Choosing a Clean Protein Bar
Hunger happens. We know that a whole foods diet is best, but sometimes hunger strikes and we need a solution on-the-go. Whether it’s a snack to hold you over between meals or a quick meal replacement you can fit between appointments, the occasional protein bar does fit within a balanced diet. The trick is to select a bar that fits your needs (snack or meal), contains both protein and healthy fats to fill you up, and doesn’t have artificial fillers. The goal is to pick a bar that fits these components and is made from whole food ingredients that your body can easily convert to sustained energy.
- Look for a bar with 10g of sugar or less with no artificial sweeteners
- A higher protein content (> 12g) is best for meal-replacement
- Check the fat content. The higher, the better, for meal replacement
- Look for whole foods ingredients you recognize.
Below are both vegan and non-vegan protein bars that fit the above criteria. I enjoy many of these products myself, though I haven’t tried all of these brands. There are a ton of varieties out there and of course I can’t eat them all! Use the tips above to try new bars and let me know if you find something tasty that isn’t on my list.
Health Warrior Chia Bars (pea/ chia)
Go Macro Bars (rice, pea)
22 Days Nutrition Bars (rice, hemp)
Aloha Protein Bars (pumpkin, pea)
YouBar Vegan Bars (pea, cashew)
Evo Hemp Bars (hemp, nuts)
Non-Vegan Protein Bar Options
Paleo Protein Bars (egg whites)
Exo Protein Bars (cricket flour)
Rx Bars (egg whites)
Epic Bars (various meats) *can be high in sodium
Meat-based protein bars, like Epic, are increasing in popularity at the moment. Here is a great run-down of some different meat-based options that certainly fit into a whole foods diet. While these bars do not contain much sugar, you do have to look closely at sodium content since salt is often used in preserving meat. Like any protein bar, enjoy these in moderation unless you are limiting sodium due to high blood pressure. If you’re curious about meat-based protein bars, check out this fun article that highlights the varying flavors and textures of these products.
Make Your Own!
A cheaper alternative to these products is to make your own protein bar. Sometimes I do this for my son, who is reaching the age of pre-teen perpetual hunger yet has food allergies to things like nuts, coconut, soy, egg and pea. The great thing about creating your own bars is that you can really mix up the ingredients to make something unique to your tastes. If you set aside just a little time over the weekend, you will have bars to enjoy all week long – or, you can freeze them and pull them out as needed. Below is a delicious recipe from guest-blogger Danielle Krueger on Wendy Polisi’s healthy living site. PS – You might really enjoy spending time there, as there are some delicious things going down!