By Lee Jay
That feeling of contained excitement when you stumble across a new 'healthy' snack bar, only to discover a scroll of ingredients - from sugary additives to artificial bullshit.
Brands, camouflaging processed crap as 'nutritional', prey on sly marketing to push their products, hooking us in unknowingly. Learning how to read and understand the beneficial value of food labels is the first step towards achieving and sticking to healthier lifestyle habits. As a rule of thumb, look for clean and natural ingredients, avoiding the nasty lab-produced additions.
The good news is, with so many ethical healthy brands at our fingertips, we can toss the crap aside once and for all!
Ranked in no particular order, here are five nutritionally dense snack bars for your stash.
Nakd Fruit & Nut Bars
Image from eatnakd.com.
The power of wholefoods is what these mighty bars preach in their quest to showcase the delicious results from a smoosh of fruits and nuts. Combining dates, raisins, almonds, peanuts and cashews, among other natural ingredients, these small bars pack a big punch. Containing less than 160 calories each and oodles of healthy fats, Nakd is the ultimate on the go snack or mid-day pick-me-up.
Wheat free, gluten free, dairy free and vegan, sold in every desirable flavor (hello lemon drizzle) and with a healthy macro count to boot - I ask you, what more can you want from a snack bar?
Image by phyterfood.com.
Who doesn't fancy "desert-like indulgence" in their plant-based snack bar? Organic, gluten free, vegan, and even kosher parve (for those who observe), these colorfully packaged treats deliver on all levels. Available in five flavors: Cocoa Brownie, Peanut Butter Cookie, Carrot Cake, Peanut Butter & Jelly and Apple Cinnamon, each bar contains a blend of complex carbs (think sweet potato, oats), alongside nuts, seeds, kale, coconut, raisins and a scattering of other top-notch ingredients.
According to Phyter's website, the bars are cooked to"bring out the flavor, enhance the phytonutrients and to eliminate any harmful bacteria that can occur in raw foods." Free of chemicals and nasty preservatives, these bars are best kept fresh in your refrigerator.
As for the macros? You'll find each contains a little over 200 calories and packs six grams of protein to keep your muscles fueled.
Primal Stamina/Energy Bars
Photo by primalpantry.com
"Real Food, Untamed" is the moto of The Primal Pantry, a real food brand producing homemade snack and protein bars straight from the British kitchen.
You won't find anything artificial in these vegan bars, which are designed for those following a paleo diet in mind.
Beneath the chic packaging, snack bars feature five ingredients or less and grace us in an assortment of divine flavors: Almond & Cashew, Apple & Pecan and Coconut & Macadamia, among other varietals. At around 190 calories per bar and infused with healthy fats and energizing carbs, they're ideal for a boost in stamina when you need it most.
Protein bars, available in Cocoa Brownie, Cocoa Orange, Double Espresso and Mixed Berry, boast a whopping 15 grams of hemp protein amid a tasty blend of dates, nuts, cocoa nibs and other super additions for a tasty way to aid your muscle recovery.
Image by rxbar.com
For a pre or post protein fix to fuel your gains, look no further than the hearty RXBAR, where "No B.S." is part of its branding. Proudly listing what each bar contains on its front, you'll find clean ingredients of dried powered egg whites, dates, nuts and raw chocolate (from ground, liquefied and solidified cacao). With a douse of natural oils from spices, fruits and plants, along with a dash of sea salt, these dense bars of goodness set an industry-standard in no bullsh*t protein bars.
With a section of flavors to keep you going throughout the week, and then some, these 210-220 calories snacks, with 12 grams of protein, include flavors of Chocolate Chip, Maple Sea Salt, Lemon, Chocolate Cherry, Peanut Butter & Berries, Banana Chocolate Walnut and Mango Pineapple among its star line-up.
With multi-packs for sale online, why choose one when you can have them all?
Homemade Lemon Blueberry Energy Balls
Image from simplyquinoa.com
These heavenly chewy delights are a labor of love by holistic nutritionist Alyssa Rimmer, who has created an impressive repertoire of "Healthy & Delicious Plant-Powered Recipes," alongside a host of health and wellness must-tries. If the drool-worthy imagery isn't enough to tempt you, Simply Quinoa's recipes, prepared and plated in no time, are loaded with healthy, nutritional and satiating ingredients.
These homemade blueberry energy balls are easy enough for a kitchen rookie to conjure, uniting Medjool dates, dried blueberries, raw cashews, lemon zest and juice and vanilla protein (substitute with oats if you so prefer), for blissful bites guaranteed to hit the spot.
Each ball contains around 89 calories and four grams of protein, meaning you can definitely go back for one (or two) more.