One of the topics about which I get asked all the time are bars — not where to have a drink with friends — but snack, protein, and nutrition bars. Walk into any health food, grocery, or even drugstore, and you see aisles filled with them. But how do you know which ones are actually good for you, which are filled with additives, or which are candy bars in healthy packaging?
I am a snacker. I prefer to eat smaller meals throughout the day as opposed to bigger breakfasts and lunches. A nutrition bar is usually one of those smaller meals, and I’ve found different options I like depending on the time of day, my activity level, and nutritional goals. For a meal replacement, I like a Quest bar. It’s got 20 grams of whey protein, 10 grams of fat, and 13 grams of fiber, so it’s very filling and low in net carbs. If I do want more carbs than protein, I go for a GoMacro bar, which is plant-based too. You don’t have to look very far for either of these options, which makes them very convenient on-the-go.
Nutrition bars are also a topic which our resident expert, holistic nutritionist and wellness coach Sarah Wragge, gets asked about too. Prefacing her list of favorites with the statement, “Snacking is not my preferred choice of nutrition – it’s about eating meals that are balanced in protein, fat, and fiber, so you’re not hungry every couple hours” — did acquiesce that a nutrition bar can be a good option in a pinch. She looks for one that’s organic, plant-based, and additive-free.
Below is a combined list of our favorite nutrition bars!
Bulletproof Collagen Protein Bar
This is Sarah’s first choice. “It doesn’t have a lot of ingredients, and is as close to real food as I’ve found in a bar.” Gluten-free, dairy-free, and non-GMO, Bulletproof bars have about 12 grams of collagen protein sourced grass-fed cows — which also supports skin, bone and joint health. With just 2-4 grams of sugar per bar, and none of it added, they also have about 14 grams of healthy fats from nuts and coconut oil. Available in an assortment of delicious flavors, Bulletproof bars are designed for on-the-go nutritional support for the keto lifestyle. Shop Bulletproof
As mentioned in the intro, Quest bars are this editor’s go-to for a high-protein, low-carb bar — but they’re made with whey protein, which if you’re vegan or avoiding dairy takes that one off the table. Sarah agrees that a Quest bar is a better option as a meal replacement than snack bar because it is so filling, but she says, “There is nothing clean about those bars. They have added fillers and thickening agents, and the whey is not organic or from grass-fed cows.” Regardless, Quest bars come in a ton of flavors, are readily available, and very popular with people on low-carb diets. Shop Quest
R.E.D.D. is a new plant-based protein bar I was sent a few weeks ago to sample — and I have to say they’re delicious! Gluten, Soy, Dairy, and GMO-free – they have 10 grams of pea, hemp, and pumpkin seed protein. Low in sugar with just 3-5 grams per bar, they are also loaded 1 billion CFU Probiotics! Superfood ingredients include chia seeds, quinoa, maca root, and a powerful Adaptogenic mushroom blend of Cordyceps, Reishi, and Chaga powder. Shop R.E.D.D.
Kalumi Collagen Protein Bar
Another Sarah go-to are all natural and organic Kalumi Bars that are beauty supplements too! Non-GMO, gluten, soy, and dairy-free, they have 15 grams of protein sourced from marine collagen — i.e. from fish instead of cows — for glowing skin and strong bones. Low in sugar, Kalumi bars are naturally sweetened with yacon syrup and sweet potatoes, with added antioxidant-rich ingredients to promote the optimal absorption and retention of collagen. This unique formulation works in tandem to support healthy hair, skin, and nails — and they taste great! Shop Kalumi
This is one both Sarah and I get asked about a lot. I happen to love them because they’re delicious and made with just a few all-natural ingredients like dates, egg whites, nuts, and coconut, but they are high in sugar — about 13 grams per bar. RXBARs are a better pre-training option. Sarah points out that they are not organic either. Shop RXBAR
If you are going for a higher carb option, Sarah prefers the GoMacro over a RXBAR. It’s got 34 grams of carbohydrate and 11 grams of sugar, but is made with organic, plant-based ingredients like brown rice syrup, sunflower seed butter, and pumpkin seeds – along with an organic 12 gram protein blend of sprouted brown rice and pea. GoMacro bars are delicious, available in a wide assortment of flavors, and readily available at most stores now. Shop GoMacro
RawMantic Fitness Bar
RawMantic bars have started popping up in a few places and there is even a RawMantic chocolate store in Manhattan at 1053 1st Ave. With lots of great flavors like Vegan Carob, Matcha, and Coconut, one of my new favorites is their sugar-free Fitness Bar. Nutrient-dense with seeds and nuts, they are organic and non-GMO, and made with smooth chocolate protein powder blend of pea, brown rice, quinoa, chia seeds, and amaranth. With 7 grams of protein, 10 grams of fiber, and 8 grams of healthy fats, RawMantic bars are a delicious gluten-free, pre- or post-workout snack, that will keep you satiated for hours! Shop RawMantic
Health Warrior Chia Bars
With just 100 calories and 3 grams of sugar, both Sarah and I agree the Health Warrior Chia Bars are a great little pre-workout or tide-me-over snack. Chia seeds are their main ingredient — a superfood rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Extremely absorbent, chia seeds provide sustained energy and help prevent dehydration. Other plant-based, gluten-free, and non-GMO ingredients include brown rice syrup, cashew butter, and unsweetened coconut — making these Health Warrior bars a great perfect match for your active lifestyle. Shop Health Warrior