For grab-and-go energy that can also handle a rough ride in your purse (sorry, banana), nothing beats a snack bar.
But not all bars are created equal. Some seemingly healthy options pack about as much nutritional value as a Snickers—and after eating all that sugar, you’ll feel foggier and more exhausted than you did before you ‘refueled.’ We’d like to avoid that.
According to food and nutrition expert Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, author of Eating in Color, and creator of the FLR VIP program, there are a few things we should keep in mind when eating bars for energy on-the-go.
First and foremost, remember that a bar is not a meal. It shouldn’t have the same nutritional value or caloric content as a meal because we shouldn’t be replacing real food with a packaged product. “A snack bar also doesn’t need to be fortified to the hilt with added vitamins and minerals, because it’s a snack. It’s not lunch,” Largeman-Roth says.
Largeman-Roth also emphasizes that we should be buying bars that aren’t loaded up with added sugars. Look for no more than 6 to 8 grams per bar, and at least 3 grams each of protein and fiber to help you feel full longer.
Here are her picks for the best healthy, delicious (!) bars you can buy.
Health Warrior’s Chia Bar
"When I’m strapped for time and I need some quick energy, one of my go-to picks is Health Warrior’s Chia Bar in Mango," Largeman-Roth says. "The number one ingredient is chia seeds, which are loaded with alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid, as well as fiber. It’s a tasty little bite that’s just 100 calories and helps me get through the day feeling fueled, not weighed down."
KIND Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt
"KIND bars (like this delicious flavor) feature heart-healthy nuts, which makes them a great healthy pick. It does have a chocolate drizzle, but only 5 grams of sugar, so it feels like a treat but won’t take your healthy eating completely off course," Largeman-Roth says.
Rx Bar Coffee Chocolate
"This bar has 210 calories, so when you’re about to get on a flight and know you won’t have a good meal for a few hours, it will keep you satisfied," Largeman-Roth says. "And though it contains 13 grams of sugars, none of it is added sugars—it's all just naturally occurring sugar from the dates the bar contains. I like that the protein is coming from egg whites and nuts."
GoMacro Granola & Coconut
"GoMacro's Granola & Coconut bar is another more filling option, which makes it great for when you’re running to the gym on your lunch hour. It contains 10 grams of sugar, but hits the marks on fiber (3 grams) and protein (6 grams)," Largeman-Roth says.
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