Read on to find out how to choose the best protein bar regarding its key ingredients, and learn how to prepare your own in simple steps.
Choosing the best protein bar might not always be easy, but now you know exactly what a dietitian looks for when choosing them. T
While both types of protein bars are effective as sources of energy, there are other elements than the above-mentioned ingredients to take into account. One of them is the amount of sugar they contain, to which you must pay close attention. Sadly, there are many protein bars with high levels of sugar that are actually sweets disguised as healthy products.
Protein cereal bars are a good option for incorporating protein if you’re training, but they won’t replace a main meal. Remember that a balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, and proteins is the indicated food consumption to lead a healthy life. You won’t gain muscle if you don't train regularly, regardless of the number of protein bars you consume.
Before buying protein bars, read the nutritional information on the packages. Those that are suitable for celiacs may contain smaller amounts of sweeteners and provide you with good amounts of protein. A smart option is to consume vegan protein bars since they don’t have so many processed ingredients.
Check the labels in order to know the exact amount of each ingredient, and take these tips into consideration:
- A healthy protein bar should have no more than 14 grams of sugar per serving.
- At least 5 grams of fiber will help you digest the bar slowly and will help your body release its energy evenly.
- A healthy protein bar should have approximately 4 grams of fat.
- The maximum number of calories a bar should have is 200.
- If muscle gain is your goal, a bar should have at least 20 grams of protein. Otherwise, 10 grams of protein is enough.
- A protein bar with less than 25 grams of carbs and at least 5 grams of fiber would be a great pick!
- Aim for no more than 6-8 grams of sugar per bar
- Should avoid vegetable oils such as soy, rapeseed, palm, sunflower, linseed and sesame oil. Fats in the form of coconut oil, nuts or nut butter and seeds like chia are significantly healthier.
A Quick Tip on How to Choose a Good Protein Bar
When checking ingredients, subtract total protein and fibre content from carbohydrates. If your result is a number smaller than 10, it is probably a good protein bar. See how to do this test in the picture.
Bake your own protein bar!
If you have some time left, or if you’d like to know exactly what’s in your protein bar, you can prepare these homemade protein bars in simple steps and without using the oven. You’ll save also a lot of money!
You just need 5 natural ingredients:
- whole rolled oats
- peanut butter
- unflavored 100% whey protein powder
- maple syrup or honey
- cow's milk or almond milk
As optional, you can add on top:
- dried blueberries
- chocolate chips
- drizzled chocolate
To start, mix the milk, peanut butter, and maple syrup (or honey) in a recipient over low heat. Stir in just until all the ingredients are well combined and warmed through. Then, remove from the heat. Continue by adding protein powder, oats, and the optional cinnamon or add-ins. Stir to combine well.
Lightly grease an 8×8 pan and place in it your mixed dough. Press it firmly to compress the mixture until you get your desired bar thickness, and then add the toppings of your choice. Allow the bars to cool completely and, once cool, cut into squares. You can leave them in the fridge for a couple of hours until they’re firm enough and then store them in your pantry.