- Exercise & Fitness
The Best Protein Bars for Women
Protein bars and shakes are not just for men; women can benefit from adding protein to their diet and weight loss plans too. Women are less likely than men to consume protein, so protein bars are perfect for adding protein, vitamins, and minerals to your diet without consuming extra calories or fats from a large meal. Protein helps you feel fuller longer and gives your body the things it needs to build healthy, lean muscle.
When selecting a protein bar, you should consider the amount of calories first. Calories are ok if you are working out frequently or using the bars as a meal replacement. If you are casually working out, looking to lose weight, and are still eating normal meals, you don't want to eat a bar that has as many calories as a candy bar.
Check the nutrition label for the number of carbs too. Carbohydrates hidden in your snack bar could cause adverse affects on your diet. Artificial sweeteners can cause unpleasant symptoms such as gas or diarrhea because the body can't process the chemicals.
A bar rich in fiber will also help you feel full; this can curb between meal snacking or overeating through out the day. Whey protein will help burn fat, build muscle, control blood glucose levels, and even boost your immune system.
What's in a bar?
The market offers a variety of tastes, textures, and ingredients so you can try different types and change them up so you don't get tired of a certain kind. Peanut butter and chocolate are a very common combination, but there are varieties that include dried fruit and nuts. Women need calcium for strong bones and to prevent osteoporosis, so finding a bar fortified with this mineral is essential for women's health. Bars can be crunchy or chewy, some might combine a little of both. There are organic, kosher, and gluten free bars for women with special dietary restrictions.
The label or packaging should list the number of grams of protein per bar. Nature Valley offers a good starter protein bar with 10 grams or you can find bars marketed for those who work out or lift weights that have 20+ grams per bar.
Where can I find protein bars?
Protein bars are available just about anywhere these days. Grocery stores, box stores, pharmacies, gas stations, sporting goods stores, and specialty markets are all offering at least a handful of options.
Protein bars are typically found in the vitamins or health & beauty section of retail stores. They are usually stocked near protein powder and shakes. Bars can be purchased online--individually or in bulk if you find a bar that you love.
Top Flavors for Women:
The Candy-Bar Style Bar
The majority of protein bars are meant to appeal to candy lovers. Chocolate, peanut butter, cookie dough, cookies and cream, chocolate and mint are all combinations intended to entice women who love sweets. They should feel like they're eating a treat and not a nutritious snack. Zone Perfect and Luna bars usually fall into this category.
Fruit & Nut Bars
Strawberry, blueberry, and cranberry bars are all very popular, tasty choices for those who aren't looking for a candy bar or those who want something a little more wholesome in addition to the protein. Pure Protein® has Strawberry Shortcake and Blueberry Crumb Cake bars. Luna Bar offers a Chocolate Cherry bar. Quest® bar offers Apple Pie flavored bars.
Gluten Free Bars
All Luna® bars are gluten free. Zone Perfect® now has a line of bars called Perfectly Simple where each bar is made from 10 ingredients or less and is gluten free. The flavors include Peanut Crunch, Cranberry Almond and Toasted Coconut. These bars are free of preservatives and colorings too.
If you can't find a bar you like or you don't want the extra expense in your budget, you can make protein bars at home from ingredients like oatmeal, flax, whey protein powder, nuts, dried fruit, coconut, or spices you prefer.