Q&A: Protein Bars

There are so many protein/meal replacement bars available. What should I look for, besides palatability, when choosing a “heathy” protein bar – especially if one is trying to limit intake of carbohydrates?

Virginia (MA)

Hi Virginia, great question!  In recent years all different types of bars have become more popular, from some alleging to help with weight control to others claiming to fulfill your daily vitamin and mineral requirements.  No matter which brand of bar you choose, always remember that it will never replace the benefits of having a well-balanced meal.  That being said, when faced with the possibility of skipping a meal, having a bar on hand is a helpful alternative.  Now, for the chore of finding a bar that is tasty and also meets your needs.  Looking for a bar between 20-25 grams protein is essential since we want the bar to mimic similar intake you would want if you were able to consume a meal; this would be the equivalent of approximately 3-4 ounces of a protein serving.  Since the aim is to limit carbs as well, we want to choose a bar without an exorbitant amount, around 20-30 grams of total carbohydrates, (akin to consuming ~ 2 slices of bread), would be best; some people just look at the “sugars,” on the label but it is best to get an overall picture of the the nutrients the bar is providing; bars that have these numbers typically are around 200-300 calories and 7 grams of total fat each.  Some of my personal favorites are Clif Builder’s Bars (the Chocolate Peanut Butter and Vanilla Almond are especially tasty) and Pure Protein Bars (the Chewy Chocolate Chip 20 gram protein bar and Strawberry Shortcake 19 gram protein bar are tops)! 

Miss Chef RD


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