This is a great question because, to be frank, there are a lot of crappy bars out on the shelves. Many are filled with excess sugars, preservatives, trans-fats, un-natural colors and flavorings.
Of concern for women is that many bars contain soy protein concentrate or isolated soy protein. These processed forms of soy are not good to consume on a regular basis because they may interfere with your normal estrogen levels and may contribute to an increased breast cancer risk.
When I have the time, I like to make my own “energy” or granola bars. I can make a large batch and keep them around for a long time. This ends up being a big cost savings too – specialty bars are expensive!
Having said that, there are plenty of times where I don’t have the time to make my own bars and need to pick them up at the store.
Brands of Bars I Typically Buy and Recommend to Other People:
- Lara Bars
- Kind Bars *note – the Kind Plus Protein bars contain isolated soy protein
- Pure Bars
- Zing Bars *note- I was recently introduced to these bars, and they are fantastic! They are not sold in a lot of main retail venues but if you find em, be sure to give them a try.
How Did These Brands Make the Cut?
- Based on whole food nutrition (do not contain fake or artificial ingredients).
- Contain no isolated soy protein
- Use natural sugar sources such as dates, or smaller amounts of lower glycemic, agave nectar.
- Taste great!
Best Uses for Protein/Energy Bars
- Not enough time for breakfast.
- Healthy snack between meals.
- Instead of dessert.
Right now, I have a batch of homemade raw chocolate, blueberry bars in my freezer. The recipe came out of Brendan Brazier’s book, Thrive. His book has some excellent, highly nutritional recipes for bars!
Question for you: do you eat protein/energy bars a lot? When do you typically eat them and what are your favorite brands? Leave your response in the comments box below.
All my best,
photo by: jenn.b on Flickr