The energy bar is small, pocket-sized, portable meals are indeed a convenience when it comes to healthy eating. There are many different kinds of the bar out there in the market -High fiber, low-carb, high protein, low-fat, low sugar, fortified etc. all these varieties leave ones all baffled and selecting a right bar a tricky business.
Not all bars are same; they differ in their ingredients, nutrient composition, taste, texture etc. choosing right energy bars is dependent on your fitness goals. For example- energy bar for weight loss should be low in carbohydrates and calories whereas energy bar for a cyclist should provide a slow release of energy to support the strenuous exercise.
Meeting your health goals while you are on the run from sun up to sun down can be a difficult task. The energy bar is just the solution to overcome this problem, however choosing a right bar from the variety of brands amongst the hype and advertisements needs discretion and proper understanding.
A thorough scrutiny of the bar is a must to ensure that the bar is actually healthy and just some candy bar masked as nutrition or energy bar. Reading the nutritional label and ingredient list on the cover or pack helps you verify the health claims made by an energy bar.
How do you know which is the best nutrition energy bar for you? Below are few guidelines which will help you understand the features you need to look out for when buying a healthy nutrition bar.
The types of ingredients used in the bar reflect the quality of the energy bar. The assorted of ingredients in the bar should be wholesome and natural. They should be easily recognized and not something unheard of. Go for a bar made from real food like nuts, seeds, whole grains, fruits etc.
Snub The Sweeteners
Taste is as important a factor in the energy bar as is the nutrient composition. However, use of artificial sweeteners to add sweetness does more harm than good.
Sugar alcohols like – xylitol, mannitol or any other compound ending with ‘ol’ are hard to digest and cause bloating whereas sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose increase cravings, mess with body’s sugar levels and lead your metabolism astray.
Nutrition bar which uses real food like dried apricots, dates, Cranberries, raisins etc to add sweetness is definitely worth a grab!
Curb The Calories
The energy bar is a smart choice as a healthy snack but if they are loaded with calories it becomes nothing more than a desert in disguise. The calories content of a good bar should not be more than 350 kcal and specifically selected nutrition bar for weight loss should provide less than 200kcals.
Careful With The Carbs
Energy bar for a sportsman, a cyclist or as a pre-workout snack should ascertain that a steady supply of energy is maintained and optimum carbohydrates are delivered. Along with carbohydrates, it should also contain fiber (up to 2gms) and B-complex vitamins for optimal function.
Energy bar can be a great tool to help you lose weight and eat healthy while on the run. Energy bars for weight loss should essentially be low in carbohydrates (not more than 30gms of carbohydrates).
Pine For The Proteins
Proteins help build muscles, balance calories from carbohydrates and promote satiety.
Post workout, pre-workout, weight loss or weight gain- whatever be the goal your energy bar should be packed with a desired quantity of protein.
An energy bar with a protein content of 6 gm is a good bargain. The protein in the nutrition bar should be a good quality protein – whey, soy or milk.
Fix The Fat
One thing to remember – not all fat is bad. You need some fat in your diet and in your bar especially the heart healthy omega 3 and omega 6. You, however, need to watch out for saturated fat and Trans fat. Saturated fat adds the unwanted calories and should be less than 3gm. You better put down any nutrition bar which has hydrogenated fat listed as its ingredient. Hydrogenated fat is the unhealthy processed Trans fat which is always best avoided.
Energy bars are indeed a healthy alternative however one must remember it should not replace food. Picking the healthiest energy bar is crucial and makes a whole lot of difference in achieving your health goals.
About The Author:
Prafull Sn is an enthusiastic traveler and food lover. Working in Wholesome Habits as a dietitian. Want to be thinktank on various topics related to diet and healthy eating.