How to Choose the Right Nutrition Bar

April 21, 2016 Insider Grocery store isle for protein bars

If your grocery store is like mine, it carries nutrition bars.  A LOT of nutrition bars. The nutrition bar section is wider than my arms when stretched out and taller than I am. Dozens and dozens and dozens of choices. You might think that any of the bars are a good, nutritious choice for on-the-go eating. Think again.

Here is a smart way to find the right bar for you.

The price is right.

Have you noticed how different the price of a nutrition bar can be?  Is the $2 bar the same as the $0.75 bar?  The simple answer is not likely.  Generally speaking, you get the nutrition you pay for, and some low priced “nutrition bars” have more in common with a candy bar than you might believe.  For instance, the New York Daily News reported on May 11, 2015 “Clif’s White Chocolate Macadamia Nut bar has more calories (260) than a Snickers bar.  And a Zone Chocolate Peanut Butter bar has 15 grams of sugar — about the same as a strawberry Pop-Tart.”  So a low price bar is not necessarily a better value, it might be a very expensive candy bar.

If you want to keep the nutrition in your nutrition bar, here is what to look for:

Two things drive price in the nutrition bar category: bar size and quality of ingredients.  

  • Look for bars that have about 200 calories or less, this is a reasonable size to fill you up and keep you going.  It will also give you a number of choices at about $2 or less
  • Then look at the ingredients:
  • If you see protein sources in the first couple of ingredients —GOOD.
  • If you see sugars, syrups, nectars or sweeteners in the first couple of ingredients — look closer at the protein and sugar levels

Best case, you will find a bar that has 10g+ of protein and less than 5g of sugar for no more than 200 calories, priced at $2 or less.

Now the fun part, try a few different brands.

Find the bars that deliver the right nutrition AND taste great.  They are out there.

Now you know how to find them!