To grab a snack on the go, to make sure that your energy levels are high between meals, or simply just to give your day a start, breakfast bars can make the difference. These small, little, portable energy boosters can be both made at home or bought at the closest store to ensure your daily fiber and protein intake while containing low levels of calories. However, choosing the right bar which is both healthy, nutritious and even tasty (yes, healthy-tasty is an existing category!), can turn out to be harder than you would’ve thought: there are some cases of high levels of sugar added to these products, where instead of being the remedy for your cravings, their low fiber and protein levels boost your belly’s hunger plea, instead of curing it. Therefore, we decided to put together the ultimate list of healthy bars, which are nutritious and will surely help you get through the day – without making you rush to the closest McDonald’s for that triple-cheeseburger menu.
Types of Bars
To make everything clear, we wanted to emphasize some basic differences between the different kind of bars out there, that might be your next potential energy booster choices. Well, the biggest difference out there is with the Energy Bars vs. Granola/Cereal/Muesli Bars. As manufacturers of Energy Bars always emphasize the high-level energy boost which these products deliver, together with their healthy nutrition composition, let’s see if there is really such a huge difference between the two categories:
Even though, that “energy” word makes most of us believe that once we grab any of those energy bars, we will be feeding on pure energy, like some super health, fitness maniac vampires. Well, sadly, the answer is not that straightforward. Manufacturers claim that these bars are improving your physical, or mental performance, but honestly, these types of products are still based on the same main components: protein, fats,, carbohydrates. The only main distinguishable feature of energy bar is that they contain higher levels of protein (10-20g per product), and in some cases, some added vitamins to strengthen your system further. However, the nutritional composition varies based on the manufacturer.
The main ingredient of Granola bars is granola, which consists of rolled oats, puffed rice, and other grains. Like other types of bars also usually include rolled and toasted oats and rice crisps, the ingredients used in different products usually overlap. However, these kind of barsis less focused on energy intake compared to energy bars, as they usually contain less protein (1g per product). With it is also important to mention that both types will deliver the energy boost that you are looking for, but the effects vary (mostly based on manufacturer).
There is a chance that Energy Bars will deliver a better result, as they usually contain a higher level of protein, and some added vitamins. For other types of bars, this is not the usual case, where the energy boost will be still delivered but might have a smaller effect on your system. However, most importantly, we can state that everything depends on the manufacturer and the product that you pick, as bars differ in nutrition composition. Therefore, before picking that Energy Bar on the closest shelf in the supermarket, first check the levels of sugar and protein to make sure that you are making the right choice.
Raising the Bar
Our research did not stop at analyzing the difference between energy bars and the different types, but we also put together a list of the healthiest choices out there. Hopefully, our list below can help you decide on your next healthy energy booster, to help you get through the day. So, let’s instead of choosing a bar randomly!
Top 5 Store Bought Healthy bars
Think Thin Crunch Fruit & Nut Cranberry Apple & Mixed Nuts Bar
Well either if you want to be the next Pepper Pots from Iron Man, or just make a health choice, Think Thin should be on your list. Gwyneth Paltrow’s diet for Iron Man 2 was stuffed with ThinkThin’s delicious bars, which are not only tasty and gluten-free, but also contain half the sugar and twice the protein than usual fruit/nut bars. Calorie counter: 170 Cal.
KIND Cashew and Ginger Spice
While this bar is sweet and spicy at the same time with some side-taste of ginger, it also contains slightly higher calories – don’ worry, we are still in the healthy zone, but if you are counting your intake, keep an eye on KIND products. The list does not stop here, as KIND’s spicy bar also provides you with high levels of protein (6g) and fiber (5g).
Calorie Counter: 200 Cal.
Luna Bar Chocolate Dipped Coconut
Th classic girl-scout cookie taste comes with high levels of calcium (1000 mg) and extra added D vitamin, while the calorie in it is below 200. Luna Bar can help you get through the day, stop your next craving and keep your energy levels high between those meals. The chocolate drizzle is a bonus that will surely get you into a good mood.
Calorie Counter: 190 Cal.
KIND Dark Chocolate Nuts and Sea Salt
This extremely tasty bar comes with an outstanding blend of almonds, peanuts, walnuts, which are also drizzled with dark chocolate and slightly topped with sea salt. Even reading this sentence makes me want to get to the closest supermarket and buy one! Especially, since this delicacy comes with low calories and high levels of fiber (7g) and protein (6g) – which is the perfect balance for a healthy snack.
Calorie Counter: 200 Cal.
Larabar Renola Cocoa Coconut
If you love the taste of coconut, you won’t be disappointed by this delicious bar, delivering the perfect mixture between cocoa and coconut. There are also a variety of nuts added to the bar, to give it an even more fascinating taste and add that perfect level of crunchiness. All of this comes with a high protein level (5g) and low calories, so you will surely not feel that you’ve just given in to temptation. Calorie Counter: 200 Cal.
Even though our store-bought list came to an end, there are some other super healthy bars out there which can get you the energy and nutrition boost that you are after. Just remember, to always check the nutrition composition of any product that you are going for, where the perfect mixture is: high fiber + higher protein + low level of sugar. This should essential result in your next bar containing lower calories while boosting your energy levels. Don’t be afraid to do some research on your own and try new products. On the other hand, if you want to make sure that your daily snack bars contain the right kind of nutrients, why not heat up that oven and bake it at home?
Home Baked Goodies
You can bake your own granola bars at home, and ensure the right level of sugar and nutrition composition for your home-made bars. It is not rocket science, and you will also get a chance to be more adventurous with those bars, having no limitations. So why not give a chance for a few recipes, that can get you one step closer to your delicious result? We put together a short list for beginners, with the most interesting homemade bars:
Granola Bars with Paprika and Parmesan
Yep, you read it right: paprika and parmesan! This interesting mixture will get you a delicious and delicate flavor. While paprika has been proved to have several health benefits (containing several vitamins), mixing it with some extra delicious parmesan cannot do you any harm (but keep an eye on how much parmesan you mix in there). In case you are after a different morning snack, the Paprika Parmesan bar can get you going easily, with its high level of protein (10g)!
Calorie Counter: 235 Cals.
No-Bake Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars
These super tasty granola bars are not only healthy and yummy, but also gluten-free and vegan energy boosters. They contain loads of chocolate peanut butter, so if you are allergic, this might not be the best choice for you. The lucky ones out there who can freely enjoy the magics of peanut butter are encouraged to give this recipe a shot. Since these bars are no-bake, you can finish in no more than 10 minutes and find yourself cured against craving.
Calorie Counter: around 250 Cals.
If you think that coconut and almond go together, then you have a winner here. These tasty bars contain a bit more calories, but the fantastic taste will make your sense of guilt disappear. These bars are gluten-, oil-, and sugar-free, which makes them extremely natural and nutrition rich. The raw almond and the added cashews ensure the high level of protein that can help you get your energy levels high, and ease your growing hunger.
Calorie Counter: 223 Cals.
Apricot and Cashew
Ready for some tropical treat? Add some unsweetened coconut to the great mix of apricot and cashew and enjoy some outstanding taste and crunchiness. To enhance the health benefits, you can consider adding some rolled oats and hemp seeds to your next home baked apricot-cashew bar. Full of Omega-3, -6, -9 your energy level will be on the top, thanks to this tasty treat. Add honey or agave syrup to make the ingredients stick together. Enjoy!
Calorie Counter: around 250 Cals.
Apple and Cinnamon
Ah! The all-star duo. Everybody knows that these two are simply perfect together, so don’t forget to add them to your list of recipes in the future. Mix some pecan, oats, cinnamon, apples and a touch of salt together, to enjoy joyous, rich flavors. In case you are not on the run, consider baking the pecan beforehand, to go for a slightly roasted taste. If you would like to spice things up, you can also add some ginger or nutmeg. Experience with the various tastes to get the perfect combination!
Calorie Counter: around 250 Cals.
The good thing about creating your home baked treats is that the list of opportunities is endless. Based on your taste you can come up with new mixtures to spice things up and become the inventor of a tasty, healthy energy booster. If you are a beginner in the kitchen, you have nothing to worry about, as there are tons of recipes all over the web, which do not even require baking. Your next healthy treats can be put together in no time, and you can discover a new world of taste. The only thing that you need to keep an eye on are the portions. Make thorough calculations to ensure that your next treat is not only a sugar bomb but a healthy, nutritious snack, full of fiber and protein. Enjoy experimenting!
Calorie Counter: Should be around 250 Cals.!
Store Bought Healthy Bars vs. Home Baked Goodies
Either if you are a fan of the DIY method and choose to bake your snacks at home, or to save time you prefer buying your energy boosters at the closest supermarket, keeping an eye on the ingredients and the nutrition composition of these treats is indispensable. Don’t forget to check the levels of sugar and keep an eye on the overall calorie content, to make sure that your healthy bars are truly healthy. By paying attention and not making random choices (“Oh look! The wrapper’s design is so nice! Let me try one!), you can ensure that you are really focusing on those energy levels and your calorie intake consists of healthy, nutritious foods.
Find Your Taste
We encourage you to give a shot to baking these little, healthy, on-the-go snacks at home. It might require more time compared to simply grabbing them from the shelf, but the list of variations is never ending. A dash of pepper here, a touch of honey there, and you will find yourself screaming “Eureka” after discovering your new favorite taste. On the other hand, make sure that you keep an eye on the added ingredients, as it might be easier to fall into temptation when baking your homemade goodies. Always remember, that the goal here is to create a new taste, which you love while keeping it healthy and nutritious!
Good luck to all the experimenting calorie fighters out there!
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