Protein bars can be very convenient meal replacements or snacks, especially when living a busy lifestyle! I will be honest that protein bars are not really my thing, however, I wanted to talk about some of my favorite bars that I do have on occasion. A lot of my clients love to incorporate them into their meals so I think it’s important to talk about the ones I think are best. I believe it is best to get your nutrients and fiber from whole foods like lean meats, vegetables, and fruits but I wont lie that sometimes it is much easier and faster to grab a bar. The problem that can come from protein bars (and why I only have them rarely) is that, depending on the brand; they can have a lot of artificial sweeteners and they do not have much mass to them, so they may not fill you up. This leaves you still feeling hungry and taking up a good chunk of your macros for the day. So with that being said, here are a few of my go-to choices for protein bars!
- RX BARS: My favorite thing about these bars is that they are made with minimal and all natural ingredients. They have no added sugars, dairy, soy, or gluten so they are great for people with those food intolerances. They have a ton of flavors and all of them that I have tried are amazing! The downfalls to this bar, in my opinion, are that they are pretty small and they are high in sugar. The sugar is all-natural because of the ingredients, but if you are watching your sugar intake these may not be your best choice.
- QUEST BARS: These are definitely a fan favorite! Quest bars are super popular and there is a good reason for that – they taste great, come in a TON of flavors, and are high in fiber! Another bonus is that if you microwave them, they turn into a cookie! One reason I do tend to stay away from these bars is because of their high fiber content – I can rarely make them fit into my day! They also have artificial sweeteners like stevia and erythritol, along with xanthan gum, so if you are sensitive to those you may want to choose another bar.
- FITJOY BARS: These are another great bar that are gluten free! They have a good variety of flavors, but some of them are definitely better then others, in my opinion. Their label says they are free from artificial sweeteners, but if you look on the ingredient list you will find erythritol on there. They have dairy products in them, so if you are sensitive to dairy you may not react well to them. These are not as high in fiber as Quest bars, so they may be a better choice for you if you are running low on fiber for the day.
- D’S NATURAL BARS: These bars are very good and have a different texture then most protein bars I have tried. They are dairy free, soy free, gluten free, and vegan! They are made with organic brown rice, pea protein and prebiotic fiber. They are a good choice if you are low in fiber as well, since they average about 20g of fiber per bar. With so much fiber, you may feel bloated or gassy after eating them, especially if you are not used to taking in so much fiber in one sitting.
There are a TON of protein bars on the market to choose from. They all have their own pros and cons, so you have to decide which ones are best for you based on what you like and how your body reacts to them. As always, I preach moderation so remember that protein bars are meant to supplement your diet and should not be what you are eating for every meal or even every day. A good mix of whole grains, lean meats, fruits, and veggies is always best – with a protein bar every now and then 😉
Photography: Mike Zuch, Zuch Photography