When you’re feeling hungry, nutrition bars are a convenient way meet your needs, but choosing which one is best for you is not easy.
The marketplace is saturated with snack bars, protein bars, energy bars, meal bars, fiber bars, wellness bars, granola bars and cereal bars, not to mention candy bars. So how do you choose?
As any nutritionist will tell you, all these bars are not created equal. Some pack more sugar than a can of soda. Others contain nutritious ingredients to keep your body going through the day.
Read the labels
Holiday Zanetti, a senior research scientist and clinical investigator for Nutrilite™, said it’s important to review the ingredient list.
“Healthier bars are composed of healthier ingredients, meaning the first ingredients on the label are fruit, nuts, seeds, and/or whole grains—not sugar,” she said. “When the first ingredients on the label are whole grains and nuts that means the bar’s protein sources are natural and will help temporarily keep hunger in check.”
Knowing what to look for when you’re selecting them will help you find the one that meets your needs.
Snack bars or wellness bars
Snack bars should be just that, a snack. They shouldn’t be overloaded on calories or sugar and should feature nutrient-rich ingredients like nuts, whole grains and dried fruit. Many offer a good source of protein as well as other nutrients.
Nutrilite™ Wellness Bars, for example, provide 8g of protein. They can be just the thing to satisfy any cravings, carry you over to your next meal and help you avoid a sugary treat with empty calories.
Meal replacement bars
These bars can be eaten in place of a meal—not a snack. If you find yourself eating meal bars between meals, you are essentially eating five to six meals a day.
People with hectic schedules enjoy meal bars for their convenience because they don’t have time for a sit-down meal. Others use them as a tool in a weight loss plan, eating them in place of a traditional breakfast or lunch.
Meal bars help control portion size and therefore calories, which is critical for successful weight loss. They often provide a significant amount of protein and other nutrients, too. BodyKey by Nutrilite™ Meal Bars provide 12-16 grams of protein plus vitamins and minerals.
Like their name implies, these bars are typically higher in protein than other types of bars, but the amount varies depending on the purpose of the bar.
Some protein bars are trying to be a snack, with maybe 7-8 grams of protein. Others are designed for post-workout recovery and have upwards of 20 grams of protein as well as carbohydrates and fat.
With 20 grams of protein, XS™ Sports Protein Bars are targeting the post workout crowd. They include whey protein, which is more quickly digested compared to other protein sources. And the amino acids in the bars help fuel the building and rebuilding of muscles.
Many people are fans of fiber bars as a snack because fiber slows down the digestive process, making people feel fuller longer. And high-fiber diets have been associated with many health benefits.
When looking for fiber bars, seek out ones that use a food source of fiber, like rolled oats, flax seed or chicory root.
Make sure to read the label to see what else might be on the ingredient list—good and bad. Some may include large amounts of sugar, artificial flavors or other additives you might find undesirable.
Energy and sports bars
These are your quick-hit bars. They are designed to deliver an energy boost during a long activity plus sustained energy that allows you to power through to the end. They typically include a combination of protein, carbs and sugar.
Heading out for a long run or a morning hike? These bars are what you want to reach for before you do or during your first break. It’s a fast refuel that provides sustained energy.
XS™ Energy Bars deliver 11-12 grams of protein and 34-40 grams of carbs—a carb-to-protein ratio designed to fuel your workout.
Do you have a favorite bar for snacking, meals or refueling? Leave a comment and let us know!