Is Your Protein or Granola Bar the Best Choice?

larabarWe’re all busy and those protein, cereal and granola bars seem like such a helpful way to have a healthy snack or a quick mini meal on the go. I am asked pretty frequently about what I think of certain brands and I always ask what the ingredients are. Sometimes the person recognizes right away that the ingredients are not the best but when they don’t get it I ask if they ever cook with something like soy protein isolate.

I have never had someone tell me yes. Usually it’s a puzzled look and the admission of not knowing what it even is. If you don’t cook with it or have it in your pantry why would you eat it? I much rather see people eat bars made from real foods.

I’m all for convenience and I do keep a bar in my bag for emergencies.They’re perfect when I don’t have time for a meal and need something to tide me over. I’d rather have a good quality bar in my bag than grab a bag of pretzels or other snack.

How to tell if your bar is a healthy choice or not:

Do you recognize the ingredients? Would you use them if you were cooking?

Is it free from high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oils?

Is it something your great-grandmother would recognize as food?

Is the sugar level reasonable? 4g of sugar equals a teaspoon, 28g of sugar is more than some candy bars.

Is the calorie level reasonable? A 300 calorie bar is a meal replacement, not a snack.

I like bars to have at least 3g of fiber and at least 5g of protein. The combo of protein and fiber helps keep you full for a longer amount of time.

There are some tasty bars that fit into this category. I am partial to Larabar Uber and some of the Kind bars. Read your labels and find flavors that work for you to help you out with the mid-day munchies.

Need help when it comes to choosing which foods you should be eating? Send me an email, janinemchale@empoweredplate.com, to set up a free 30 minute power session.