Protein Bars vs. Whole Food Meals

Tanya (a registered dietitian and future PhD holder) has a great take on protein bars below. I am definitely an advocate of food on-the-go (and often scarf down a KIND or Lara bar 2-3 times a week), but pick your snack bars wisely. Most protein, meal, and “diet” bars are full of sugars, additives, and ingredients that are impossible to pronounce.

Some good rules of thumb to stick to:

  • Pick bars that have 10 or less ingredients
  • Find bars that have protein from nuts, fruits, veggies, and grains…rather than added whey and powdered isolates (I have to do this anyway, because of the headaches that I get from whey protein)
  • Gluten free, GMO free, dairy free, soy free, and vegan are always good to see on a label

My favorite on-the-go and pre/post/during workout bars are: KIND, Lara, Kit’s Organic, and ThinkThin (for when I really need high protein, post workout recovery). BUT…real food is still and always going to be better. If I am in a scenario where I can prepare a meal, I often have hummus, spinach, tomato, avocado, and Applegate organic meat roll ups. Nom nom nom!


Dine, dash, & deadlift

Let’s talk protein bars today. Are they convenient?Yes.Are they tasty?Some are. Some are terrible. Can they be included in a healthful diet?Of course.Should we turn to them on a regular basis instead of whole food-based meals and snacks?No, no, no!

Protein Bars

Do I use protein (or ‘energy’) bars?Occasionally. I have certainly promoted them as a food option on this blog before (exhibit A). So why don’t I consume them regularly? 1. I prefer eating whole foods verse a candy bar in disguise (let’s be real, some have a similar nutrition profile as a Snicker’s bar). 2. Volumetrics! Protein/sports/meal replacement bars generally pack a hefty caloric punch in a small package. This can be a great reason to turn to them if you require a VERY high caloric intake each day, are out backpacking, or in a variety of other situations. However, generally they leave…

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