How Healthy is a Protein Bar?

NRG Xpress/Health and Fitness – Little Island, Cork

How Healthy is a Protein Bar?

By Denis Reynor

Protein bars used to be just for body builders and guys that hit the gym that want to build muscle. But with more and more women looking to up their protein intake, protein bars have become a stable food source now for everyone.

Is that a good thing? How healthy is a protein bar?


Pros and cons?

The pros: First of all, there’s the protein. “Protein is an essential macronutrient for everyone men and women. Protein is used as a source of energy that can be used to fuel your day or even your gym workouts. Protein can also be used to repair muscles after a workout or physical activity, and depending on your training program, can build muscle mass.

People always ask me how much protein should I be taking? This number differs depending on goals, physical activity per week, size and shape. Myself, I encourages people, especially those working to improve their body composition (the ratio of body fat to muscle), to consume around 1g of protein for every 1pound of bodyweight you weigh (e.g. 75kg = 165lbs = 165g of protein).

However, with this system in mind, most men and women I meet in the gym aren’t even coming close to this ideal protein intake they should be consuming. After all, no matter how great we are at meal prep, we sometimes get our protein intake balance wrong. Even spending our Sunday afternoon trying to whipp up 18+ lunch boxes for week can become very time consuming or the most likely, lack of space in he freezer means we are short on meals for the week.

This is exactly why protein bars are so appealing. No prep or refrigeration is necessary, so if you have an active, grab-and-go lifestyle, they’re a great way to make sure your protein intake stays on-point throughout the day. “One of the main benefits of protein bars is the convenience factor,”

The cons: Even tho Protein bars include necessary carbs, fat, and fiber, all of which work in tandem with protein to increase amino acid availability to your muscles and aid in satiety to keep your energy, Some protein bars have more than 30 grams of sugar and more calories than a candy bar. Meanwhile, others are full of hard-to-pronounce, lab-made ingredients like partially hydrogenated oils (read: trans fat), high-fructose corn syrup, food colouring, artificial sugars, sugar alcohols, and other additives. Some cheaply made protein bars have been linked to non consumable adjectives .

Tips for Choosing a Healthy Protein Bar

Check the ingredients list:

This is a must to determine exactly what you’re eating, so don’t rely on labels on the front of the packaging to make your decision. “Don’t even consider protein or fat content until you’ve ensured that the bar is made with good ingredients that you actually recognize”.

Know your goal: 

In addition to checking out the ingredients, it’s important to keep an eye on protein, fat, carbs, sugar, and fibre. Although the ideal amount of each depends on exactly what you hope to get from your bar. “If you’re using it as your primary source of protein, then you definitely want a bar with at least 10 grams of protein”. “I try to find ones with less sugar for travel snacks or pre-bed snacks. However, if you’re using a bar during athletic activity, sugar is a readily available source of quick fuel so fruit leathers or fruit-based bars aren’t necessarily a bad idea.” If you’re looking for post-workout recovery or sustained energy (to get through a long hike, perhaps) choose a bar with about 30 grams of carbohydrates, as a low-carb bar won’t fuel you as well. As far as fat and fibre go, I recommend choosing a bar with about 10 to 15 grams of fat, primarily from unsaturated sources (try to keep saturated fat intake to less than 5 grams) and a fibre total between 3 and 5 grams, which will add to your bar’s hunger-squashing effect.

Make your own protein bar:

Not finding exactly what you’re looking for at the health food store or at your local shop? Why not make your own protein bars with one of these recipes.

Simple 4 ingredients to Make 4- 8 Protein Bars:

– 3 large mashed bananas

-1 cup peanut butter

-1/4 cup coco powder

-1/2 cup protein powder

Just mix all ingredients and bake for 10-15 minutes, cut into recommend sizes.

For more information on Protein or Healthy food snacks, Email me at

Happy Training