Sometimes life just calls for a convenience food that can be eaten at the drop of a hat. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a healthy alternative that’s as easy to grab (or easier) than the fast-food or sugary over processed foods? By being prepared for our busy, ever changing schedules we can avoid making poor food choices. If you make the healthy choices as easy or easier than the unhealthy choices, it will lead to an easy behavior change.
Patients ask me all the time about meal replacement bars, trying to figure out a good option for those unpredicted (or predicted) times when you just need something quick and satiating. I have been on the hunt for a descent store bought bar, but it’s darn hard to fill all my requirements! Usually, “nutrition” bars are just falsely advertised candy bars with a bit of protein. Companies do an excellent job making you feel like you are making a healthy choice, when in fact it’s not at all. If it’s covered in chocolate, looks and feels like a candy bar… guess what…. well, you get the point.
Here are the factors that I look for in a bar:
- Protein (at least 10 grams), but not from soy
- Adequate calories so you feel like you have eaten something
- Minimal sugar (even if it’s from dried fruit or honey)
- NO artificial sweeteners, colors, additives, trans fats, crappy oils, etc
- Taste- duh
So here is what I have come up with in the last few years:
- Primal Kitchen Bars:
- Pros: These come in two flavors. The dark chocolate almond is my favorite. Nutritionally speaking, I like these the best.
- Cons: They are pretty sticky on your teeth and get melty at hot temps. The Coconut Cashew is less melty. You can only order them online.
- Rise Protein Bars:
- Pros: Nice texture and easy to eat (not messy at hot or warm temps). Ingredients list is nice and short. Uses Whey protein. Vegan one is also very good. I liked the almond honey and carob flavors. Provides 20g protein (whey based ones).
- Cons: More sugar (from honey) than I would like.
- KIND Strong Bars:
- Pros: Trail mix-like, in a bar form. Some people prefer this texture. Vegan based protein added. Can buy at Target and other popular stores for a descent price. Store well in the heat.
- Cons: Not as much protein as some. They only come in savory flavors (although I like them).
Do you have a bar that your really like, that meets these criteria? I would love to hear about it! Please share in the comments below!