If you know anything about me, I’m a BAR kind of person. Not the bar for drinks, but the “grab and go” rectangularly shaped conglomeration of food! These snacks are awesome so you don’t find yourself hungry and grabbing for junk, but make sure you take a look at the nutrition label, or you could find yourself mistaken when you think you’re helping your health and you’re actually feeding it chemicals.
As a society, we LOVE convenience and we need portion control… bars can be a great way to have both! There are so many out there, but I’m going to just tell you my opinion about a few that I’ve tried. Rule of thumb is to at least LOOK at the label and see if you feel comfortable and confident consuming it, and always consider REAL food the best option for meals. 🙂
These are likely the cleanest general type bar out on the market and still tasty, made with 100% whole food and they typically contain only 4 or 5 ingredients. You just have to be sure to balance sugar intake for the rest of the day as they use dates as the primary ingredient. They’re high sugar, but it’s good sugar from food at least instead of added or artificial sugar. These are great for lifestyle purposes to keep you full between meals and are gluten free, dairy free, soy free, non GMO, Vegan and Kosher. Calories are around 200.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE Quest Bars! I can’t get enough of the taste. These are the cleanest PROTEIN type bar with 20g of protein, 17g of Fiber, and 1g of sugar. They are sweetened with Stevia and freeze-dried fruit, and come in SO many flavors. MY favorite being Chocolate Chip cookie dough (which you can put in the microwave for a few seconds and pretend you’re eating warm actual cookie dough…) If you’re not meeting your daily fiber intake, like most Americans, or need post-workout protein, this is your jam. You can also make tons of other delicious “desserts” with the bars 🙂
Mini CLIFF BARS
These are organic and natural, but less of a every day snack and more for high performance workouts, energy and recovery. The sugar and carbs in it are often used for endurance runners and are SUPER FILLING, like mini-meal status. They’re non-GMO and made with organic rolled oats. I say mini, because the regular ones have upwards of 250 calories, whereas the minis stick around 100 and are a better snack option.
This is another type of “nut” bar, usually under 200 calories and often include seeds like chia/flax and added vitamins. These are also non-GMO and have very few ingredients (depending on the flavor). They are sweetened with honey and dried fruit, but just be a little more careful of the ones with chocolate added 🙂
This is known to be the quintessential “dieting bar” and brand. I even used to eat them in early college when I was fooled by their marketing techniques! For a very low calorie bar, they sure have over 50 different ingredients. High Fructose Corn Syrup, Dextrose, Artificial flavor, soy lecithin, soy protein isolate, trans fat, processed rice… not even worth the empty calories.
Guess what the number one ingredient in this energy bar is? Sugar. That’s right, there’s more sugar in this bar than anything else. And there’s less than one gram of fiber. You might as well have a candy bar! NO NO NO. Remember how highly addictive sugar is HERE in my post “Sugar is Killing Us”. Don’t be fooled just because something says “PROTEIN” on the wrapper.
High Fructose Corn Syrup… need I say more? I’m not sure why these were like the breakfast of champions when I was growing up, but they’re nothing but enriched processed flour and fake fruit filling. Not a great way to start the day. They also have red #1 and blue #1 colorings which are known to cause several illnesses.
It’s hard to “think thin” when you’re eating a bar with more saturated fat than the American Heart Association recommends. This energy bar also has SO MUCH sodium (like 300g) and is heavy on the SOY (look for WHEY as a higher quality option). These DO have 20g of protein and are 230 calories.