While there are many protein and food bars on the market these days, be aware of those promoting to be “healthy”.

Not all, but many are filled with low quality protein, excessive sugar or sugar alcohol, palm oil, high fructose corn syrup, processed fiber and unwanted preservatives Even if sugar-free, they are often filled with artificial sweeteners in place of nutrient-dense, WHOLE FOOD.

While a protein bar can be okay in a pinch, keeping blood sugar and hunger in check, be sure you are getting nutrients and ingredients made from real food.

Check PROTEIN content. Look for bars containing at least 15 grams and no less than 10 grams of protein. This is enough to satisfy hunger pains and keep you in check until you can get a well-balance, whole foods meal.

Now, if you are consuming a bar following a workout or prior to, chose a bar containing a protein content closer to 20-25, and up to 30 grams of muscle building and recovery protein.

Calories – keep an eye out! A protein bar can go down quite easily, not realizing how many calories you are actually consuming. For an in-between meal snack, stick to a bar containing about 200 calories or less. Up to 250 calories may be okay for if you are active and building muscle. If you must replace a meal or are eating it before or after a workout, reaching for a bar in the 300 range would be a good choice.

Servings per bar – Be aware of how many servings are in a single bar. There are some bars containing 2 and sometimes 3 servings in one bar. The calorie count stated on the package can be misleading if you are not paying attention to total servings per package.

Our Personal Nutrition Coach here at My House Fitness of Allen can teach you some easy ways to eat better and improve your overall health.