Hey, hi, hello! It's everyone's favorite day of the week - Friday!!! Woooohoooo :) I'm stopping by on this fine Friday morning with a Friday Favorites post. BUT I'm switching it up on you again. Today I'm going to talk about my favorite bars, (no, not like alcoholic, drinking bars) protein bars, that is ;P
Don't be fooled by buzzwords.
When I'm looking for a bar to grab as an on-the-go snack I want one that's high in protein, low in sugar, and has some fiber snuck in there too! So many (too many in my opinion) granola and protein bars are LOADED with sugar and really are not healthy options. The marketing on the packages can fool you so easily with buzzwords like: all natural, organic, high in protein, etc. Although these are definitely words you want to look for, they can also distract you from what else is going on in the bar.
Scan the ingredient list.
You always, always, always (did I say always enough?) want to turn over the package and look at the ingredients. If sugar is the first, second, or even third ingredient it's a big no-go in my book. You can also peak at how many grams of sugar are in the bar itself, but my first step is always to look at the ingredients list. This goes for all other pre-packaged food products too.
How long is the ingredient list?
Another easy step to take is to look at how long the ingredients list is. Is it so long that the ingredient words are too tiny to read? Put it back on the shelf and walk away. A tiny bar should NOT have many ingredients, nor should any pre-packaged food product in my opinion.
Can you pronounce all of the ingredients?
Lastly, can you pronounce the ingredients? If not, back on the shelf it goes. With any food product that you're buying you should be able to pronounce and recognize the ingredients.
Whole foods will always trump bars.
One more thing before I list off my favorite bars... I don't think bars should be a regular/daily snack. I'm a firm believer in eating WHOLE foods which means fruits, veggies, grains, etc. It's always going to be a better option (in my opinion) to eat an apple with peanut butter or carrots and hummus then to grab for a bar. BUT sometimes we don't have those options, which is when a bar like the ones below come in handy!
1. Rx Bars
Oh, Rx Bars, what did I do before I found you? These trusty bars have shown up in my Friday favorite posts before, and for good reason! The ingredients in these bars make them a complete winner and so does their flavor (they're yummy). I mean, you CANNOT beat them. See those ingredients there right on the front of the package? Those are the only ingredients in these babies. No, I'm not lying. Oh, and guess what? Trader Joe's now carries Rx Bars which is awesome because we all know that Trader Joe's is always cheaper than Whole Foods. You can pick these winners up for $1.50 each at your local TJ's!
2. Lara Bars
Remember when I asked what I did before Rx Bars? The answer to that question would be good old Lara Bars. These gems have been around for awhile, and rightfully so. Just like Rx bars, Lara bars have very few ingredients. The pecan pie flavor only has dates, pecans, and almonds. For another example, the apple pie flavor only has dates, almonds, unsweetened apples, walnuts, raisins, and cinnamon. Pretty awesome, right? So, basically I would call these the originals, before the Rx bars came into play. The great thing about Lara bars (besides their amazing flavor) is that they're sold pretty much everywhere! Just this week I saw that boxes of Lara bars (five in each box) were on sale for $5 at Target. Also, just saying, they have a limited edition Pumpkin Pie flavor out right now...
JiMMYBAR! Snack Bars are a new find of mine. I found these babies last week at Target (I go to Target way, way too much). The story of the creation of JiMMYBAR that's on the back of their box really won me over. In short, "JiMMYBAR! was created by a brother and sister that decided to tackle the US food and health epidemic by creating a natural foods company with the mandate that a 6 year old should be able to read the ingredients. Let's be honest, if you have to Google the ingredients in your food, they probably aren't good for you." JiMMYBAR! I TOTALLY AGREE! I mean, they basically just took the words right out of my mouth. Very similar to Lara and Rx bars, JiMMYBARS! have very few ingredients. The Super Hip Chocolate Chip flavor has dates, chocolate chips, crisp brown rice, peanuts, almonds, almond butter, and walnuts. The How 'Bout Dem Apples (hi, Good Will Hunting) flavor has dates, almond butter, apple, crisp brown rice, oats, walnuts, honey, vanilla and cinnamon. Friends, just go to your Target now and buy a box of these babies. Trust me :)
4. Oatmega Bars
I stumbled upon Oatmega bars when I was at Giant picking up some odds and ends for dinner one night. I've only seen these bars at Giant, but I'm sure there at other common grocery stores too! I was immediately attracted to the brownie crisp flavor, yum! These bars check off all of the requirements on my checklist: they're high in protein, low in sugar, and pack in some fiber too! They also have some some omega-3s and antioxidants from decaffeinated green tea. If you're a fan of a bar with more of a crunchy, protein bar texture, you'll love oatmega bars!
5. Gomacro Bars
Last, but certainly not least - gomacro bars. These bars are extremely delicious, which is probably due to their use of chocolate chips :) Some of the gomacro bar flavors can be higher in sugar than other bars I've talked about in this post due to their use of chocolate chips! These plant-based bars are still a good option when looking for a protein-packed snack, and the flavor will definitely appeal to most people. They recently started stocking these at Trader Joe's now too, which again, is always cheaper than Whole Foods. So, if you want to give these bars a try, head on over to your local TJ's to pick up a few!
Again, whole foods, like carrots and hummus, will always be a better choice than a pre-packaged bar, but I think it's a great idea to keep a bar like the ones above handy. I'll keep one in my purse or backpack so that if I'm ever out and get hungry I have one of those to grab instead of choosing something unhealthy!
Alright, friends, it's time for me to sign off! I hope that this blog post will help you navigate the world of granola and protein bars :)
Question of the Day: What's your favorite protein bar?
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