Convenient and portable, energy bars have gone mainstream. In fact, sales have jumped over 50 percent in the last few years. What should you look for in a healthy snack bar?
First, carefully read nutrition labels. For women, the best choice is a bar that contains 150 to 200 calories. Men should opt for bars between 250 to 400 calories—though fewer are better when it comes to between-meal munching. Ideally you want to find energy snacks with 5 grams (g) of fat or less and at least 3 g of fiber. More fiber is even better. Stay away from anything with trans fats (partially hydrogenated oils) or more than 20 g of sugar. If you’re looking for a protein boost, find a bar with at least 30 percent of its calories coming from protein. (Each gram of protein has four calories.)
Although these convenient snacks are a great way to avoid junk food, there’s no substitute for real food. Your best bet: Get most of your nutrients from fruits, vegetables whole grains, and lean protein.