A right balanced nutrition bar can be quite helpful in the time of need. Be it when getting late and having no time to make breakfast or getting hungry during the gym break, a nutrition bar comes in handy. But which nutrition bar to choose from?
Things to Consider for Choosing a Nutrition Bar
Everyone has different priorities when it comes to nutrition bars. Some people prefer taste over everything while some are more conscious about carbs intake, fiber, and so on. While taste and calorie count are both important, one needs to ensure that one is consuming a wholesome diet. Especially, if it is a meal-replacement bar, it has to be inclusive of the essential nutrients.
Here are a few essentials of a healthy nutrition bar:
1. At least 3 Grams of Fiber: A healthy nutrition bar should have at least three grams of fiber. Fiber is a carbohydrate that helps with digestion and prevents constipation. Despite being indigestible, it holds many benefits like ensuring a healthy weight and reducing the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, heart ailment, and some cancer types.
2. At least 5 Grams of Protein: A balanced nutrition bar should contain at least five grams of protein. Protein is critical to the proper functioning of the human body. It enables metabolic reactions to occur, builds and repair tissues, and facilitates various bodily functions. Above all, it increases satiety—more than fat or carbohydrate, which means that it will keep you going for a longer period after eating the bar.
3. Below 35 percent Sugar: Excessive sugar is detrimental to health. It can cause obesity and increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Hence, it is better to get a nutrition bar with less than 35 percent sugar content. Finding that will be a hard struggle, as most of the bars do not meet the criteria. If you are conscious about the calorie count, measuring sugar content is the better way to do that.
4. Fat Content: Fat content is important for a nutrition bar, as it gives a satisfying texture, taste, and promotes satiety. Contrary to popular belief, fat does not lead to weight gain. So, you can have it in adequate amounts. However, try to avoid saturated fat, as it is not good for your health.
Healthiest Nutrition Bars
Here are a few healthy nutrition bars that meet the above requirements. The calorie count should not exceed 137 calories for a cereal bar and 230 calories for a meal-replacement bar.
These bars include fruit and grains. The protein content in some flavors is over five grams and has three (sometimes more) grams of fiber. Saturated fat is only 1.5 grams and even less in some forms. While a few flavors meet the below 35 percent requirement—some having only 26 percent sugar calories—some have 46 percent sugar calories.
Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars
These bars are rich in protein and have two bars in one serving. Their protein content ranges between four and five grams while fiber remains only two grams per serving. These bars are among those with the least amount of sugar calories, i.e., 24 percent.
These bars contain soy protein and are one of the healthiest in terms of sugar and protein content. But their fiber content is below three grams. The majority of the flavors have 10 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, 4.5 grams of fat in which only 3.5 is saturated, and 27 percent of sugar calories in one bar.
As for the taste, these bars cater to almost every kind. One of the most popular flavors is Nutz Over Chocolate because of its taste. The content is among the healthiest too. One bar equates to a one-cup, low-fat sweetened yogurt in terms of the calorie count.
Power Bar Harvest
Having four grams of fiber and seven grams of protein, these bars also qualify among the healthiest nutrition bars. Their sugar content is also low, i.e., 30 percent while fat stands around five grams. They have only 0.5 grams of saturated fat, which is increased to two grams in some flavors. One bar weighs around 65 grams with 240 calories in most of the flavors.