Even though it’s not yet time for lunch or dinner, a snack of an apple or some nuts won’t do the trick. Well, what do you do?
To get some protein, grab a bar.
Eating whole foods is your best bet for getting enough protein. Protein bars, on the other hand, can be a quick, easy, and nutrient-dense option if you’re busy or on the go. Amy S. Margulies, R.D., owner of Rebellious RD, notes that “not all protein bars are built the same.” While protein bars have the potential to be a healthy, on-the-go option, this is not always the case. In terms of nutrition, some bars might as well be candy.
Are Protein Bars Healthy?
Is it safe to eat protein bars?
To begin, protein is a macronutrient, meaning your body requires it for energy and to keep its biological processes running smoothly. Protein aids in muscle development and maintenance and increases satiety. According to Margulies, protein has minimal effect on blood sugar levels. Whey, rice, peas, hemp, and egg whites are all good sources of protein. Providing protein, fibre, whole grains, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals with as little processing as possible, Margulies says protein bars can add value to your diet.
“Overall, protein bars can be a convenient and nutritious way to meet nutritional needs and fuel your active lifestyle,” says Kitchens, who recommends choosing a protein bar with at least 15 grammes of protein. “When selecting a protein bar, it’s important to read the nutrition label and make sure it fits your dietary needs and preferences,” she says. “A high-quality protein bar should contain quality sources of protein—ideally from organic, plant-based sources like nuts, seeds, and grains.”
Is It Okay to Eat Protein Bars Every Day?
Do you think it’s healthy to eat protein bars daily?
It’s possible as well.
“There’s no reason to completely remove your daily protein bar,” says Kitchens, “if you are already eating a nutritious and balanced diet rich in ample amounts of vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, whole grains and lean protein sources.” “Protein bars are a great way to add some extra protein to your diet without sacrificing taste or convenience,” I say.
Protein bars, according to Margulies, can be part of your daily diet so long as you choose a high-quality bar that you enjoy eating and that meets your body’s nutritional needs. She recommends them as “a healthy grab-and-go to help you get through the day” or “a convenient post-workout snack” because “life can get busy sometimes.” Adults require at least 25-30 grammes of fibre per day to support overall health and keep your digestion rolling smoothly, so if your bar doesn’t contain much fibre, pair it with some fresh fruit or fresh vegetables, suggests Margulies.
How To Pick a Good Protein Bar
The advice of our specialists is as follows.
Is there at least 15 grammes of protein in the bar?
Does it contain 250 calories or less?
Are there fewer than 20 grammes of sugar and at least 3 grammes of fibre per serving?
Does each bar contain less than 5 grammes of sugar syrup?
Are you able to eat all of the ingredients?
Do most of the ingredients come from whole foods?
Does it have a pleasant flavour? (Important!)
And now, some of our personal favourites! Okay, there are more than a handful on this list.
1. RiseBar Almond Honey
Christina Meyer-Jax, M.S., R.D.N., a professor of nutrition at St Catherine’s University in St. Paul, Minnesota, says, “Having a straightforward, simple ingredient bar like Rise in your back pocket makes it easy to avoid the impulse grab of junk food.”
I appreciate the added protein and the higher monounsaturated fat content that the nuts provide. This combination is perfect for keeping us satisfied for longer.
There are 20 grammes of protein and 4 grammes of fibre in a 280-calorie bar.
2. Probar Cookie Dough
“Helpful for post-workout recovery,” is how Meyer-Jax describes the 20 grammes of protein in Probar’s plant-based BASE protein bar. Not only do they taste great, but they also have no added sugar. It’s exactly the same as if you were eating raw cookie dough.
3. Quest Nutrition Blueberry Muffin Protein Bar
There are 20 grams of protein and fifteen of fibre in this bar. The bar contains erythritol, a sweetener that may cause gastrointestinal discomfort in some individuals. If you’re not into the standard flavours of chocolate and vanilla found in protein bars, try the blueberry muffin variety.
4. Onnit Protein Bites
Many protein bars use excessive amounts of artificial sweeteners, which leave a metallic aftertaste. The eight grammes of protein in these bites are sweetened with real dark chocolate. No, they’re not a bar in the strict sense of the word, but if you put two of them next to each other, you get a rectangle. Here’s a ‘bar’ with 16 grammes of protein, just for you.
5. Grenade Carb Killa Caramel Chaos
There are 20 grammes of protein in just 240 calories. If sugar alcohols are a concern, rest assured that these bars contain them. The taste is superb. Seems like it would be right up Duke Nukem’s alley.
6. Detour Salted Caramel Cookie Dough
Protein bars with cookie dough flavours are common, but the addition of salted caramel gives these bars a unique twist. For 170 calories, you’ll get 15 grammes of protein and 4 grammes of fibre. Our dietitians recommend consuming 20 grammes of protein per meal, so you could eat two of these and still be well within your calorie limit. If you don’t enjoy the taste of traditional protein bars, this one is for you.
7. Pure Protein Bar, Chocolate Deluxe
These classic bars are very chocolatey and have a good amount of protein for very few calories. There is only 2 grammes of fibre, but if you add a piece of fruit, you’ll be fine. You can also find these bars almost anywhere.
8. Perfect Bar Whole Food Organic Peanut Butter
“The Perfect Bar has become a fan favourite because it has a good amount of protein and a pretty easy-to-read list of ingredients,” says Shaw. But it has 330 calories, so Bachman says guys who want to get bigger should use it as a meal replacement instead.
9. Quest Nutrition Cookies & Cream
Even though they only have one gramme of sugar (erythritol), these bars taste like cookies and cream. When you add 20 grammes of protein and 9 grammes of fibre, you have a good snack for after you work out. Pour yourself a glass of milk.
10. think! Brownie Crunch
Bachman likes this bar because it is high in protein, has no sugar, and only has 230 calories. “It’s a great snack for people who want to lose weight or gain muscle and need a lot of protein,” she says.
Must Read: Lower Back Pain? Try These 6 Easy Stretches!
Perri is a New York City-born and -based writer; she holds a bachelor’s in psychology from Columbia University and is also a culinary school graduate of the plant-based Natural Gourmet Institute, which is now the Natural Gourmet Center at the Institute of Culinary Education. Her work has appeared in the New York Post, Men’s Journal, Rolling Stone, Oprah Daily, Insider.com, Architectural Digest, Southern Living, and more.