Top 4 Protein Bars (and which to avoid!)
In an ideal world, we would all be making and consuming our own food, snacks, and beverages. However, the world is far from ideal and sometimes we have to outsource what we consume in order to prioritise another aspect of our lives!
A homemade protein bar can be a fabulous option, especially if you enjoy making them and use high-quality ingredients. However, it is great to know which convenient, on-the-go options are worth reaching for in times of need, and which ones are best to avoid.
My due-diligence knows no bounds when it comes to what we ingest and put on our bodies, so I have done the hard work for you! This curated list is based upon my own non-negotiables when looking for a high protein, good quality snack.
- Wholefood ingredients
- Low sugar
- 10 grams or more of high-quality protein per bar
- Sources of healthy fats
- 3 – 5g fibre per serve
- Good quality naturally derived sweeteners
- No non-food or synthetic items in the ingredient list – including numbers, colours, ‘natural’ flavours, preservatives, refined sugars, isolates, thickeners, etc
- No protein powdery taste!
You may have noticed that I have not included calories/kilojoule amounts in my list, as I do not encourage simplifying food to its thermodynamic impact. Human energy intake, appetites, and needs range drastically from person to person, for the same person on different days, and throughout our different life stages. With that in mind, protein bars can be very satisfying and dense, and you may wish to consume half a bar and save the rest for later. Sometimes I do this myself, sometimes I don’t, you know your body best!
My Top Choices Are:
Chief bars contain 15g protein and 2.2g sugar per bar. Grass-fed collagen is the protein source, and their flavour options are delicious (I haven’t tried lemon tart, however – let me know if you have). No dried fruit included, instead, nuts are used to bind them together. Monk fruit and a small amount of maple syrup are the sweeteners and they are paleo-friendly. The texture crumbles quite a bit and they tend to break – heads up!
With only 6 – 7 ingredients, these bars are a standout. They are paleo-friendly, and also use collagen as well as egg whites as the protein source. Each bar contains around 25g protein (the highest of them all) and 9.4 grams of sugar, coming from maple syrup and dates. The texture is different to most date-filled bars, they’re harder and chewier. Cookie dough is the best flavour in my opinion!
From the beautiful and sustainable packaging to the quality of (mostly organic) ingredients used, I am a big fan of this brand. Protein sits at 12.8g per bar, with sugar extremely low at 1.4g. These are vegan-friendly, using sprouted rice protein and stevia to sweeten. My only complaint here is that they are difficult to find!
I actually have not tried these bars, but I am told they are incredible. I had to include them due to the quality of the ingredients and nutrient density! 12g protein, 5g fibre, 2g sugars. Very impressive! Bulletproof if you’re reading this, I am open to samples :)
The next are choices are those that don’t fit all of the above criteria, but are still good choices if none of the above are available to you:
- RX Bars
Those to Avoid:
Any bar that contains the words shred, burn, thin, or bulk in them! Seriously though, there are many popular brands that I would not recommend consuming, due to the lengthy ingredient list and presence of many non-food additions. Clif Bars and Atkins bars are two that come to mind.
Lastly, we have all consumed food that perhaps do not serve us nutritionally, but may have served us in other ways at that point in time, such as socially. If you do eat something that was not ideal or did not make you feel good, no worries! It’s a good way to learn that you tried a packet of snakes and next time you’ll make a different choice (like a delicious protein bar from this list)! No level of food guilt is going to serve you, take a few deep breaths, allow your body to digest and process said snakes, and move onwards and upwards!
I work one-on-one with clients that have diverse ranges of health goals and nutritional needs. Food education, healthy swap options, and nutritional panel and ingredient list deciphering are some of my favourite ways to empower clients to make the smartest choices they can for themselves. If this sounds appealing to you, please get in touch or book an appointment with one of our practitioners.
Have any protein bar related question or suggestions? Let us know in the comment section below!
Jaclyn Cave, BHSc Nat, BComm Soc
Jaclyn is a qualified naturopath with a focus on anxiety, hormones, acne and stress.
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To learn more about healthy snacking tips or for speaking enquires on this topic get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org