So you want to add more protein to your diet, huh? Well, good choice! According to the National Academies of Medicine, protein “serves as the major structural component of all cells in the body,” including those found in bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood. So yeah, protein’s pretty important for everyone—and it’s especially important for people who exercise regularly. Studies strongly suggest that ingesting protein shortly after working out provides the amino acids our muscles require to rebuild themselves—hopefully stronger than before.
In an ideal world, we’d all get just enough protein from our regular diets without trying. We don’t actually live in that world, of course, so many of us turn to protein bars to get the amount we need each day.
But as BestReviews notes in their recent ranking of Best Protein Bars, making the right choice can be tricky, while making the wrong choice will leave you with a protein bar that’s “as high in sugar and calories as candy bars.” Whoa.
With so many very different protein bar choices these days, we thought you might like a short guide to choosing the right one for your needs.
Consider the total package.
Sometimes choosing the product with the most protein can bring lots of unwanted extra stuff along for the ride. “When we eat foods for protein,” writes the Harvard School of Public Health, “we also eat everything that comes alongside it: the different fats, fiber, sodium and more. It’s this protein ‘package’ that’s likely to make a difference for health.” So be sure you don’t choose a bar simply based upon an impressive amount of protein—read the entire Nutrition Facts panel (including the ingredients) and make sure you like what you see there.
You’re looking for function in a protein bar—but don’t neglect flavor. By choosing a bar whose taste you actually enjoy, you’re increasing the chance that you actually eat it. None of us have the willpower to regularly eat foods we don’t enjoy. So experiment with types of flavor profiles—sweet, salty, savory, etc.—and find the kind of bar that you will want to eat after your workout.
Change things up.
Once you find the general type of bar you enjoy the most, don’t overdo just one flavor—look for variations of that flavor profile. For example, if chocolate is your thing, grab a variety of different kinds of chocolate (dark, milk, white, etc.), plus bars that blend chocolate with other tasty ingredients like nuts or sea salt.
Don’t forget about protein other times of day.
Protein bars are a great tool to add to your nutritional toolkit—but don’t forget about the other tools available to you. Enjoying a balanced diet that includes the proper ratio of protein, fats and carbohydrates will help you meet your nutritional and fitness goals more effectively than relying on protein bars alone for your entire daily intake. Find the right combination of proteins from plant and animal sources that helps you thrive!
When you add it all together, ONE Bars stand out from the crowd. That’s why we made the cut in BestReviews’ Best Protein Bars ranking. Grab some from our Amazon store or your favorite local retailer, and remind yourself why you love them!
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