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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

The Confusing World of Nutrition Bars

barsThere are so many nutrition bars out there that I am sure it can be a challenge to pick one that is the best. So how do you know if the bar you are choosing is the healthiest option for you? With anything, when it comes to your food and nutrition, the key is moderation and balance. You should be choosing a bar that you like the taste of and that works for your schedule and habits.

The goal is to try to eat as many whole, fresh foods as possible and decrease the packaged foods with a giant ingredient list of things you might have trouble pronouncing. However, these bars can be a nice backup to keep in your purse, car, gym bag, or desk drawer for those times when you need fuel and don’t have other options. 

Here is a good rule of thumb to follow when it comes to these convenient bars:

Protein: Choose one with at least 5 grams and no more than 15 grams. This will help keep you full, and protein is what makes these bars have more staying power than a regular granola bar or candy bar. Too much protein will make the bar have an unpleasant taste, or more ingredients will be added to cover the added protein taste. Also, this bar is intended to be a snack to hold you over until mealtime and not replace the quality protein you should be getting from meals.

Fiber: Choose one with more than 3 grams. Fiber is another thing that will help to keep you full, so choosing a bar with staying power will help keep you satisfied until your next meal. 

Fat: Choose one with mainly heart-healthy fat. Check the label and make sure the saturated and trans fat content is low and the majority of fat is coming from mono or polyunsaturated fats like you would find in nuts. 

Carbohydrates: Choose one with mostly whole grains and 15 grams or less from sugar. This can be tricky because a lot of bars have added sugar to make them taste better. Try to steer away from the ones that are a fancy candy bar and choose one that is lower in sugar.

Here are a few bars that meet these requirements:

Was your favorite not on the list? Or did it not meet the requirements? Remember, if you are choosing a nutrition bar occasionally, then it can fit into a balanced diet!

If you have nutrition-related questions or simply struggle to incorporate proper dietary habits into your lifestyle, a Personal Nutrition Coaching (PNC) session may be for you!

Find out more about nutritional coaching

This blog was written by Angie Scheetz, RD, Wellness Coordinator. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: nutrition healthy eating snacks protein