13 Grab-and-Go Power Bars
With a ton of bars on the market—and new ones popping up every day—how do you know what distinguishes the nutritional bar from the candy bar? And what’s best for adults, young athletes and kids? Read on for my top picks.
Look for bars that contain 200 to 400 calories depending on whether you need a snack or meal replacement. To keep your weight in check, opt for ones with less sugar and more fiber and protein for staying power. Be wary of sugar free or low carbohydrate bars, which may contain a hefty dose of sugar alcohols. (Sorbitol and maltitol syrup are common sugar alcohols, which can leave you with stomach distress, bloating and gas in high doses. People react differently to these, with some experiencing no problems with 10 grams of sugar alcohols and others ending up doubled over in pain.) My favorite power bars for adults include:
- Kardea: 7 grams of fiber, 7 grams of protein, plant sterols
- Gnu: High fiber; yeast, diary and soy-free; no preservatives; no artificial colors or flavors
- Luna: Good balance of protein and fiber for about 200 calories per bar
- Zing: Wheat, gluten and soy free; all natural; created by dietitians
- Atkins: Great if you are in search of a low-carb, higher-protein bar
- Power Crunch: About 200 calories, 15 grams of protein, 10 grams of fat to keep your hunger pangs at bay
- Renew Life Organic Fiber: If you are short on fiber, pick up these bars and you’ll add 14 grams of fiber to your nutrition intake in no time!
Squirts through Midgets
Look for bars with at least 400 or more calories or combine the bar with a piece of fruit to increase the calorie total of the snack. My favorites for growing tweens and teens include:
- Chef Jay Tri-O-Plex: 430 calories, delicious, packed with 30 grams of protein for growth and muscle repair
- VPX Zero Impact: More than 400 calories, packed with protein, they don’t melt!
Mites (8 & Under)
Kids do best with bars that are easy on their stomach and tide them over until their next meal. My little taste testers, age 8 and under, love these bars:
- Clif Builder’s Bar
- Nature’s Valley granola bars
- Clif Bars
- Clif Kid Zbar
Editor’s Note: Thank you to Marie Spano, MS, RD, CSSD, CSCS—a sports nutrition expert and Grow the Game consultant who works with athletes throughout the country—for providing this story. Her website is: www.mariespano.com.
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