We get it—sometimes it’s not possible to pull together a nutritious breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. Other times, it’s great to grab a quick something before or after your workout. But if you rely on sugar- and caffeine-laden energy drinks to get you through a busy day or an intense workout, consider something healthier: protein bars or meal replacement bars.
Navigate the bar aisle with ease
How did choosing one little bar turn into such an overwhelming experience? There can literally be an aisle dedicated to protein bars, energy bars, cereal bars, and meal replacements bars in a grocery store, all boasting their health benefits. But not all bars are created equal. Use these tips next time you’re out shopping:
- Consider the purpose of the bar: are you using it instead of skipping a meal, or are you fueling your workout? If the bar is marketed as a meal replacement bar, that’s what it’s meant to be. At about 400 calories each, these are not snacks. If you’re fuelling your workout, opt for a bar with fewer than 200 calories.
- Don’t rely on meal replacement bars often. They’re great for an occasional busy day, but they can’t top a home-cooked meal.
- To be of nutritional benefit, a bar should contain at least 5 g of protein and at least 3 g of fibre.
- Be wary of sugar and saturated fat content. Avoid bars that contain as much saturated fat and sugar as a candy bar, and steer clear of high-fructose corn syrup.
- Do you understand the ingredient list? Look for whole food ingredients you understand, such as dates, nuts and seeds, and oats.
- As always, opt for organic whenever possible!
And be sure to check out our recent article “Meal Replacement Bars” for more tips.
DIY protein bars/balls
Making your own energy-loaded snacks ensures that you have control over the ingredients and nutritional content. Try out these recipes:
- No-bake Power Bars or Balls
- Super Snack Bars
- Orange Coconut Fruit Balls
- Cranberry Bars
- Chocolate Energy Orbs
- Sunflower Seed Balls
What about sports drinks?
The right sports drink can be a healthy addition to a workout. Learn more about the right beverages for before, during, and after your exercise here.