I don't usually recommend energy or protein bars; they tend to be full of a lot of additives and high in sugar. Most adults don't need them to meet their energy or protein needs. In fact, they often have 200 calories or more and can lead to weight gain when clients use them as a snack.
When should you eat a protein bar?
Protein bar and energy bars are a little different: like the name says protein bars are higher in protein, while energy bars are higher in sugar or fat to give a boost of calories. For athletes, both bars may have a purpose in their training. For the rest of us who aren't body builders or marathon runners, when should we grab for a bar?
I like to have a few bars on-hand when I'm on vacation, hiking, or a couple protein bars on hand as a back-up if I'm on the go and have no other way to fit a meal in. In the fall, I went to Spain and to save a little cash on meals I brought along a bunch of bars to keep me going while I explored. Here are my reviews of a couple of the bars I tried out!
Bar 1: Fermented Vegan Proteins+ (250 calories, 14g protein)
This bar is advertised as an easier to digest vegan protein bar. I was impressed by its 8g of fibre and the chocolate peanut butter flavour sounded delicious. Boy, was I wrong. I tore into this bar after a day of travel from Canada to Madrid. The bar looked ok, but it smelled weird and had very little flavour followed by a BAD aftertaste. Not to mention the weird, dry texture. It went straight into the garbage.
Bar 2: NuGo Free Gluten Free Bar (170 calories, 9g protein)
This bar wasn't quite as high in calories as some of the others and gave me something to tide myself over between the gap in my meals on the journey home from Madrid. This bar was made of puffed rice and had a great chewy texture, and not too bad of a flavour. However, its one downfall is how sweet it was: I find this is usually the case to cover up the chalky protein flavour. Okay in a pinch, but not one of my favourites.
Bar 3: NuGo Free Dark (200 calories, 10g protein)
The dark chocolate, pretzel flavour caught my eye. I actually grabbed this bar as a meal replacement on a particularly hectic day at work (which I don't usually do!!). It was pretty tasty although pretty sweet and a little chalky tasting. SInce it was so sweet and only 10g of protein per bar, I wouldn't say this is a great meal replacement bar. I wouldn't be against buying it again as a substantial snack or part of a meal.
Bar 4: Clif Builder Bars (270 calories, 20g protein)
These Clif bars are definitely one of the densest of all the bars I tried and along with a fruit could be a meal replacement in a pinch. I bought a bunch of different flavours of these bars and liked all of them except the peanut butter. Although they do contain quite a bit of sugar, they didn't taste overly sweet and had a great chewy texture. My only complaint is that because they are coated in chocolate, these didn't travel too well on the hot streets of Spain.
Bar 5: Vega Sport Bar (260 calories, 27g protein)
Finishing off the taste testing with another dense bar from Vega. Vega has a few different protein and energy bars in their line, but since this was their highest in protein I went for the Sport. This bar had a great texture and pretty good chocolatey flavour, but had a bit more of a chalky flavour compared to the Clif bars. Similar to the Clif, this bar turned to mush during a hike across sand dunes making it a bit of a mess to eat.
Savoured's Final Word
Overall, Clif bar would be my choice. As a snack or part of a meal, I would suggest even trying half of a bar since they are so dense.
xo Eat Well, Move more and Savour Life.