-- This is a guest post by Liz Stark --
Walk into any supermarket, natural foods store – really, any store at this point – and you are bound to find shelves and aisles stacked with all kinds of bars. Gone are the days of one or two brands – now there are literally hundreds upon thousands to choose from! With so many different (and competing) bar brands on the market, how are people supposed to know which (if any) are appropriate to consume?
Now I know that there will be many that will stop reading this article and adamantly declare, “All bars are terrible poison! Never eat anything that comes in a wrapper!” However, I personally feel that not all bars are created equal. With all the options available, there are big differences in quality and quantity of ingredients, company/customer relations, nutrition facts, intended consumers, wrapper/label design, and taste.
While of course it is ideal to consume as many whole foods as possible, it might not always be possible for people (time-wise, appetite-wise, or other health condition-wise) to consume full meals. I hope that I can be helpful to those of you who can relate to this, and are looking for something quick to eat that will not completely derail your healthy eating, fitness, and wellness goals.
I have two very important disclosures here: I am not a health expert, just a dedicated bar enthusiast. I have tried and tested hundreds of brands over the years, so these reviews are strictly my thoroughly honest opinions and experiences. Not all of these bars will be appropriate for everyone, so we can all agree to disagree if necessary and just enjoy eating well – I will try to lead you in the right direction for bar consumption though!
I purchase all of the bars myself – no compensation, company/brand influence, or any other factors are in play that could sway my opinion. With all of that said, here are my Top 5 picks (in no particular order) for healthier snack bar alternatives.
These fruit & nut-based bars are best for people looking for a quick, sweet treat with minimal ingredients. They are like trail mix in an easy-to-eat bar form. Staying true to the brand name, these bars contain a small mix of pure ingredients; and they are certified organic, gluten-free, soy-free, and vegan. If Pure Bars sound like a good fit for you, check out this deal on a Pure Bar Variety Pack, otherwise expect to pay around $2.19 per bar.
Need a satiating, easy-to-digest source of fuel for a long workout or a day filled with activities and minimal breaks? Then Bonk Breaker Bars are probably the best bet for you. These hefty energy bars come in a fun variety of flavors and protein levels; and best of all, they are certified gluten-free, dairy free, soy-free, and contain wholesome ingredients. Check out this Super Sampler Deal that lets you try all the flavors and includes 4 additional bite size bars for $38.95.
Lower in carbohydrates, lower in sugar, higher in protein, gluten-free, soy-free, amazing taste – sounds too good to be true, right? Wrong! Quest bars are phenomenal with their nutritional profile, taste, texture, and flavor variety. Definitely check out Quest’s website for all the details on these bars ($2.39 each), as well as some of their other protein-packed, “clean eating” products (peanut butter cups, chips, pasta – yes, they make these products too!). The best deal on a Quest Bar Variety Pack seems to live RIGHT HERE on their website, although you might save a couple dollars on Amazon if you have Amazon Prime.
Are you a chocoholic, looking to satisfy that sweet tooth in a healthier (and incredibly tasty) way? Look no further than Squarebars. These wholesome bars are coated in a rich, velvety-smooth chocolate coating, and yet the bars are still lower in sugar and higher in protein. They are also organic, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, vegan, peanut-free… the list goes on (and yes, they are still packed with flavor, despite being “free” of many things). Right now the Combo Pack of 12 is on sale for $25.87.
While these bars are fruit & nut based, they are definitely more of a “healthier dessert alternative” bar than an energy or protein bar. These gluten-free bars have an array of chocolatey and fruity flavors, and contain very few (but still on the healthier side) ingredients. Warning: Larabars has a lot of flavors and it might be hard for you to choose until you lay your eyes on the NEW Pumpkin Pie bar! With that said, sample a bunch of Larabars flavors with this Mini Sampler Pack or this Variety Pack of 16 Full Size Bars.
I hope these Top 5 snack bar options are helpful, and that at least one of them can work into your day for easier and healthier snacking!
Leave your comments and thoughts below!