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We’re all for healthy convenience, have you seen our shop? But “nutrition” bars can often be a misnomer, with many icky ingredients lurking. There are tons of bars out there, so we’ll break down which to skip and which meet our standards. And even for our Foodtrainers’ favorites, we suggest using bars mainly for over-scheduled says and travel. Keep it to 2 a week max.

Our ick list

Image result for nutrition bar aisle
Before we get to our Foodtrainers’ favorites, let’s talk about ones to absolutely avoid:
  • Luna
  • Fiber One
  • Nature Valley
  • Quest bars
  • Special K bars (Lauren wants to let you know she’d eat a cockroach before these).
You can’t tell a thing by looking at the nutrition facts or calories in protein bars. Do you care how many calories something has if it makes you break out like crazy or fart for hours? Ingredients are everything. Since we can’t go through every bar in the bodega, here are the particularly junky ingredients:Soy protein isolates
Really soy ANYTHING (even soy lecithin) should be avoided on a bar label. Lauren talked about soy protein isolates with Well+Good. The main takeaway: All soy is not created equal, and this is seriously processed soy junk. The process of “isolating” the soy protein can leave behind traces of the neurotoxins hexane and aluminum. What’s more, around 90% of all soy is genetically modified.LUNA bars have not one, not two, not 3, but 4 types of processed soy.Whey protein isolates
We used to be ok with whey, particularly for men. But we’ve learned a few new things over the years and now we’re less enthusiastic.
2018 study (and others) showed whey protein isolates can upset the microbiome. Other research connects whey protein to acne and skin issues. If you’re going to whey, only use grass-fed versions and skip whey protein isolates.

Artificial sweeteners:
OMG, it’s hard to believe these are still used. If you’re a person who shuns diet soda, better check your snacks. Some of them are like soda in snack form. Watch out for acesulfame, aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose. Sometimes bars use multiple sweeteners, so you’ll see brown rice syrup but if you keep reading further, there’s sucralose listed. These sweeteners are not only unhealthy, they encourage weight gain and not loss.

Our Approved List

We’re not opposed to Kind Bars in a pinch. Look for these less than 5g of sugar flavors.  We do agree with Clif’s suggestion that Kind could consider organic ingredients.

In terms of protein: organic pea and hemp are good sources, and we’re also fans of good quality collagen.
For sweetness, we approve of coconut sugar, monk fruit sweetener, maple syrup, yacon and stevia. Look for a bar with max 9g of sugar.

The more sweet items you have, the more you crave. For this reason, we have our clients stick to two bars a week max. Walnuts, olives, jerky and gluten free crispbreads are good savory options. Shop our curated healthy snacks for replacements.


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