Hi you guys! I am SO happy to be up and running in this new space. Pretty much a dream come true. Anywho, I thought I would sort of let you know what I’m thikin for this space.
I hope to provide practical nutrition information. I am not about to yell at you for consuming anything that’s not low in sugar, or grabbing take out in a pinch, or claim that I know everything about nutrition. What I am going to do is talk about easy steps we can take to put a little more health in our life. Maybe a little less processed stuff and maybe suggest some different ways we can improve upon our habits.
Without further ado … LETS TALK BARS.
Bars- the food product that gets SO much marketing hype. There’s bars that apparently are supposed to replace a meal? There’s some that claim 20 grams of protein and no sugar (can we just think of the list of weird ingredients on that one?!)? There’s some that you are supposed to eat while atop a beautiful mountain range looking out on a pristine lake (nature valley I’m lookin at you!!!)…
Bottom line- they are an easy source of nutrition.
My take on bars is that they are not really supposed to be eaten alone to replace really anything. If you are consuming bars rather than meals- we need to change our thinking on that. If you are consuming bars without reading the label- we also need to talk about this. If you are consuming bars that are the latest trend and you don’t really even like them… we need to chat.
I took the bars I found in my house- a normal house. Not a house that solely shops the perimeter of Whole Foods nor a household that claims perfect nutrition. We are a house of normal people who shop a variety of stores and this is what we have. Also ps, yes I do live with my parents while I finish my masters and they don’t typically eat a lot these except the trader joes and nature valley ones- but ANYWHO.
I picked my favorites based off the ingredient list mostly. You want to look for lists that you can read. We don’t need a 30 part ingredient list that fits into a two inch by two inch bar… that just isn’t the greatest choice. We DO need simple things we can read and understand.
What I look for in a bar is
1. Ingredient list- the simpler the better.
2. Added sugar- I try to stay super low on this! But- if the sugar comes from a recognizable source then I’m okay with it. Did you know that the WHO (World Health Organization) is suggesting further lowering our added sugar consumption to 5% of our diet from 10% and that Americans typically eat um WAY more than that! (cite!)
3. Protein to sugar ratio- I find that having a bar that for example has 5 g protein and around 5 g sugar that keeps me satiated longer for one that has far more sugar than protein because our blood sugar will then just spike up without anything to help it level out or keep us full like some fat or protein.
4. Fat- I want some fat people! If the bar doesn’t have fat- I add it myself with a single serving portion of nut butter or a tablespoon slathered on there. Contrary to popular belief- fat DOES NOT make you fat! Good fat is essential to helping us absorb our fat soluble vitamins ADEand K as well as slow our digestion down a bit to keep us fuller for longer.
Here are my top pics:
Top 3 (In terms of ingredient list first and added sugars)
My personal favorite in terms of taste and ingredients- Lara Bars- These bars have a good amount of fat so sometimes a low fat string cheese might go along great to add some calcium and protein to make this a great complete snack! These also make wonderful desserts if you pop them in the freezer- OMG.
220 cals, 11 g fat, 19g sugar (dates and a little bit of chocolate chips), 6 g protein
2nd place: That’s It bars- 2 ingredients on this list- 2! This is a great option to keep in purses- they don’t go bad or melt! Since there’s only fruit in here I like to add nut butter for extra protein and fat.
100 cals, 0 g fat, 24 g natural fruit sugar, 1 g protein (apple pear flavor)
3rd place: Rx bars- these provide a great source of protein as well as fat with NO added sugar. The sugar comes from dates and that makes me happy! Downside: a little pricy- look for a discount code or a sale out there! Also- I am not a huge fan of the texture- not gonna lie- but I am quite impressed with the label
210 cals , 8 g fat, 15 g natural date sugar, and 12 g protein (pumpkin spice flavor)
Next three still in the top ranking but they have a longer ingredient list which is ok because the list is pretty solid but since I went with ingredients first these three naturally came after!
4th Square bars- I love these chopped up in oatmeal- they melt to make it oh so dreamy! These guys have a good amount of protein as well but do contain added sugar but its from a recognizable source and there’s no chalky after taste like in some chocolate protein bars! In terms of taste these are at the top of the list with Lara Bars! Like- I would put these first but I had to establish some form of ranking so then fell lower because of ingredients! If you stalk my IG you will see just how often these guys are chopped up and thrown in my to-go oats!
210 cals, 10 g fat, 11g sugar (added from coconut nectar), 10 g protein
5th- EXO protein bars- these are made with cricket flour- yes you heard me- crickets- the bugs. Crickets are a wonderful source of protein and leave a minimal carbon foot print as a protein source so I really think these are innovative and so fun!
260 cals, 16 g fat, 14g sugar (fruit sugar and honey), 10 g protein (Blueberry vanilla flavor)
6th This Bar Saves Lives- This non GMO and Fair Trade bar just kinda gives me the feels! Every bar bought gives life saving food to kids- I think their mission is kick booty and again you can read all the ingredients! My favorite is the Madagascar vanilla it’s the lowest in sugar! I might suggest a little more protein like string cheese on the side of this guy too.
180 cals, 9 g fat, 6 g sugar (honey), 4g protein (Madagascar vanilla flavor)
Now its time for the eh bars-
I have no order really- I just found these in my house and give them a meh…
Trader Joes Fiberful bars- I rank these the highest on the Meh list because there’s a petty even sugar to protein ratio (about 5 g for each) with a good amount of fiber in these bars buutt there’s quite the ingredient list! I counted over 25 ingredients if you count in the parentheses and to me that’s just too much but if these are your only option (or a bar similar in ingredients to this)- just throw some extra nuts in or throw it in a plain Greek yogurt!
130 cals, 5 g fat, 6 g sugar (cane sugar, brown rice syrup), 6 g protein
I rank TJ’s “Raises The Bar” next down because there is barely any protein just about 3 g (depending on flavor) and double that in sugar. I added some all natural peanut butter to add some satiating fat and more protein to make this a more complete snack!
140 cals, 4 g fat, 6 g sugar (cane sugar, honey, brown rice syrup, maple syrup), 3 g protein
Lastly, in my house I found some Nature Valley which actually do have a short ingredient list but there is nothing to really get excited about. There are 11 g sugar- all added so that’s about 3 teaspoons in your 2 bars and there’s a measly 3g of protein. This guy needs a buddy to accompany him if its going in your lunch box. I would try and find an option with lower sugar if at all possible!
190 cals, 7 g fat, 11g sugar (sugar, honey, brown sugar syrup), 3 g protein (2 bars)
There you have it!
I would have loved to include more bars but these were what was in the house so if I accumulate more look out for a Raising The Bar 2!