Protein is “sexy”.
When we hear, or read, the word protein we automatically link it to big muscles.
Food marketers are onto this, with a range of ‘protein bars’ born for a time-poor population with a need for convenience. Cue the range of ‘Protein bars’ that you will see next to the old school ‘Snack Logs’ and ‘Bumper Bars’.
I generally steer clear from the muesli bar aisle at the supermarket, but I went down it for the sake of comparing the following muesli bars:
1.‘Tasti’ Salted Caramel Protein Bar
2.‘Mother Earth’ Raspberry White Chocolate Baked Oaty Slices
3. ‘Nice and Natural’ Protein Nut Bars with 3 Super Seeds
To compare the three bars you go straight to the 100g column on the nutrition label. I am interested in dietary fibre, added sugar, fat and of course, protein.
Dietary fibre is important to help keep us full and to promote good bowel health. Of the three bars the Nice and Natural bar has the most dietary fibre. The Salted Caramel Protein don’t even list it, I’m going to take this as a sign of it containing next to none.
The ‘Nice and Natural’ bar also has the least added sugar (different from total carbohydrate). The ‘Mother Earth’ bar has the most, with more than 25% of the bar being sugar.
If a food contains nuts and seeds, then you can expect it to contain fat. This is not a bad thing as these are unsaturated “good” fats. Focusing, therefore, on the saturated fat, Nice and Natural has the least amount of saturated fat and the ‘Mother Earth’ Baked Oaty Slice has the most.
Sexy protein - which bar is going to have the most? The ‘Tasti’ Salted Caramel bar only just comes out on top with 25.1g/100g and the Nice and Natural being a close second with 24.8g/100g. The Mother Earth bar has a mere 7.1g/100g. The increased protein content comes from ‘soy protein crispies’ which are added readily to cereals and muesli bars in order to increase the protein content without needing to categorise the food item as a ‘supplement’.
If I was to choose between the three bars, without a doubt I would regard the ‘Nice and Natural’ Protein Nut Bars with 3 super seeds as the better choice. I do, however, encourage all clients to prioritise meal preparation and organisation to help reduce a dependence upon processed convenience foods.
A snack is a mini meal that should sustain us between meals.
The key word in that sentence is ‘sustain’. To help sustain energy, team a protein source with some fruit or vegetables, or some quality carbohydrates.
I recommend foods like Greek yogurt and berries, cottage cheese and vege sticks, raw nuts and a piece of fruit, a boiled egg and a piece of toast over process convenience foods.