Nutrition bars can be a convenient way to get some healthy nutrition, but not all bars are created equal. Some nutrition bars aren’t much better for you than a candy bar, while others can provide significant nutritional value as well as convenience. The trick to choosing a healthy nutrition bar is knowing which ingredients to look for and which ingredients you should avoid.
Most nutrition bars contain protein, but not all protein sources are created equal. Protein from nuts, seeds, and even sprouted rice or hemp protein are healthy options that are also vegan. Whey protein is another good option if you don’t have a problem with dairy. Many bars contain soy protein isolate. Soy is generally considered healthy, but soy protein isolate is highly processed. It loses many of its health benefits in its processed form, and it also acts as a hormone disruptor in the body.
Choose Whole Food Ingredients
Generally speaking, whole food ingredients are superior to highly processed ones. Choose bars with ingredients that you can pronounce, and avoid high fructose corn syrup. You should also avoid hydrogenated oils like canola and corn. A healthy bar should get most of its sweetness and fat from real ingredients. Sweetness can come from fruit sources, as well as molasses, honey, brown rice syrup, or agave. Fat can come from ingredients like nuts and seeds. If it contains an oil, healthy oils like coconut are preferable.
Gluten has been linked to many different health problems including inflammatory diseases and even auto-immune diseases. Gluten comes from grains that have been genetically modified, and our bodies aren’t designed to digest it. Instead of our body recognizing gluten as nutrition, it sees it as something that doesn’t belong in our body. Gluten is commonly found in wheat and other grains. When choosing a nutrition bar, you should look for one that’s labeled as gluten free.
Consider the Purpose
It’s also important to consider why you are eating a nutrition bar. If it’s a pre-orpost-workout bar, you’ll want one with plenty of protein. If you are trying to lose weight, you’ll want to choose one without a high-calorie content. If you are using it as a meal replacement, you’ll want to be sure that it has plenty of vitamins and enough protein to make you feel full.
Don’t Forget Flavor
It doesn’t matter how healthy something is if you don’t enjoy eating it. If you don’t like the taste, even if you do eat it, you will probably find yourself craving something else. Healthy nutrition bars can and should taste great.
The right nutrition bar can be beneficial for your health and offer you convenience as well. Just remember to read the labels and choose something that you enjoy as well.