What to look for in a healthy protein bar
Do you want to make healthy food choices, but feel it’s not always realistic due to time constraints?
A common question you may ask yourself is "What can I eat when I'm on the go and don't have time to prepare healthy food?"
When you can't prepare delicious meals with whole foods, you may turn to packaged or boxed foods for quick meals. The problem with these foods is that they often have misleading labeling and the quality of the ingredients is highly variable.
When these moments arise it’s important to remember that food quality still matters even when eating on-the-go.
This article will provide you with some helpful information on sourcing out healthy protein bars.
Protein bars may serve as a dense snack (or meal replacement, if needed) and are convenient to carry around in your purse or gym bag, store at the office or throw into a carry-on/suitcase when you travel.
A high-quality protein bar that contains healthy sources of protein, fat and fiber can leave you feeling satisfied and energetic, so you’re able to make it to your next meal without crashing half way through the day.
BUT before you head out and load up on protein bars, it’s important to know that not all protein bars are created equal and most bars on the market are full of low-quality ingredients and sugars.
Here are the main issues with most protein bars
- High in sugar. Most bars are loaded with sugars, syrups, dried fruit and/or filler carbs which can spike blood sugar levels.
- Gut irritating and low-quality protein sources. Protein bars often contain low-quality whey or plant-based protein which can be difficult to breakdown, in particular if you’re dealing with gut issues already.
- Inflammatory oils and fats. Most bars contain refined vegetable and/or seed oils that are not heat stable and can cause an inflammatory response your body.
Here’s what to look for in a high-quality protein bar
- Gluten & grain free – important for individuals with a sensitive gut, gluten intolerance or an autoimmune condition.
- Dairy/whey free – important for individuals with a sensitive gut, dairy intolerance or an autoimmune condition.
- Soy & GMO free.
- Free of refined vegetable and seed oils – like canola, sunflower, soybean, etc.
- Low sugar – look for natural, low glycemic sweeteners like stevia, coconut palm sugar, sugar alcohols, some dried fruit and/or honey.
- Soluble fiber – helps to support healthy gut bacteria and lowers the glycemic load of the bar.
- Quality protein – grass-fed beef, collagen or bone broth (these are great low-allergen protein sources that are easy to breakdown). Some quality vegan protein sources are organic pea, rice or seed protein. Grass-fed dairy/whey is an option if you don’t have a dairy/whey intolerance or autoimmune condition.
- Quality fats – like cocoa powder or butter, coconut oil, seed or nut butters.
- Mostly organic and/or well sourced ingredients.
Our go-to protein bar for taste, texture and ingredients is Pure PaleoBar.
If you’re searching for a vegan protein bar, check out ChocoMint DF bar.