Most people can enjoy a tasty 225-calorie snack without tipping the calorie scale, especially if the bar is made of wholesome ingredients, such as whole grains, nuts and dried fruit. Label scrutiny is essential; many bars are high in calories—those labeled as “energy bars” are better suited for sustenance on a hike rather than a snack at your desk, even if the ingredients are wholesome.
This bar garnered a first place rating from four of our tasters (including the two teenagers). The best buys have at least 5 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber, less than 10 grams of sugar, and no more than 200 calories, if it’s a snack. We chose bars with a specific nutrient profile: 225 calories or less, less than 3 grams saturated fat and (for satiety) at least 5 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber.

One taster reported that she used to eat power bars as a meal replacement, until she realized that the right sandwich could be lower in calories—and more satisfying. Robert enjoyed its “subtle suggestion of caramel and warm amber color.” Nathan thought it looked great but likened the taste to Rice Krispies snacks he once made in kindergarten. The ingredient lists are often similar to those of candy bars: plenty of corn syrup, sugars and partially hydrogenated oils.
Consumers assume they are getting better forms of energy than those delivered by mere candy, but with all the new bars crowding the supermarket, it’s hard to know which ones are healthy and worth the calories.
We then did a blind tasting with a diverse panel that included two active teenagers who often eat bars while participating in sports and a fly-fishing guide who will take three or four bars on a trip for lunch.

Lastly, steer clear of meal-replacement bars for specific weight-loss plans; these expensive concoctions often taste terrible and are surprisingly high in calories, while including undesirable ingredients and questionable health and diet claims.

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