As fitness becomes the buzzword of the day, more and more health-conscious people are beginning to understand the significance of increasing their daily protein intake. But this is easier said than done because few of us have enough time to prepare protein-rich, wholesome snacks and meals to ensure that we get a hefty supply of this key nutrient. However, this does not imply that getting enough of it is impossible, because there are plenty of supplements that you can rely on to fill your dietary gaps. Protein bars make an amazingly healthy, grab-and-go supplementation option for those who want to be in top shape despite all challenges.
These delicious bars serve as an anytime snack, one that boosts your energy without the need to worry about weight gain. You can even bite on one as a complete meal replacement. Whether you are a fitness buff or a weight watcher, you must carry a bar or two all the time. Considering the variety in protein bars available in the market, you would definitely want to know which option best suits your needs. Let us share a few useful tips to help you choose a super-healthy protein bar the next time you step out to shop.
Check the protein content
If you are out to buy a protein bar, you would obviously want it to have enough protein. At least one serving of 15 g is considered as an optimal content. If you are an athlete or weight trainer, you may want the content to be even higher. Also, read the label to ensure that the protein content exceeds the carbohydrate content because you would want it to give you enough energy and keep you full between meals. Be selective enough to pick a bar that is enriched with a high-quality protein source such as whey isolates and hydrolyzed whey.
Skimp on added sugar
Added sugar is something that you need to absolutely avoid, whether you are on a diet or a fitness training mode. In contrast to natural sugar that is found in natural ingredients such as dates, added sugar comes from sources such as sucrose and corn syrup. Take a quick glance at the bar’s ingredients list to check whether it has added sugar and avoid buying one that does. Avoid ones that have artificial sweeteners as well because even if these add to the sweetness, their health value is not great.
Measure up against specific requirements
If you have specific dietary requirements, measure up the options against them and only then buy the one that is the right match. For example, you may want to pick gluten free protein bars if you are following a gluten-free diet plan or are medically intolerant to this particular ingredient. Similarly, you may want ones that are soy-free or low-sugar for the same reasons. Go through the ingredients carefully and make sure that you know them all so that you can pick the variant that is as good as one tailored to your specific needs.
Look for minimal unhealthy fats
A protein bar is essentially a health food, which means that it should be low on unhealthy fats. Here, you need to understand that saturated fats are the ones to avoid as they raise cholesterol levels and contribute to the risk of weight gain. Healthy fats such, as ones from nuts and seeds, on the other hand, are desirable. So you need to be able to make a distinction between the two and choose wisely.
Go high on dietary fiber
Another parameter that affects the choice of a protein bar is the content of dietary fiber. Since these bars are supposed to act as filler between meals or even a meal replacement, having enough of dietary fiber is essential to keep you full. Moreover, this is a super-healthy ingredient that lowers cholesterol, regulates bowel movements, improves digestion and aids weight management. Dietary fiber, therefore, is an ingredient that you must absolutely check-in a protein bar before you add it to your cart.
Be sure to count the calories
Since fitness probably matters to you, counting the calories that come from a protein bar is something that you must absolutely do. Consider the calorie count vis-à-vis the size of the bar because you would not want a bite-sized treat to add loads to your daily calorie consumption. Rather opt for a bigger one that is low in calories because it will give you the satisfaction of having treated yourself without feeling guilty about putting on weight.
These tips are going to be of great help the next time you are at the supermarket or shop online for your favorite protein bars. Remember that choosing your foods wisely can make all the difference to the success of your fitness regime because even the best health foods will not give optimal benefits if they are not right for your needs.