I am a planner, and food is probably the thing I plan the most. Being stuck on an errand that took 4 times longer than expected, road trip detours, or a meeting that was supposed to end by 7pm but isn’t even wrapping up at 8pm, can leave you in a hanger crisis. When you finally get to eat, you grab anything that’s close and scarf it down without enjoyment, and most likely without much nutritional value.
I’m sure you, too, try to avoid this, but it’s those sneak attack hanger strikes that get you. That’s why, if I’m unsure about my timeline or food options – like those parties that don’t mention anything about food but take place at 7pm – I throw a bar(s) into my bag. However, not all bars are created equal. If you aren’t careful, that “healthy” bar can pack you with minimal protein, so many processed ingredients it’s a wonder they fit it on the label, and enough sugar to power a high school football team.
There is a time and a place for different bars; do you need a morning energizer, an afternoon pick-me-up, or a small bite to get your home for dinner? Here are 8 brands of bars that I trust:
Simply Protein makes a variety of bars and snacks, but their protein bars are especially good for staving off a hanger-attack. Great for an in between snack, or pair with a banana or yogurt for a breakfast or lunch replacement.
Kashi could have it’s own store they have such a variety of products, but I’m talking specifically about their granola bars. These come in both crunchy and chewy, and can be eaten as a is, or broken up into yogurt cup for a parfait breakfast on the go!
RXBAR is relatively new (since 2013) and holding it’s own! These bars are hearty and packed with only ingredients you can read. They have no added sugar, dairy, soy, OR gluten!
NuGo‘s standout bar is their Fiber d’Lish brand. They are non-GMO, Kosher, and have 8 flavors that are vegan, keeping your ingredients pronounceable and your hunger at bay!
Sugar: 8-11g (most are 8-9g)
I was skeptical at first when I bought 2 different flavors of Kind Snacks newish line; Strong + Kind, this savory bar was something I usually don’t grab up, but O.M.G. it is a new staple! These bars are perfect for an afternoon salty and savory snack with 230 calories to keep you energized for whatever you have planned after work.
These bars are for when you need more than a little something to hold you over. They are packed with organic ingredients (81-90%)and sugars come from primarily honey and fruit. These are perfect for travel when you don’t know when or where your next meal is coming from!
Lärabar is an old favorite of mine that never gets old, partly because of the wide variety of flavors! The ingredient list on these babies are incredibly refreshing, for example the Cashew Cookie bar contains: cashews and dates. That. Is. It.
Flavors: 22 (3 are seasonal)
Think Thin has you covered for high protein bars and their protein & fiber bars. Personally my favorite is the crunchy peanut butter high protein bar for breakfast (along with an apple or string cheese) when I’ve got appointments all morning. The protein & fiber bars are a great way to fit a little more fiber into your diet, and the calories are a little lower for when you just need a snack.
Protein: 20g in high protein bars, 10g in protein & fiber (5g of fiber)
Sugar: 0g for high protein, 5g for protein & fiber
Calories: 230-250 for high protein, 150 for protein & fiber
While I don’t recommend regularly relying on bars for meals, they certainly have their place in a healthy diet and when chosen wisely can help curb junk food splurges. I stock up at the store when I see a sale, and have a dedicated tupperware that I keep them in for an easy grab-and-go as I head out the door.
Knowing which “healthy” snacks are actually healthy isn’t as easy as it seems. If you would like guidance in choosing better-for-you foods, as well as accountability for incorporating them into your lifestyle, my Health Coaching Program is for you! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s set some goals!