Health food bars originally came on the market as a supplement for athletes to remain fueled during competitive events. These pocket-size bars have since made the transition into the rest of society as a means to get a meal on the go, or as a healthy snack alternative. But are health food bars really that healthy? The answer to this question depends on the ingredients used and the way the bars are prepared. There are a wide variety of options available at gyms, health-food stores, and supermarkets, they include options like high-carbohydrate bars, protein bars, energy bars, breakfast bars, and meal-replacement bars. With so many different bars available it can get confusing when it comes down to choosing a nutrition source. One of the first things to explore when choosing a health food bar is what your goal may be. If you’re an athlete looking to gain mass, you’ll want a bar high in proteins. If, however, you’re looking for a light snack to replace unhealthier options then you’ll want to stick with something low in sugar and calories.
Most health food bars are a good option to replace sugary snacks like doughnuts, bagels, or soda. However, some nutrition bars are high in fat and may contain as much sugar as a candy bar. When choosing a bar, look for more natural ingredients and beware of bars labeled as “diet.”
It is also advised not to let health food bars take the place of all of your meals. Foods that are high in nutritional value should be chosen over bars whenever the option is available. With so many different options of health food bars on the market its difficult to make sense of them all. Here are some guidelines you can use when making your choices:
- Look for bars with less than 5 grams of fat
- Make sure fiber content is at least 3 to 5 grams
- For weight loss check the calorie content listed on the label.
- For weight gain or meal replacement choose a bar one that has about 15 or more grams of protein
Some other things to consider when factoring health food bars into your daily regiment is to eat real food (such as a piece of fruit) with the bar whenever you can. This will round out the meal and leave you feeling more satisfied. If you are eating multiple bars per day, make sure you’re not putting more vitamins and minerals into your body than it needs. Some fortified health bars often provide 50% of the recommended daily intake of certain vitamins and minerals. It’s important to recognize these, and other factors, when determining your health bar options.