If you have the time, it’s always better to eat real food than something out of a package, but unfortunately everyone is busy and we do not always have that luxury. When you are in a pinch, here are my favorite, virtually-unprocessed energy bars.
** Lara bars– There are several flavors and varieties. My favorites are the original Lara bars (mostly dates/nuts) and the Uber Lara bars (sweet& salty fruit and nut combinations). All are very pure, made from a range of dried fruits and nuts. I hope you like dates because that is one of their staple ingredients! There is also ALT, which is more of a protein bar but still made from fruits and nuts. Visit the Lara bar website here.
** KIND bars– Kind bars are similar to Lara bars, but I would describe them as being more nut -based, whereas the Lara bars are more fruit-based. Here is the website for you to check out yourself.
How to choose a healthy packaged snack: Read the label!
- Look for products with as few ingredients as possible
- Avoid high fructose corn syrup and added sugars, which may appear on the ingredient list as: agave nectar, cane sugar/crystals, evaporated cane juice, glucose, fructose, dextrose, maltose, molasses, malt syrup, sucrose, or honey. Many bars may include these ingredients, which is okay in moderation, but consumers are just not aware when reading the label- now you know what you’re getting when you check the ingredient list!
- Aim for at least 3 grams of protein and fiber to help keep you fuller for longer. An exception would be if you are about to workout, in which case you would want to limit protein and fiber because they can be more difficult to digest. Instead, choose energy bars that are more carbohydrate-dense for quick energy. An example of a source of quick energy from carbohydrate would be dried fruit.
- Keep sugar under 18 g- closer to 18g pre-workout, but lower if you are simply grabbing a bar as a snack to get you through the afternoon. Added sugar provides excess calories, without any nutritional benefits, and has been linked to obesity and heart disease. Limit intake, and favor real fruit, both fresh and dried, for something sweet.
- 100-200 calories
- No saturated or trans fats
- Ingredients are listed by weight, so ingredients listed first are present in the highest amount