Have you ever snacked on a protein bar before a workout? While watching tv? Or even to replace a meal? Many call this one of their healthy habits because it keeps them full, with protein and fiber. These “energy” bars are attractive because they’re low in calories, high in nutrients, and best of all, you don’t have to cook it and can eat them anytime, anywhere. But there are a few things these companies don’t advertise on the wrapper.
Protein bars usually contain around 10-20 grams of whey or soy protein, basically 2 or 3 scoops of protein powder. To mask this overwhelming flavor, companies usually add syrups, dried fruits, chocolate, and other high-sugar foods turning your “healthy” snack into a candy bar. It is important to read the full list of ingredients on any product that claims to be good for you. Watch out for hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, and added sugars. Remember, ingredients are listed in descending order of dominance, so the first ingredient is what you’re getting most of!
So yes, while protein bars are a quick and easy way to increase your nutrients, so is food! The protein and fiber found in whole, raw foods just as beneficial.
A complete snack should be under 200 calories and contain healthy protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Here are some easy ideas for snacking on the go or squeezing in before a workout:
Baby carrots and hummus, or peanut butter
Slice of whole wheat toast with avocado and lemon pepper
Cup of Greek yogurt topped with berries of your choice
Canned tuna with whole wheat crackers
One cup of edamame
- Unsalted and unbuttered popcorn