Protein is necessary for good health. It builds and repairs tissues, makes important chemicals, and supports muscles. Eating protein after a workout can help you recover more efficiently and if you’re looking to bulk up your muscles, you’ll need more protein than usual. Protein bars are very convenient, but there are a lot out there that are basically candy bars. How do you choose a good one? And what are the best protein bars?
How to choose the best protein bars
There are three main things you should look for when you’re selecting a protein bar: ingredients, amount of protein, and nutrient ratios. In general, you want a protein bar with ingredients you can recognize. You also want a bar with as few ingredients as possible. There will likely be some terms you don’t know off the top of your head, but you can look online to see why the ingredient is present.
For protein content, the higher the better, but it’s usually tricky to find protein bars with a lot. 10-15 grams is common. This amount of protein is good for a snack, so to get more protein, supplement with a little bag of nuts.
Protein bars should also contain a good amount of fiber. At least 5 grams is a good number. Look at the amount of sugar, as well. You generally want to get a bar with as little sugar as possible or you start getting into “candy bar” territory. If you burned a lot of calories during your workout, it’s okay to eat a higher-sugar bar.
Four popular choices
What are some popular protein bar options out there? Here are four to consider:
Quest Protein bar
Protein: 20 grams
Fiber: 15 grams
Sugar: 1 gram
These bars are high in both protein and fiber, while staying very low on sugar. They come in a wide variety of flavors like cookies ‘n cream, chocolate hazelnut, mint chocolate chunk, and more. While the nutrition ratios are good, there are nutritionists concerned about the processed ingredients, so bear that in mind if you’re looking for something truly natural.
Bulletproof Collagen protein bar
Protein: 12 grams
Sugar: 2 grams
Gluten-free and paleo-friendly, Bulletproof protein bars use grass-fed collagen as the protein source. The rest of the ingredients are recognizable as well, and depending on the flavor, they use organic nuts, MCT oil, sea salt, and more. Flavors include vanilla shortbread, lemon cookie, and fudge brownie.
GoMacro Organic Vegan protein bars
Calories: 230 calories
Protein: 12 grams
Sugar: 12 grams
Soy-free, vegan, organic, and gluten-free, the GoMacro protein bars are a great choice for people with restricted diets and those who care about sustainability. They are a bit higher on the sugar, so they’re good after tough workouts. Flavors include peanut butter chocolate chip, maple sea salt, cashew caramel, and more. Nutritional info varies depending on the flavor, but the fiber in these bars is a bit low.
RXBar Whole Food protein bar
Another protein bar a bit on the higher side when it comes to sugar, what RXBar has going for it is the natural ingredients. There are no artificial colors, fillers, preservatives, or flavors, which is what many people want most in the best protein bars. Most of the bars are also soy-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free. Flavors include gingerbread, chocolate cherry, blueberry, and banana chocolate walnut.
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