I LOVE energy bars! I am a self proclaimed Luna Bar fanatic, I usually eat one a day. The tricky thing with energy bars is that many of them are just “amped up” candy bars. I used to just grab any old bar that claimed to be an “energy” bar and assume it was healthy. I quickly learned not all bars are created equal! I mean think about it, a Snickers bar will give you quick energy no doubt, but that doesn’t mean it ‘s good for you.
After trying cookie dough this and brownie that, I have found some favorites, all of which have nutrition in mind! My top five are:
- Luna Bars: The nutrition is pretty darn good. They have seven to nine grams of protein and usually four or so grams of fiber. Sugar content is around 10-12 not remarkable but better than many other bars out there. They also don’t contain artificial sweeteners, which is great. Plus, a low glycemic, 70 percent organic bar ensures a slow sugar release, which means it won’t give you a sugar rush followed by a sugar crash. Oh, and did I mention they taste like dessert?!
- Think Thin Bars: These are super tasty and HIGH in protein- as in 20 grams and loooow in sugar, as in five. They are not quite as tasty (in my opinion) as Lunas, as they have that “protein powder” taste- but still great. They also use some artificial sweeteners.
- Kashi Bars: How could I ever leave out my beloved Kashi!? I am a big fan of their GoLean bars (Crunchy), they have a good amount of protein and fiber and are not too bad in the sugar department. They are really sweet and keep me satisfied.
- Cliff Bars– I like the flavors a lot but tend to stick to the minis and/ or use them as a breakfast replacement – they are pretty high in sugar and calories. The sugars are mostly natural though so don’t worry! Plus, they have a lot of staying power. P.s. the Pumpkin Spice flavor is only around for the holidays and is so delicious. I also like their MOJO bars- I use these as a snack and their nutrition is more like Luna Bars.
- Lara Bars– I like these, but they are not my go to- there is something about them- I don’t know maybe it’s the lack of crunch that leaves me unsatisfied? Some people shy away from them for the higher sugar content, BUT don’t be fooled the sugar comes from fruit! They have a tiny ingredient list, which is always good!
So in my many attempts to find another bar that compares to Lunas- I grabbed a PowerCrunch bar at Trader Joes. Here is my product review for you … it may be in my top five now!
Nutrition- Calories: 205, Protein: 14, Sugar: 5. Sounds pretty good?
Taste: Delicious!! I tried the vanilla wafer and it seriously tasted like a treat that I would buy at a candy store. The middle is legit wafer and the outside is a white fudge-ish coating. I was in heaven- and since it was so rich it takes a while to eat. It kept me satisfied through an intense Vinyasa class at CorePower and until dinner… the only downfall? I checked out the fat and it was 12 grams!! With five from saturated fat! I knew it was too good to be true! The vitamins were lacking pretty bad too!
So I was on the fence- taste, protein and sugar wise it is a win but the fat contents …not so hot. So, I checked out the ingredients- not a terribly long list, enriched flour, whey protein, milk protein, sugar, palm oil, and palm kernel oil (a few more). I looked up the few I did not know much about and where I thought the fat might be coming from.
Palm and Kernel Oil– I Googled it and found this great article on Healthgather.com and it did some great explaining. Basically, palm oil is better than trans fat, which I knew, but it is also better than butter. The article goes on to describe that fats that are liquid at room temperature (olive oil) are the best kinds of fats. So I was relived as these bars are not full of totally bad fats! I love healthy fats- PB, salmon, avocado bring it on but bad fats are avoidable. i.e. trans fat and too much saturated fats. I will definitely still enjoy these lovely bars but not as often as my Lunas (which do have palm oil, but much less).
I love that I know what the ingredients are in Lunas and the fats in Lunas are mostly healthy and come from nuts!
Either way- give these a try. They are for sure a great replacement to candy bars or processed cookies!
Note: By no means do I avoid unhealthy fats at all times. I KNOW the cupcakes and treats I eat all the time are not exactly health food, which is why I make an effort to avoid them in most other parts of my diet.
Do you eat energy bars?
What is your favorite bar?