March 13, 2017 | 0 Comments

How To Choose The Best Protein Bar For YOU

With today’s hectic schedules, there are definitely times that high-in-protein on-the-go options save the day! I have tried my fair share of bars and while I chose the whole foods route the majority of the time, I definitely have found some bars I like better than others.

I have discussed protein powders in a previous post (which are great for having as a home staple), but we all need something when we’re in a rush or traveling. I originally wrote this piece for my nutrition coaching clients, but since I get asked this question so often, I am sharing it here as well!

So, how do you decide which ones to eat?

1.TASTE. Which one tastes best to you?

Don’t eat things that you don’t like, just because there is protein in them. Find some you actually enjoy eating and cycle them into your weekly/monthly routine.

2. DIGESTION. How does your body react to the bar?

Remember, eating food should make you feel one thing…no longer hungry.  It shouldn’t make you gassy, bloated, or tired.  Some people do much better when they avoid sugar alcohols, wheat, or whey protein. Figure out which ingredients sit best with your stomach.

3. CALORIES/PROTEIN given the size of the bar.

As a nutrition as well as a strength coach, I work with regular people. I don’t work with high level athletes. That being said, the majority of my clientele are utilizing protein bars for convenience and protein only. They don’t need a high calorie meal replacement bar. The bars I used as examples below are all 200-250 calories. If you are going to be taking in over 200 calories, it would be in your best interest to get more than 10g of protein in your “protein bar.”

In addition to the protein content, think about which macronutrient you need more of given the day…fats or carbs?

Did you workout today? Perhaps you lean towards a higher carb bar.

Are you menopausal and a little less carb tolerant? Perhaps you choose the higher fat content option.

Now, once you’ve got all that down, you should take into account the

Metabolic Effect has two great rules that apply here:

Rule #6: Use bars and shakes for convenience.

“Bars and shakes are handy functional foods that can quickly decrease cravings and hunger. These should be used as small snacks in between meals to decrease hunger, provide building blocks for muscle, and stabilize energy. They should always be purchased only if they fit rule #7, the label reading rule.”

Rule #7 : The Label Reading Rule.

“If you subtract the fiber and protein from the total carbohydrates on a label, the total should equal ten or less. The lower the number the better. In addition, the fat content should be less than 15. If not, this food will not be effective at helping you manage your fat loss goals. This is the art of clinical practice at its best and a down and dirty quick trick that works fantastically.”

Most of the protein bars on the market will meet this mark 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Carbs-Fiber-Protein >15

10-1-13= -4

For 200 calories you get a decent sized bar with a wafer-like inside similar to a kit-kat. In my opinion the peanut butter varieties are really tasty.  These contain more fat than carbs. So they are a great low carb option.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Carbs-Fiber-Protein >15

22-4-12=6

RX bars are made from real whole foods, so this is a “healthy option” for those looking to steer clear of artificial ingredients.  There are 13g of sugar from real foods and this bar contains no fake sweeteners. Healthy is in quotes because when it comes to healthy foods we still want to take a look at the total calories for the amount of protein contained in the bar.

Total Carbs-Fiber-Protein >15

23-4-7=12

Lara bars are made from real whole foods as well.  They are another “healthy” option. These score the worst on the the Metabolic Effect packaged food scale. They contain more fat and carbs than protein and are 220 calories for a pretty small bar.

Total Carbs-Fiber-Protein >15

25-12-20=-7

This is one of my personal favorites. I have lots of people tell me they are “scared” of the packaging… but I think the peanut butter chocolate is pretty freaking tasty. For a large bar it is only 210 calories and 20g of protein. They don’t irritate my stomach/digestion with 1g of sugar alcohol.

Total Carbs-Fiber-Protein >15

22-1-20=1

For 240 calories, this bar is pretty small. It packs 20g of protein with 22g of carbs. As you can see the score is great.  They also contain 11g of sugar alcohol which does not sit well with my stomach. I feel gassy and bloated after eating them.  You may have noticed that I did not include Quest Bars in this lineup. The nutrition label reads well and definitely makes the mark for Metabolic Effects label rule BUT again something doesn’t sit well with my stomach and my digestive system.

Hopefully this post was able to some light on the things you should be paying attention to when selecting YOUR go-to protein bars. Remember protein bars are awesome to have on hand when you are short on time, stuck in a car/traveling and need some extra protein!

 

XOXO

Stacey

Are you looking to take your nutrition to the next level?

I have 2 slots available in my next nutrition coaching group that starts March 20th!

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