There is an entire aisle in each grocery store designated for these.
Protein bars, snack bars, fruit bars and nut bars. It’s usually the kind of thing we grab on the go when we need a snack, or some quick protein after a workout or event. They are endless in variety, and they are also endless in what kind of ingredients they contain. With the number of brands and options now out there, I wanted to give a quick review on a few of my favorites.
As a Holistic Nutritionist, you better believe I research the ingredients in the foods I eat. So here is a list of recommended bars that I feel contain minimal and quality ingredients but also taste good and serve their purpose. I’m sure there are other bars out there that would be good to list, however these are my top 5 personal favorites.
1.) Larabar –
Fruits & Greens, Nut & Seed, and Organic Superfoods bars:
Simple, pure and minimal ingredients. I really like these bars for a snack, but I stick to the “Superfood” or “Fruits & Greens” versions only. You get more greens in these varieties of the bar, so I would choose one of these two options. They contain minimal and clean ingredients like: Mango’s, Strawberries, Spinach, Kale, Coconut, Chia, Hemp seed, Turmeric, Cacao nibs, Ginger, Beets, Almond and Cashews. No junkie added ingredients and they are also organic, non-gmo, gluten, dairy and soy-free! *Larabars DO contain higher sugar than a lot of bars you will see out there…however, the source is coming from fruits and ingredients that are naturally sweet so it’s not a bad, added-sugar type of a snack bar. So enjoy them guilt-free, but also be mindful to not overindulge on them every single day.
2.) RX bar–
Protein & nut bar:
This bar has quickly become a favorite among many people mainly due to its egg white protein source, and minimal ingredient like: nuts, Dates, Cacao and Blueberries. I really like this bar, however as a little side note, there is a small conflicting message with the their “No B.S.” phrase on the front of their packaging. If you read the ingredients closely on the back, it does show there are “natural flavors” in them. While I still love this bar and do buy and eat them, I also know what “natural flavors” can mean and hence why I bring it up. The FDA can allow up to 100 different ingredients to be included within the term “natural flavors” without having to disclose all of these ingredients in that term. They sometimes will come from natural sources but then are purified and extracted, then added back into the food. It’s the 4th most common ingredient listed on food labels, making it very prevalent. I like to bring this up for knowledge purposes to simply make you aware.
3.) Bearded Brothers–
Paleo energy bars:
These bars a great choice for a pick-me-up or afternoon snack as they are loaded with paleo ingredients like: Dates, Blueberries, Peaches, Raspberries, Mango’s, Almonds, Chia seed, Walnuts, and Maca cocoa. All organic, gluten and soy free as well as having a great low glycemic rating…so it won’t spike your blood sugar! I love these bars for their good balance of protein and fiber too.
4.) Epic bar–
100% grass fed animal based protein bars:
Calling all paleo, protein, and meat-lovers! This is a great protein bar that comes in numerous animal meats like: bison, venison, salmon, turkey, beef, wild boar, chicken and more! Mixed with nuts and dried fruit, this bar makes a power punch for a high protein snack. I like this bar for it’s quality meat standards, including being grass-fed and grain-free, free of soy and dairy, and low in sugar as well!
5.) Primal Kitchen bar-
Grass fed collagen bars:
This bar is packed with great sources of collagen which is great for our gut, skin and it’s elasticity. I love the pureness of the ingredients like: Coconut flour & oil, Pumpkin seeds, Cashews, Cassava root (which contains prebiotic fiber), Honey, Himalayan pink salt (great for aiding the adrenal glands), Almonds and more. It does contain that tricky ingredient of “natural flavors” that we discussed above in the RX bar, so take that into consideration if you want to avoid this ingredient completely. There are many flavors, but the “Coconut Cashew” bar is my personal favorite. It’s packed with 15 grams of protein and is gluten, soy and dairy free, as well as being non-gmo.
If I were to do a 6th option, I would add in the “Oatmega” bar as being one I have always enjoyed.
I love their loaded dose of 250mg of DHA & EPA omega 3’s, as well as their grass fed whey protein coming from cows in NZ. I also love the taste of these bars with low sugar and being Non-gmo. However, as I have learned more and more about ingredients… I do not like the “Vegetable glycerin,” “Sunflower oil” or “Soy lecithin” in them. I think they are far better than a lot of bars out there, but because of those few ingredients listed above…that is why they didn’t make my Top 5 list. I still have a few in my pantry, so I definitely would not go crazy and throw them out if you do have them at home. They are far better than most traditional bars you will see on the shelves.
That’s a wrap on my personal Top 5 picks for protein, nut, fruit and snack bars!