The 3 Best and Worst Protein Bars for Your Workout

For exercise enthusiasts with on-the-go lifestyles, the convenience of a protein bar is hard to resist. That’s why we asked Nutritional Healing Foods Chef, consultant, and speaker Ilia Regini, owner of Healthy Nourished Body LLC, just which protein bars you should buy to fuel your body — and which ones to leave on the shelf.


Best Bars for Your Body:

1. CLIF BAR Kit’s Organic Fruit + Seed Bar: These tasty bars are USDA Certified Organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free. Though the only Fruit + Seed Bar available is the Cherry + Pumpkin Seeds bar — containing 4 grams of protein and 15 percent of your daily iron value — there are six different Fruit + Nut Bars to vary your snack options.

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2. Lärabar: Lärabars contain only real ingredients like nuts, unsweetened dried fruit, and natural oils and extracts. They are kosher, vegan, non-GMO, and free of soy, dairy, and gluten. Regini recommends the Banana Bread Bar, which contains 6g of protein and only three ingredients: almonds, dates, and unsweetened banana.


3. Go Raw Grow Protein Bars: These bars are a great option for people with allergies, as they derive their protein from watermelon seeds instead of peanuts and tree nuts. They are USDA certified organic, non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, and Paleo diet-approved. Regini suggests the Cinnamon Spice flavor. At 12 grams of protein, this all-natural snack is a great post-workout option.


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Beware This Bad Batch:

1. Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars: Though these bars are non-GMO verified, most of the flavor options contain wheat flour — meaning they are not gluten-free —and canola oil, which is “high in omega-6 polyunsaturated oil,” says Regini. All bars contain natural flavor, which can sometimes be “a disguised word for MSG.”


2. ZonePerfect: Your mouth may water at flavors like Salted Caramel Brownie and Cinnamon Bun Cookie Dough, but these bars are filled with ingredients you should avoid. ZonePerfect bars contain soy that is not non-GMO verified, as well as cost-cutting ingredients like corn syrup and milk protein isolate.


3. Sahale Snacks Layered Nut Bars: This is another bar that entices the palate with flavors like Salted Caramel Apple Pecan but fails to use only real ingredients. Though these bars are non-GMO and gluten-free, they contain ingredients Regini recommends you avoid: soy protein, natural flavor, and caramelized sugar syrup. Save dessert for after dinner; seek healthier alternatives for your protein snacks.

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