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5 Best Protein Bars + which to avoid!


So we know we’re not meant to chow down on them daily, but protein bars can offer a super convenient options when you’re hungry on-the-go. But let’s be honest, there are a few good reasons they’re not stocked next to the kale and blueberries at your grocery store. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve eaten them all – even the rally crapy ones. When it comes to a choice between them and a bar of Cadbury’s, I totally get it. Read on to make better choices when it comes to your protein hit.

What to look for:

The healthiest bars have a calorie range of 150 to 250 calories — the sweet spot for a snack. The ingredient list includes mostly whole foods like nuts, seeds, whole grains and fruits. The best bars also include at least seven grams of protein (about the same amount in a hard-boiled egg), at least three grams of fibre and less than 10 grams of sugar per serving – from real food, not added sugars like honey or syrup.

5 Best Protein Bars + which to avoid!

Chief Bar

Chief Bar is made from 100% animal-based protein. They’re a delicious alternative to the usual sweet bars with no chemicals, preservatives, gluten, dairy and are low sugar. Using natural 100% grass-fed meat, nuts and a little dried fruit – they’re a great option and suit paleo eaters too!

eatlikeachief.com

Cave Foods

Cave Foods protein bars are designed to fuel your body with high quality, gluten-free, natural ingredients which are ethically sourced and predominantly raw. I had the pleasure of meeting these guys in a shared commercial kitchen, while whipping up my very own @fit_mixes. They’re just bloody lovely guys using honest ingredients, and the Mocha bar rocked my world.

cavefoods.com

Health Food Guys Raw Protein Bar

Another delicious, all-natural option when you’re short on time. Made with brown rice protein rather than the usual whey, it goes easy on digestion. A great one to try if you’re prone to bloating and all that lovely stuff. With 16.1g of protein, it tops the charts for muscle-building power too!

www.healthfoodguys.com.au

Blue Dinosaur Paleo Bars

These bars rank high for the best texture. Crumbly, and kinda melt-in-your-mouth, it’s not dissimilar to an ANZAC biscuit (I know, right?!). They’re made primarily of heart-healthy nuts along other premium, natural ingredients too. They’re vegan, paleo (of course), dairy free and damn tasty. Tip: the Ginger Nut flavour is sweetened only with apricots, and has the lowest sugar content of their range at 9.2g per bar.

www.bluedinosaur.com.au

Aussie Bodies ‘Naked’ 100% Natural Protein Bar

These little bars are great for that 3pm slump. Small enough not to break the calorie bank, but just enough to fill you up until dinner. I’ll be honest, I’m not entirely sure why ‘Rosemary Extract’ is on the ingredients list, but the rest is made up from things in my very own pantry, so it gets a big tick for that.

www.aussiebodies.com.au

What to avoid:

Don’t be fooled by the buzzwords “green,” “superfood” and “energy.” Always check the sugar content. Many are made with cheap, low-quality ingredients and are hiding tons of sugar and additives that can cause digestive distress and prevent absorption of important nutrients.

Sugars are dressed up in a number of ways – so look out for these guys on the ingredients list:

sugar

Here are some of the worst offenders:

ThinkThin High Protein Bar

While this bar does have 20g of protein, it’s paired with canola oil and “natural” flavours. Also, the “caseinate” ingredients can actually suppress mineral absorption. In addition the sugar alcohols (when consuming a lot) will upset digestion, make you gassy, and cause diarrhoea. Yuk.

Clif Bars

I used to have these so regularly before I knew what the ingredients meant! *cringe*. They contain soy which may affect hormone levels, a whopping 23g of sugar (just slightly less than a Snickers) and flavours to make them so darn tasty. Steer clear.

Oh Yeah!

Possibly the worst of all, these fellas contain PARABENS (a preservative found in cosmetics) and artificial colours. They also come with a helping of white sugar and corn syrup, along with those nasty sugar alcohols. When an ingredients list takes 10 minutes to read, and is predominantly un-recognisable, it’s time to say ‘oh no’.

Remember: you can get everything you need from wholesome fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes and grains. Opt for these where possible.

About Sally O'Neil - Editor in Chief

Sal is on a mission to prove that healthy and nutritious doesn’t have to be boring – and that even while staying in shape you can have your cake and eat it too. After losing 14kg from adopting a healthier lifestyle, she shares her journey with others on The Fit Foodie Blog. She also writes for two national health magazines, has launched her own range of healthy Protein Ball Mixes: Fit Mixes, and is the author of Chocolate Everyday.

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4 Responses to “5 Best Protein Bars + which to avoid!”

  1. Michelle

    Hi fit foodie,
    I definitely agree that these yummy protein bars shouldn’t be part of our daily diet but I am definitely one to grab a quest bar or one of the above bars over a choc bar thinking it is a healthier option (or sometimes as a treat!) I just wanted to know what your thoughts are on quest bars in comparison to the bars you reviewed? They are definitely my go to bar! Bad addiction! Or are they down with the oh yea! Bars?

    Thanks heaps!

    Michelle

    • Sally O'Neil - Editor in Chief

      Hey Michelle! Don’t get me wrong, I love a quest bar too. The issue is the ingredients that and artificial sweeteners that cause gastric distress in many. There’s definitely not a top choice on the natural foods list like the others listed here, but if it stops you reaching for a chocolate bar…I say go for it. x

  2. Adam

    Great post – especially love the list of sugars. I feel like people easily forget about sugar and ingredients, as well as being naive about the macronutrient profile of bars that they consider ‘healthy’ or even ‘protein packed!’.

    I’m in the UK so unfortunately find it hard to get my hands on some of these brands but i’ll try and find samples to review as well.

    Also love the ‘what’s hot’ and ‘what’s not’ format!

    • Sally O'Neil - Editor in Chief

      Thanks Adam! You can get your hands on most of them at iHerb.com with value shipping worldwide. There’s lots of other great ones out there too – just be mindful to read that ingredients list! xxx

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