Let’s face it – eating right all the time can be hard. There are temptations everywhere and sometimes you can’t help but be caught short. Enter the protein bar. The savior of many a fitness fan’s diet!
For those of you that don’t remember, when protein bars first came out many years ago they tasted like chalk with chocolate. But even despite the bad taste it was hard to beat the convenience and the flavor did kind of grow on you after a while. Now the protein bar industry is bigger than ever with some of the bars on the market tasting more like candy bars than health foods!
So for today’s Angry Issue I’m asking you – what are your favorite – and least favorite – protein bars?
Previously here on the site I wrote down a list of my Top 10: Protein Bars including all the big brands like EAS, Met-RX, Detour, etc. But there are so many more options to choose from. Have you tried Oh Yeah bars? Holy moly, these things taste like candy (and have the fat content to back it up!) Yep, if you’re not savvy with reading the labels, you can take in up to 500 calories in less than 30 seconds eating one of these bad boys.
But if you look carefully and read the labels, you can actually get a great tasting bar that won’t add inches to your waist. Although they may slim down your wallet a fair amount – some of these bars are over $4 each! Although I guess when you consider that each bar is supposed to be a meal replacement or snack, that price isn’t too bad. I’ve got to be honest – I use bars as cheat meals many times. I haven’t eaten a Snickers, Twix or anything close to those products in years, so I eat protein bars for dessert. Sometimes I even cut them up and add them to frozen yogurt or top them with peanut butter. Plus if you’re really creative and have some time on your hands, you can actually make your own bars at home with some simple ingredients.
Of course if that’s not your style, here’s what I suggest. I’d definitely look for varieties of protein bars that are 300 calories or less, have at least 20 grams of protein and no more than 5 grams of fat. As for carbs and sugars, it gets a little tricky. You’ll see the term “net carbs” on many bars and what that means is that that particular brand most likely uses glycerol or another carb-like sweetener. While these ingredients are sugars, or sugar alcohols that still carry the same calorie content, they have nearly no impact on blood sugar so they’re subtracted from the sugar content. The same holds true for bars with high fiber contents. Technically fiber is a carbohydrate, but if it’s indigestible then it really doesn’t count. Get it?
I’m still a really big fan of Met-Rx Colossal, Zone, Balance and Cliff Bars. I know that some of you purists will be aghast at the ingredients in some of those picks. I’m with you but remember I’m a realist when it comes to health and fitness. I don’t eat bars every day and when I do I want great taste. So if the bar I choose isn’t organic or all natural then so be it. I mean come on, in the scheme of things if the worst thing in my diet is a protein bar a few days per week I think I’m doing pretty well!
Okay enough talk – time to hear your picks… do you eat protein bars? If so which ones are your favorites? And what varieties have you tried and hated! Comment away…