Protein bars are a great alternative to unhealthy snacks. Tasty and filling, they can help ward off cravings and make sticking to your healthy eating plan much easier. However, lots of people are confused about protein bars and don’t know the difference between protein bars and other similar-looking products. I know I was!
So, in this article, I want to provide you with SEVEN useful facts about protein bars so you know exactly what they are and why you should eat them.
1. Protein bars are not candy bars
Although they taste sweet, come in brightly colored packages, and are often found in the candy aisle in the supermarket, protein bars are not candy bars. In fact, while you can eat them in place of candy, really, they are ANTI-CANDY!
Candy bars often contain nothing other than sugar and fat. Protein bars contain very little fat and sugar but do contain healthy carbs, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and of course protein. They might look similar but, nutritionally, they are not the same.
2. Protein bars are not energy bars
Energy bars contain mostly carbohydrates – often in the form of sugar. They give you quick-fix energy but can leave you feeling tired and hungry soon after.
Protein bars contain relatively low amounts of carbs – the nutritional emphasis being on protein. Some are even sugar-free and very low in carbs.
Protein bars don’t give you energy like energy bars are designed to do; they are two very different types of product. Don’t mistake energy bars for protein bars; they look similar but are very different.
3. There are two types of protein bars
There are two main types of protein bar – those designed to be healthy snacks and those designed to be eaten after exercise. While similar, the snack-type protein bars tend to be lower in calories and the after exercise bars tend to contain more carbohydrates and more calories generally.
Always read the labels on your protein bars to make sure you are eating the right one at the right time.
4. Not all protein bars are good
Some protein bars are very high in quality – you can read my top three recommendations here. While these are very good choices, some bars are nowhere near as good.
Some bars contain very little protein, or the protein is low quality. Some contain too much carbohydrate, use sugar or sugar alcohols, or contain too many calories. Some contain soya and trans fats – two unhealthy ingredients best avoided.
A good protein bar is a very healthy, useful snack but a bad protein bar is no better than a candy bar. Make sure you know the difference!
5. You can make your own protein bars
Store-bought protein bars are very convenient and tasty. Just go to the store and buy what you need. However, they can be expensive and some people do not like the taste. In truth, it might take you a while to find a bar that you really like.
I’ve tried lots of different bars and now know that there are only three bars I really enjoy eating.
You can save money and create a bar that you like the taste of by making your own protein bars. Many require no baking and they often work out much cheaper than store-bought bars.
Here are several recipes for making your own homemade protein bars.
6. Protein bars can help you lose weight
The biggest barrier that most people have to losing weight is being unable to stick to their diet. Hunger and cravings often mean they end up eating unhealthy snacks that derail their weight loss efforts.
Protein bars make a great snack when you are dieting because they are:
- Low in calories
- Filling and satisfying
- Much better than candy, cookies, and other snacks
You can also use a protein bar as a meal replacement. (Protein Bar Vs Meal Replacement Shakes, the article here)
Use protein bars to help you stick to your healthy diet plan and you will lose weight faster and easier.
7. Protein bars can help you gain muscle
After exercise, your muscles are crying out for protein, carbohydrates, and calories. Exercise takes these things out of your muscles and the sooner you can put them back in, the sooner they will be able to recover and start to grow and get stronger.
It’s not always convenient to eat a proper meal straight after exercise but you could probably eat a protein bar quickly and easily.
Keep a protein bar in your gym bag and eat it as soon as your workout is finished. Choose a bar that contains both protein and carbohydrate for best results. A good post-workout protein bar should contain between 200-300 calories.
On my top 3 recommended protein bars there’s one bar that’s perfect for after workout, have a look here.
Protein bars are a very useful snack and alternative to eating less healthy foods. Convenient, filling, and nutritious, they mean you never needn’t have to think about eating candy, cookies, or cake again! Enjoy a protein bar anytime you want a snack that will help and not hinder your healthy diet. Store bought or homemade – protein bars are great!