Protein bars fall into that tricky category where they can be healthy- if chosen correctly- however, 9 out of 10 times they’re sugar bombs that do exactly the opposite of what they claim to do.
I won’t name names, but not all protein bars are created equal. To help you narrow down and identify what to give the boot, look out for—> long grocery lists of ingredients, sugar (in all of its names and disguises), wheat, refined oils, and fillers. AKA sugar, molasses, corn syrup, brown sugar, flour/ wheat, canola oil, corn starch… you get the picture. Also be cautious of whey protein and whey protein isolates and ensure that the dairy (whey) comes from a high-quality, no-junk source.
But don’t dwell too much on what to avoid— instead, think about all of the yummy ingredients you can enjoy! Raw nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, cacao, cinnamon, dried fruit, oats… so much good stuff!
And, to give you a better idea of what this looks like, below are my top 5 bars:
NUMBER 1 FAVORITE: RxBar:
These are hands down my favorite bars. As in I eat one (almost) everyday and literally crave them. It’s becoming a bit of an obsession, but at least the ingredients are clean and make me feel good! Here’s WHY I love them: they consist of about 4 ingredients in some variation of egg whites, almonds, cashews, peanuts, dates, + no B.S. My favorite part. They also taste amazzzzing and their flavors are on point… I’m partial to chocolate chip, chocolate peanut butter, mixed berry, and now apple cinnamon 🙆🏼. (No- this is not an #AD- although I’m not opposed 😉).
(the rest are not ranked in any order)
NUMBER 2: KIND Bars:
KIND bars make for another great grab-and-go option. There are a ton of flavors, they taste delish (extremely important), and the ingredients consist of things like almonds, honey and dark chocolate. They are gluten-free and many flavors contain just 5 grams of sugar. A definite win in my book. They’re also now super available and convenient. Even 7-Eleven and Walgreens carry them! This allows you to always have a healthy option- even when you’re busy movin’ and shakin’. You can also grab them at Trader Joes’s, many general grocery stores and Costco!
NUMBER 3: Steve’s Paleo Bars:
Just as the name says, these bars are considered paleo, which means they contain NO gluten, wheat, grains, soy, artificial or refined sugar, or dairy– and they’re GMO-free. DAMN, that’s good. And as with our two previous candidates, these bars also come in a variety of flavors and pack a nice protein and healthy fat punch.
NUMBER 4: GoMacro Macrobar
Next on my list, which was one of my first healthy bar options back when I lived in NYC, is another whole food bar that comes in a mix of flavors- GoMacro Macrobar. My favorite, which are also lower in grams of sugar, include Protein Purity (Sunflower butter and Chocolate) and Sweet Rejuvenation (Cashew Butter). They’re organic, vegan, gluten-free, raw, clean, and kosher!
These are sold at many general supermarkets, Amazon and our trusty 7-Eleven and Walgreens. They even make minis, which are 90-110 calories and perfect for a quick snack!
NUMBER 5: Perfect Bar
This is a newer bar for me, and until recently I would have excluded it from the list due to the dairy. However, everything is organic and definitely a cleaner source, so if you can tolerate dairy, you’re good to go. One thing I like about these bars, in addition to the clean ingredients and whole foods (there’s a theme here, in case you couldn’t tell), is that they also incorporate superfoods and greens- and you can’t even taste them! 🙆🏼 Their underlying motto is also right inline with mine: the food we eat effects how we feel and whole foods are the best source of nutrition. Right on.
So those are my top 5 “protein” bars (I really don’t like that word). Give them a try- they’re all very different, so there definitely should be one for you! And once you find your bar, STOCK UP and keep them in your purse/bag, car, office… you get it. This way when hunger strikes, or you need a quick and easy meal or snack, you are fully prepared and can carry on with your busy self.