What kinds of bars are available?
There are a wide variety of bars on the market.
- Energy bars: usually contain more carbohydrates and a moderate amount of protein and fat. These bars are designed to provide fast fuel for athletes with high energy demands, but can also be used to complement a normal healthy diet.
- Meal Replacement bars: these bars usually contain more calories, and a relatively balanced carbohydrate/protein/fat ratio, as they are designed to be consumed in place of a meal. Breakfast bars are a popular substitute for the most important meal of the day, as they can be eaten “on the go” and contain vitamins and other nutrients.
- Protein bars: these bars usually have a higher protein-to fat/carbohydrate ratio, though some contain more carbohydrates than others. The higher carbohydrate protein bars are an excellent post-workout meal, aiding in muscle recovery and growth. The lower carbohydrate protein bars can be a great tool, in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle, for weight loss/maintenance.
- Diet/Lower Carb Bars: these bars are usually lower in total calories/carbohydrates to aid in weight loss/maintenance in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle.
Health Benefits of Bars
These bars can be a great addition to a healthy diet, as they are convenient, and often contain vitamins, minerals and other dietary supplements. In addition, bars offer an easy way to keep portion size under control.
Using Bars in Your Healthy Diet
Any type of bar can be a great addition to a well-balanced diet, but should never be totally substituted for regular foods. Some bars may have a high saturated fat content, and may use terms like “non-impact carbs” when calculating carbohydrate totals. Therefore, it is a good idea to read labels carefully to ensure you select the best bars for your needs.