Living Healthy and Happy: Protein and Energy Bars

The protein and energy bar business is booming. Even your common granola bars are jumping on the band wagon by having their own "protein" bars. This is a whole aisle designated for bars. We love them. They are convenient, delicious (who doesn't like a candy bar), and commonly packed full of nutrients. I do have a protein bar on occasion, but there are a few things you should know before replacing real food with these.

1. Not all bars are good for you. Just because it claims protein, energy, vitamins/minerals, doesn't mean it isn't full of unidentifiable ingredients, added sugar/fat and chemicals. A lot and I mean a lot of the bars on the shelves have similar nutrition profiles to many common candy bars.  Look for bars with a minimum ingredient list (less than 5-7, not including added vitamins/minerals).  

2. They are either a snack or a meal replacement. My rule of thumb:

Snack Bar: <200 calories, 8-10 grams of protein, <15 grams of carbohydrates

Meal Replacement: >200 calories, >20 grams protein, 30-45 grams of carbohydrates

Always remember to choose a bar with at least >3 grams of fiber and <10 grams of sugar

3. Protein and Energy Bars are "in case of emergency foods."

Bars are great for when you are on the go or need something quickly. I always think it is a better choice than a candy bar or a bag of chips. You can find them everywhere similar to a bottle of water. Keep one handy in your car or a purse for days when mealtimes are uncertain. But please, do not, make this part of your regular meal planning. You can eat a bar in less than a minute. It will not sustain you long term and it does not replace real food. Nothing does. 

If you have questions and concerns about bars, please feel free to email or call me!  I have tried quite a few of them...

For more information on how to start living YOUR healthy life and discuss an individualized plan for you, call or email me at 515.285.7266 | acundiff@hy-vee.com