My Top 5 Picks for Healthy Protein Bars – gluten free, dairy free, grain free, chemical free, guilt free
A question I frequently get from my clients is which protein bars can they have that are healthy and fit into their Lifestyle Plan. I would always prefer that people make their own food and carry it with them but sometimes we just need convenience with our busy, on the go schedules. With so many choices out there it’s important to know what to look for in a bar so that you are not harming your health and weight loss efforts in the process.
There are so many to choose from but honestly very few are going to fit into my guidelines of what I consider to be “real food”. If you follow me on social media then you know that eating chemicals and “fake” foods will not help you to lose weight or meet your nutritional needs. Most of these bars will backfire on your best attempts at weight loss and health so that’s why I’ve searched high and low to bring you only the cleanest, closest to all natural, protein bars available today.
When I was choosing the bars I took a few things into consideration. First, they had to be made from real foods with as few ingredients as possible. If they could be all organic that was a big plus. The ingredients had to be free from genetically modified foods ( GMO’s), soy isolate protein and any artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols. They also had to be grain free, dairy free and gluten free to accomodate a vast majority of my clients that are trying to follow one of these plans.
I also looked at the macronutrient composition of each bar and made sure they had a balance of low glycemic carbohydrate, fiber, fat from healthy sources and at least 10 grams of protein from sources other then whey or soy. All the bars I choose are low in net carbs. I will note that there are some other really healthy bars on the market today that missed the criteria of being low glycemic. It’s so important, especially for my menopausal women or those who are trying to shed pounds, to keep the net carbs low that these bars didn’t make this list. To avoid the bars being too high in sugar, they could use stevia or monk fruit in the ingredient list.
Last, but not least, they had to taste good and get good reviews.
Please note that these bars are perfect for either a snack or part of a meal. If you had to be on the go for a meal it would be easy to add a salad or something small to each of these bars to make a balanced meal. Bars that contain too many calories and serve as a total meal replacement would not be on this list.
Number 1 (my top pick and clients favorite): Julian’s Bakery Paleo/Pegan Bars
This company makes a few bars that I will talk about today. All of their products are acceptable, clean products. My very favorite one is the Paleo Sunbutter Bars . They are made from only 4 ingredients – egg whites (from Cage FREE USA Farms), organic prebiotic fiber (from tapioca), organic sunflower seeds, and monk fruit extract. They have 150 calories and only 5 net carbs. High in fiber yet they don’t make you bloated. These bars taste to me like eating a caramel candy – chewy and sweet! My clients will tell you that these are by far the best tasting ones that Julien’s Bakery makes. All of their bars are good, healthy choices but some of them get lower ratings in flavor or consistency. Another notable flavor would be the Paleo Chocolate Brownie . These are also made from egg whites, are sweetened with monk fruit and contain only 5 net carbs. One more bar to note is from their new line of Pegan Bars. These bars are paleo and vegan, made from seed protein and sweetened with monk fruit. They are perfect for vegetarians. Try the Ginger Snap Pegan Bars if you like spicy – they have a big ginger taste or the Vanilla Cinnamon Swirl Pegan Bar, which is my favorite! A new on that just came out was Paleo Peanut Butter bars.
Number 2: Raw Revolution Bars
This company makes a few choices for protein bars that are acceptable but the Raw Revolution Glo Bars are notable for their content. The protein is vegan and comes from peanuts, pea protein, brown rice protein, and organic raw hemp protein. This bar contains coconut oil, chia seeds, sprouted flax seeds and prebiotic fiber. It’s a raw food bar made from all plant based and organic ingredients. Another great choice for vegans. It does contain peanuts for those that are sensitive. The other bars from this company are good but will be higher then acceptable for net carbs.
Number 3: Strong and KIND Bars
The Strong and KIND and the KIND Nuts and Spices bars are both good options but the Strong and KIND will be a better choice for their cleaner ingredient list. These bars are almost an entire meal at 230 calories and although they have 12 grams of net carbs, they are balanced out nicely by 10 grams of protein and 16 grams of fat. They are soy and whey free with non-GMO ingredients. Try Strong and KIND Hickory Smoked, Strong and KIND Roasted Jalapeno or Strong and KIND Variety Pack. The Kind Nuts and Spices bars are also a good choice for a low glycemic snack or part of a meal but they don’t rate quite as high because they may contain dairy and natural flavoring that is not specified. I like the KIND Bar Nuts and Spices Caramel Almond.
Number 4: Epic Bars
These are a perfect choice for the paleo fan as well as someone who needs to add protein on the go. These are made from humanely-treated, hormone and antibiotic-free meats like bison, turkey, pork, beef, lamb, chicken and bacon. They come in a variety of flavors and resemble eating beef jerky. Epic All Natural Meat Bars are Paleo friendly, gluten free, nitrate free and low in sugar. These bars are perfect as a protein replacement for a meal on the go where you can just add some vegetables or a salad to make a complete meal.
Number 5: The Perfect Bar Mini
These bars pack in kale, spinach, celery, and alfalfa while being gluten free, soy and GMO free. They are tasty too! All organic, real food ingredients make these a perfect snack. I choose the Perfect Mini Bar because it has only 100 calories with 6 g of net carbs and pairs nicely with a few nuts or a hard boiled egg as an easy to grab and go snack. The regular Perfect Bars are quite high in calories and serve more as a complete meal replacement. Net carbs are a bit high so I prefer the mini ones for my clients. Pair this snack with a high protein or high fat food to complete your snack or meal.
Are you looking to transform your health? Mary works with clients all over the country developing personalized nutrition and exercise plans for weight loss and health. If you’re ready to get started on your journey to health and wellness contact her today!