Nutrition Video Series: Energy Bars

With so many types of protein/energy bars on the market, it’s difficult knowing which is a good option. In today’s nutrition video, I’m sharing what to look for when choosing energy bars!

  • You know the saying ‘you can’t judge a book by it’s cover”? Well, you shouldn’t judge a food product by it’s cover either, no matter how many health claims they try to print on there.
    • Example: Quest bars look awesome when you only look at the cover – the front of the package makes it sound like an “all-natural” protein bar. It boasts being so high in protein & fiber, so low in sugar. To make matters worse, their hashtag & slogan is ‘cheatclean’ which really just makes me cringe for so many reasons. The idea of ‘eating clean’ is eating foods rich in fruits, vegetables whole grains (things that this bar contains none of) & minimizing processed foods. The fiber is coming from added soluble corn fiber & the low sugar is due to the sugar alcohols & artificial sweeteners (sucralose/Splenda)
  • Most often people look at the front cover of the bar, followed by the calories & grams of protein, fat, carbs on the back. While this is useful information, it’s so important to look at the ingredient list to see WHERE these calories & grams are coming from.
  • As you learned from my previous video on healthy snacking, a very basic guideline for what your snacks should contain is 200-250 calories, 3g fiber or more, & 5g protein or more. (note: these are a general guideline. For those looking to gain weight, check out the article on my website on weight gain!) See how your favorite bar matches up to these numbers!
  • What are some good ingredients to look for? Whole fruits such as dates, dried unsweetened fruits. Protein sources such as whey protein isolate, pea protein, brown rice protein, egg whites. And healthy fats such as nuts, nut butters, seeds, & any spices such as cocoa powder, cinnamon, ginger.
  • What ingredients should I avoid? Partially hydrogenated oils (this is trans fat), high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners (sucralose/Splenda, aspartame, acesulfame K) and watch intake of both synthetic fibers (inulin, chicory root fiber) & sugar alcohols (erythritol, xylitol) especially around times of exercise as these could lead to GI distress.
  • Energy bars can be a convenient snack between meals or pre/post workout, but they shouldn’t be used to replace an entire meal, and I don’t recommend relying on them for every single snack, multiple times per day. You can get just as many calories, carbs, and protein from a good pre-workout snack such as a banana with peanut butter, or an apple with a few hard-boiled eggs. If you’re looking for more snack ideas, I have a previous video and blog on this topic! 
  • A few brands to check out that I often recommend to clients include Larabar, RXbar, GoMacro, and Health Warrior.

The below video is taken from my instagram, which you can follow here