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Dietitian Recommended Protein Bars

Who else feels overwhelmed when trying to find a protein bar? It's almost as hard as trying to find the best cereal or yogurt. There are SO many to choose from. How do you know which one to choose? What ingredients should you look out for/stay away from?

Bars certainly come in handy for athletes as a convenient snack between meals, when you're on the go and/or pre- and post-workout fuel, but should not replace a meal. A lot of bars are calorically dense, which makes them helpful for athletes who are looking to put on weight.

Many protein bars on the market these days are advertised as "healthy" but are they actually? In this blog, you'll learn how to choose appropriate protein bars and a few that I recommend.

What to look for when choosing a protein bar:

There are a couple things to look for when choosing a protein bar.

1. At least 10g of protein

While you're shopping, look at the nutrition facts table on the back of the protein bar. This is where you will find nutrition information for macronutrients (protein, carbs and fat) and some micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). Everyone has different needs for each macronutrient depending on their lifestyle, goals, physical activity...etc., but when choosing a protein bar we want to ensure it has at least 10g of protein. If you are choosing a protein bar for a pre- or post-workout snack, then I also recommend making sure it has at least 20g of carbohydrates.

2. Simple, whole food ingredients

Next we want to find out where those macronutrients are coming from. For example, are we getting sugar from whole foods like dates or from refined sugar or corn syrup? Ingredients lists are listed in order by weight not by volume. For example, 1/2 cup of honey weighs more than 1/2 cup of oats so even if there are more oats added than honey in a product, if the amount of honey weighs more than the amount of oats than the honey it will be listed first.

Okay, so what do I mean by "simple, whole food ingredients"? Here are some examples:

Protein: Pea protein, brown rice protein, eggs/egg whites, lean animal protein sources, whey protein isolate

Carbohydrates: Whole grain sources like oats, brown rice, as well as dates and unsweetened dried fruits

Healthy fats: Nuts, seeds, and nut butters

What to avoid when choosing a protein bar:

You'll want to stay away from bars that have sugar alcohols (maltitol, erythritol, xylitol), synthetic fibres (inulin, xanthan gum) and artificial sweeteners (sucralose, aspartame). These ingredients can cause GI issues (bloating, gas and diarrhea) - symptoms you definitely don't want before training. Tolerance level to sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners vary athlete to athlete.

7 Protein Bars I recommend:

  • RX Bar

  • GoMacro Macro Bar

  • Perfect Bar

  • Kosuma Energy Bar

  • Papa Steve's No Junk Raw Protein Bar

  • Hornby Bar

  • Rise the Simplest Protein Bar

Please like, comment and/or share if you think someone would benefit from reading this. 💚


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