The 10 Best Protein Bars
This wiki has been edited 23 times since it was first published in January of 2017. Getting plenty of protein in your diet can often involve sitting down to a substantial meal, but dishes like those are time-consuming and can weigh you down. Protein bars are a great way to fill up fast while on-the-go without making yourself feel too bloated to complete an intense exercise regimen. On this list, you'll find snacks that are both tasty and nutritious. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best protein bar on Amazon.
Who Should Eat Protein Bars
Anyone who is incredibly busy, for starters, should keep protein bars on hand.
Protein bars aren't just for bodybuilders. They're highly nutritious and convenient — just about anyone can benefit from those features. Many individuals might even discover that protein bars could solve some issues in their life, or just make their days a bit easier. Anyone who is incredibly busy, for starters, should keep protein bars on hand. It can be difficult to ensure you meet your nutritional needs every day when you barely have time to cook a meal. Meanwhile, food from vending machines or drive-throughs may leave your body lacking the nutrients it craves. Having a protein bar can fill the nutritional gaps left by a busy lifestyle and poor quality meals.
If you're a vegetarian — a surprisingly controversial diet — there is a good chance that your diet is lacking in protein. Though there are quality protein sources out there that don't come from animal products, vegetarians often need to eat massive portions of these to get the nutrients they need, and can fall short. There are plenty of protein bars that are entirely plant-based. Keeping these around means you can keep up your meat-less lifestyle and not waver as many vegans and vegetarians do just to meet your protein needs.
Those trying to lose weight can certainly benefit from keeping protein bars on hand, as well. Being low on protein can quickly lead to cravings for sugar and carbohydrates — a dieter's worst enemy. Meanwhile, a diet that is high in protein can often make one feel satisfied on fewer calories. If snacking is the main hindrance to your weight goals, protein bars can help. It's much better to grab one of these than a bag of chips or a muffin when the afternoon snack attack hits. Finally, high-intensity athletes need protein bars because they offer them sustained energy throughout their routines. As you can see, people from all walks of life and with various dietary demands can find protein bars helpful.
Things To Consider When Choosing Your Protein Bar
The type of protein bar you eat will vary, depending on your needs. Luckily, there is truly a bar to suit every lifestyle and diet. If you are trying to cut back on sweets (as many Americans should) or if you're a diabetic who needs to watch your glucose levels, then you should look for a low-sugar option. Remember that the sugar to protein ratio is especially important, since even a bar relatively low in sugar, if also lower on the protein scale, can still cause a blood sugar spike. A low sugar/high protein bar is a safe bet for this group.
If your bar is just meant to replace the dessert portion of your meal and help you reach for fewer cookies, there are options for you, too.
Those looking to add some healthy omega-3 fatty acids to their diet should find a bar that gets its protein from nuts and seeds. Walnuts, chia seeds, and flax seeds are all high in this important nutrient. Those just looking for a snack should find a bar that contains 200 calories or less, so that it doesn't accidentally tip the scales on your calorie consumption for the day.
If you're hoping for your protein bar to serve as a complete meal replacement, then you can get away with one that has higher calories — it's just important that it offers a full nutritional profile including complex carbs, healthy fats, and, of course, protein. If your bar is just meant to replace the dessert portion of your meal and help you reach for fewer cookies, there are options for you, too. Many taste like brownies and other treats, but because they're high in protein, they curb your sugar cravings effectively after just one bar.
Interesting Facts About Protein
Protein is a powerful thing. It can reduce your appetite, help you build muscle, and so much more. It's no wonder people are so curious about it, and so many diets revolve around high levels of the stuff. You know it can be found in meat, and that when you're low on it, you can wind up feeling tired. However, there are some facts about protein that may surprise you. For starters, if you're trying to cut back on red meat, your protein intake doesn't have to take a hit — lean chicken actually has more protein than steak. A four-ounce chicken breast will yield 35 grams of protein, while the same portion of steak only contains 28 grams. Perhaps this fact can encourage Americans to change some of their eating trends, since, at the moment, we tend to eat too many fats (often found in red meat).
It will fall on the higher end for athletes, breastfeeding mothers, and others in need of a nutrient boost.
While an emphasis on protein is usually a good thing, it's important to know exactly how much of the stuff you should be consuming. Typically, of the food on your plate at any given meal, 10 to 35 percent of it should be protein. It will fall on the higher end for athletes, breastfeeding mothers, and others in need of a nutrient boost. With that in mind, your meals should not (as they often do at restaurants) consist of mostly meat or even half meat. In fact, when you consume too much protein, your body winds up storing it as fat, and it can lead to weight gain. However, it should be known that adolescent and elderly women are two groups who tend to be low on protein. If you're part of this demographic, it may be time to up your protein game.
There is some bad news for vegetarians: our bodies do best on animal protein. Because meat contains proteins most like our own, our bodies know how to make the most of it. Vegetarians willing to go pescetarian can rejoice though, because yellowfin tuna is one of the highest sources of protein out there, boasting a generous 40 grams of protein in a little six-ounce can. There's a lot to learn about this important nutrient group, but with the right information, you can create a complete and healthy diet.
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