Just walk into a grocery store looking for protein bars and what will you see? An entire football field with protein bars and protein supplements in every flavor concoction you can imagine. Most of them promise 6 or more grams of protein and there are all saying “Buy me!” They range from fruit and grains to chocolate and peanut butter. Can all of these really be that great for you?
Protein Bars vs Snickers
Well, it all depends. Many healthy protein bars proliferate the market today, but then again, there’s Snickers, or it might as well be when you look at how much sugar is inside. And how are you going to know which is good for you and which isn’t?
Protein bars are great! Just stick ‘em in your purse or gym bag and grab one whenever you have the urge. After all, the wrapper claims that it’s really good for you and great for your workouts. But that’s not always true. The truth is, what you are eating might not be any better than that Snickers.
So let’s take a look at a few hints to keep in mind when you’re in the market for healthy protein bars:
Are Protein Bars Healthy?
Make a decision-do you want a snack or a meal? Because these are of candy bar size doesn’t mean they should all be considered snacks. Lots of people don’t even consider the calories, but it could be 400 calories or more. OK, if you’re looking for a meal replacement, go for 300-400 calories. But if you want a snack, you need to stick to bars with about 220 calories. Here’s the bottom line-regardless of how nutritious your protein bars are, if you eat more than you should, you’ll gain weight. Pure and simple. So check those calories before you leave the store.
Sugar in Protein Bars
Watch out for that sugar. Some bars on the market these days have enough sugar to choke a horse. Bars can look perfectly healthy, but look closer and you’ll find 30 grams of sugar. And that’s more than that Snickers bar. If the bar really is healthy, you won’t find anywhere near 30 grams of sugar. And while you’re looking, check out those ingredients. Some really good bars have four or five ingredients, like whey protein, almonds, etc. Awesome! However there’s one bar on the market with 56 ingredients! And you probably can’t pronounce most of them. So regardless of the health claims of any product, if you see too may words that are unfamiliar to you, just gently slide that bar right back where it came from.
Ingredients in Protein Bars
Educate yourself on healthy ingredients. Be on the lookout for lots of soy. You don’t want it. Look for proteins with isoleucine, leucine and valine, which are awesome for growing muscle. The proteins that are best in this category are whey protein, calcium caseinate, P-protein, hemp and brown rice. And if you can’t find the ideal protein bar, just build it the way you like on websites like YouBars.com and just pick the ingredients of your choice.
The End Result: Protein bars can be great for you. Or not! Just watch out for those ingredients and be sure you aren’t overdoing it if you’re looking for a snack bar instead of a meal replacement.