From weight loss to meal replacer, breakfast bars to pre- workout energy refill, energy bar has proved their prowess. Filled with natural energy, healthful ingredients and bountiful nutrients, energy bars are a perfect snack when hit with hunger pangs or feeling low on energy.
However as a consumer you need to know that not all bars marketed as ‘energy bar’ or ‘nutrition bar ‘are healthy. Many brands available in the market disguise your regular sugar filled candy bar as energy bar. This can interfere with your diet and disrupt your health goals.
In this blog we will see what qualities in an energy bar make it a healthiest energy bar for you to enjoy hassle-free. As a consumer you should carefully study the food labels and nutrition labels. When you screen your energy bars look for the following five things –
- The PROTEIN
Protein plays a very important role in your body. Proteins are required for maintenance and repair, body building, to boost immunity and metabolism. If you are on a weight loss regime then, you need the proteins to curb cravings and promote satiety.
Energy bar you choose should contain adequate amount and good quality proteins. Healthiest energy bars are one which contain proteins up to 5gms or more. Whey and casein based proteins are better compared to soy proteins.
- THE SUGAR
Whether you want to lose weight or power- up your workout, whatever be your reasons, sugar content of your bar should be critically evaluated. To put it simply sugar should be strictly kept low or totally avoided.
The energy bar that you choose should contain less than 8 gm of added sugar. Even if you are involved in sports or activities like cycling or running, keeping sugar especially the added sugar minimum is advised. Using natural sources of energy like dates, raisins, honey or fruits in you bar is a healthy way to energize yourself.
- THE CARBOHYDRATE
Carbohydrates in your energy bar should be complex and add the fiber that you need. Energy bar with a less than 20gms of total carbohydrates and a 3-5gms of fiber can be safely considered healthiest energy bar.
- THE TOTAL CALORIE
Calories are important and the calories you need in your bar depends upon the purpose your bar will fulfill and your health goals. A meal replacer bar or a pre-workout bar can be higher in calories, just like a bar you pack in your backpack while you go running, cycling or trekking can be high in calories but make sure this calorie comes from healthy ingredients and not from sugar. However, if you are going for an energy bar for light snacking or as a weight loss aid, then going for a low-calorie energy bar is wise. Ideally, energy bar providing calories between 200-300kcal is safe to go for.
- THE HEALTHY FATS
Talking about fat, look for MUFA and omega 3. They are heart healthy and come with host of health benefits. Strictly keep -off Trans fat off-limits and saturated fat as minimum as possible. Nutrition bar you select should contain saturated fat less than 3 grams.
As consumers carefully read nutrition labels and go through the ingredient list so that when you buy any energy bar you get what you need and not duped by extravagant advertisements and hype.