside are equally as important. When looking for a healthier protein bar, opt for ones that add fruit or minimal natural sugars to their mix for sweetness. Read the nutrition facts panel on the side of box and choose a protein bar with less than 8 grams of sugar per serving.
Watch the Fat
Protein bars typically include a fair amount of fat – especially those with nuts. The total fat content and nutritional value will increase with the addition of heart healthy nuts and seeds, yet the bar you choose should contain 0 g trans fat and no more than 4-6 grams of saturated fat per serving.
Count the Calories
You are looking for a quick and healthy snack, not a meal replacement. With this in mind, the calorie level should be between 200-280 Kcal per serving. Round this snack out with a piece of fruit and plenty or water.
Fibre is Part of the Equation
A good fibre intake is an important part of a healthy diet. Look for a protein bar with at least 3 g of fibre per serving. Pair it with raspberries or a pear for an extra fibre boost.
Investigate the Ingredient List
Protein bars can be a health option if you limit artificial ingredients such as sweeteners, flavours and colours as well as partially hydrogenated oils, palm oils and refined grains.
In place of protein bars, try making some of these amazing Protein Ball recipes.
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