Protein bars are often sold as healthy snacks, but how healthy can they be? While it’s true that protein bars contain protein, we shouldn’t forget the fact that there are still extra ingredients that may affect their health-inducing effect. There are plenty of protein bars sold in stores with varying calorie counts and ingredients. The key to buying healthier bars is by reading the labels. Put low-calorie and low-sugar varieties on top of your priority list. Protein should be the biggest component in a protein bar considering it’s named after the nutrient.
Things to consider
Here are a few things that shouldn’t be present in large amounts in a protein bar:
- Sugar: sugar is one of companies’ favorite things to produce snacks because it makes their products more appealing to consumers. Who doesn’t love sugar? In fact, many people have serious sugar cravings and companies use it to their advantage to boost sales. The first thing to consider in buying a protein bar is the sugar content. If it’s stated in the label that the sugar is high, don’t buy it. Go for another product.
- Fat: fat is another thing that can increase protein bars’ tastiness. Some protein bars get their fats from nuts and other unhealthy additions. There’s no problem of eating nuts, but they are typically high in calories. Besides, you’re probably on a high-protein diet, so eating too much fat will make it look like a keto diet, instead.
- Calories: at the end of the day, protein bars are still processed products. Unlike whole foods, they have a bunch of additions that drive up the calories. One protein bar may have over 200 calories, already a tenth of the average daily calorie recommendation. For this reason, don’t treat them as actual healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables.
What a healthy protein bar looks like
With all the added sugar and fats, protein bars can still be awesome treats. The rule of thumb is you need to look for healthier choices. The ideal protein bar should have no more than 15 grams of sugar in one serving. The same goes for calories. They shouldn’t exceed 200 kcal in total. Also, pay attention to the healthy nutrients like fiber. A healthy protein bar needs to have this in a proper amount, so that you can feel full longer.
Don’t forget to check on the most important component, which is the protein itself. There should be at least 20g of it in the bar. Is there another way to make these snacks healthier? Of course, you can make them from fresh ingredients. Many people are short on time, so they aren’t bothered about making healthy snacks at home. But whenever you have some spare time, we really suggest you make homemade protein bars out of oats, seeds, butter, and dried fruits.
Making protein bars
Homemade protein bars are supposed to be healthy as the ingredients can be added accordingly to provide maximum health benefits. To make some, you should prepare milk protein powder, brown rice, dried fruits, peanut butter, a sweetener, and extra toppings. Mix all the ingredients into a dough. Put it on a tray, bake for 20 minutes or so, cut it into pieces while hot, and set them aside.