Snack bars can be an easy way to get some fuel in— whether it be for a quick pre or post workout fix, or a midday pick-me-up. While grabbing a bar on the go can definitely be convenient, not every bar out there is going to be the most nutritious choice.
Selecting a nutritious snack bar can be overwhelming. With tons of different options to choose from, I thought a blog post on things to consider when selecting the right snack bar would help make the task seem a bit easier.
I personally like having healthy bars on hand as a midday pick-me-up or a safety snack between meals. Depending on where I’m going or what I’m doing, I like to keep them stored in places like my car, backpack, or purse in case I don’t get to food in time for whatever reasons.
Today I’m featuring SusPro Foods amazing snack bars— they contain everything I look for, plus more! SusPro stands for Sustainable Protein, which means they believe that supporting ones health and the environment go hand in hand. Their bars are low in sugar and contain an excellent source of plant based protein, fiber, and healthy fats. SusPro bars are plant powered with nutrient-rich ingredients like chia seeds, hemp hearts, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, and sunflower seeds [No BS]. In addition, their bars contain all 9 essential amino acids, which can only be obtained through diet. There’s also different delicious flavours, like Dark Chocolate Sea Salt, Apple Pie Cinnamon, Mint Chocolate, and Pineapple. I personally like that their website allows you to create your own Variety Pack with your favourite flavours! In addition, their bars are vegan friendly, gluten free, dairy free, soy free, peanut free, and non GMO.
When it comes to the things I personally look for in a snack bar, SusPro Foods definitely checks off all the boxes. It was a no-brainer for me to partner with them for today’s post.
Let’s get to my list of things to consider when it comes to selecting a snack bar your body can rely on:
1. Purpose: What kind of fuel do you need?
AFTERNOON SNACK: For a pick-me-up between meals, look for a bar that has a good source of protein, fiber, and heart healthy fats. This trio provides your body with energy, balance, and sustained satiety.
- Protein plays many important roles in the human body— building muscle, structural support, and acting as enzymes, carriers, or hormones are a few to name. It’s also key for sustained satiety. For a midday snack, I like to opt for a bar that has at least 7g of protein.
- Fiber is important for feeling full and balanced. Reaching for a bar that contains at least 6g or more of fiber is a good guideline to follow. If you struggle to make your daily fiber intake, I would suggest opting for a bar that has at least 8g or more of fiber. Evidence has demonstrated that dietary fiber helps keep blood sugar levels more balanced by lowering the glycemic index of foods. Women need around 25g of fiber/day while men need around 38g of fiber/day.
- Heart healthy fats [like omega-3’s] play an important role in energy and cell membrane structure and function. Chia seeds, hemp seeds, flaxseeds, and walnuts are all examples of whole food ingredients that contain heart healthy fats. When it comes to fat content in a snack bar, always choose a bar that contains heart healthy, whole food sources of fats.
SusPro Foods Apple Pie Cinnamon is a great choice for an afternoon pick-me-up between meals!
PRE-WORKOUT ENERGY: If you’re consuming a snack bar for pre-workout energy, it’s good to consider a bar that can give you a carbohydrate boost to provide you with quick energy. Carbohydrates act as an energy source and help control blood glucose and insulin metabolism. The digestive tract breaks carbohydrates down into glucose monosaccharides [simple sugars], which the body uses for quick energy and fuel.
SusPro Foods Dark Chocolate Sea Salt is the perfect delicious bar to snack on for some quick pre-workout energy! It comes with 19g carbohydrates and just 4g of sugar.
REPLENISHMENT: For post-workout replenishment, choose a bar that has a quality source of whole food protein and carbohydrates to replenish with. Consumption of protein with carbohydrates post-workout helps heighten muscle glycogen recovery. Depending on your body weight and level of physical activity, your protein/carbohydrate needs will vary. A protein bar that contains at least 16g of protein is a good general guideline to follow for replenishment. It’s also important to be mindful of the sugar content in high protein bars as it can also be quite high.
SusPro Foods Mint Chocolate High Protein Bar is a great option for a post-workout protein bar, it comes packed with 17g of protein and only 2g of sugar. The Pineapple High Protein Bar would also be a great option, it comes packed with 18g of protein and only 3g of sugar.
2. Ingredients: Keep it simple
WHOLE FOOD INGREDIENTS: Choose a bar that contains whole food ingredients you can pronounce. If you can’t understand it, your body probably doesn’t want it. Whole foods contain a wide range of nutrients that are heart healthy and help fight disease. Consuming more whole foods helps prevent nutritional deficiencies that become more common with age.
INGREDIENT LIST: Avoid bars with a long list of ingredients. Less ingredients means less unwanted or hidden ingredients. If you weren’t already aware, ingredients are listed from highest to lowest amount. The first ingredient is what the manufacturer used the most of. A good rule of thumb is to scan the first few ingredients as they make up the largest amount of what you’re consuming.
3. Nutrient Sources: Consider the protein, fat, and sugar content
PROTEIN: Aim for bars with real food protein sources. Nuts, seeds, pea protein, and hemp protein are all good sources to consider in a snack bar. Whole food sources of protein provide the body with the essential amino acids necessary for growth and maintenance. In addition, food sources of protein exhibit specific biological activity that influence overall health and help prevent disease.
FATS: Reach for a bar that contains heart healthy fats. Whole food ingredients like nuts and seeds are all good sources of heart healthy fats. Adequate intake of high-quality fat is essential for health. Human steroid hormones are synthesized from cholesterol— a major component of all cell membranes. In addition, cholesterol is used to make essential molecules, hormones, fat-soluble vitamins, and bile acids to help you digest your food. Steer clear of any unhealthy highly processed fats that contain additives as they contribute to disease and weight gain. “Good” fats [HDL] can help boost brain function and energy, lower “bad” cholesterol levels [LDL], and help you feel full for longer periods of time until your next meal.
SUGARS: The amount and quality of sugar is important to consider. Avoid high sugar content and opt for bars that contain natural sources of sugar. Overconsumption of dietary sugars has potential to cause metabolic disease and inflammation in the body. Always be cautious of the amount of sugar a bar contains and consider why you are eating it— is it for pre-workout quick energy you’ll be burning off, a post-workout replenishment, or a midday snack?
I hope you find these tips helpful. Thank you for reading today’s post, it means a lot!
Photo Credit: Brittni Rose Image