There is an extremely wide selection of energy bars available in most grocery stores today. The more brands there are, the more variety of bars there will be, and not all bars are created equally. It’s difficult to make a generalization about how healthy all energy bars are, because each of us is looking for something different in a bar. We can, however, point you in the direction of what ingredients make an energy bar healthy or unhealthy. So, let’s get started!
What Makes an Energy Bar “Healthy”?
That’s right — some energy bars aren’t any better for you than candy bars. And they probably cost more, too! You want to avoid paying top dollar for something that’s equivalent to a Snickers bar when you’re making a choice based on your health (or your wallet!) But how can you tell if a bar has too much sugar in it? We recommend sticking to energy bars that contain less than 35% of calories from sugar. You can calculate this number by multiplying the grams of sugar in a bar and dividing that number by the amount of calories. Tahoe Trail Bars average at the low amount of 22-23% of calories from sugar content.
Naturally occurring sugars found in fruit or grains are fine, but make sure your energy bar contains no added sugar, even if it’s a “natural” sweetener like agave or brown rice syrup. Agave contains more fructose than high fructose corn syrup, a chemically made sweetener that you definitely want to avoid. Eating excessive amounts of sugar can increase health risks, and sugar will only provide you with a temporary energy rush and won’t fuel you throughout the day.
Low in Saturated Fats
Don’t get us wrong, some fats are good for you — in order for the body to function and absorb nutrients, you need to consume certain fats. You can find healthy fats in nuts and seeds, which are main ingredients in many healthy energy bars. However, make sure the energy bar you’re about to eat does not contain high levels of saturated fats. According to the National Institute of Health, “protein from plant sources tends to be lower in saturated fat, contains no cholesterol, and provides fiber and other health-promoting nutrients.” Tahoe Trail Bars are 100% vegan, making it easy for you to incorporate plant-based protein (and therefore, lower amounts of fat) into your diet.
Contains a Substantial Amount of Fiber
In order for an energy bar to do its job (i.e. give you energy and keep you full), it needs to contain at least three grams of fiber. Especially if you’re using it as a meal replacement. Fiber keeps you full and regulates your blood sugar levels, and if you eat a bar that contains a substantial amount of fiber, you’ll maintain a higher energy level for a longer period of time. Not only does fiber keep you satiated, it also promotes healthy digestion and regulates bowel movements. Other long-term health benefits of eating fiber include lower cholesterol levels, potential weight loss, and living a longer life.
But, before you check the fiber level of a bar and call it a day, make sure you know the source of the fiber. We like to stick to naturally occurring fiber found in fruit and grains, and avoid inulin, which is a type of fiber supplement. In large amounts, it can upset your stomach. Tahoe Trail Bars are made with naturally fiber-rich oats and dried fruit that maintain your energy levels.
Packed With Protein!
At a minimum, a healthy energy bar contains at least five grams of protein. Protein, in addition to fiber, gives you energy, and increases the value of an energy bar. Tahoe Trail Bars contain up to ten grams of protein, making them a hearty meal replacement or a substantial, on-the-go snack. Besides reducing appetite and hunger levels, protein increases muscle mass, strengthens your bones, boosts metabolism, and lowers your blood pressure.
Energy Bars Can Help You Lose Weight
If your health goal is to shed a few pounds, (healthy) energy bars can help you do just that. Regularly carrying an energy bar with you can make it easier to make healthy choices in your diet. When life gets in the way and we end up hungry in the middle of a busy work day with nothing to eat, it’s good to have a healthy meal option besides greasy fast food or a processed, vending machine snack.
And believe it or not, eating more frequently may help you shed those extra pounds.
Some say that snacking is an integral part of weight loss, as it helps maintain your metabolism and prevents you from overeating at mealtime. Rather than eating a huge lunch and hoping that it sustains you until dinner, you can snack on an energy bar in the afternoon to tide yourself over – and, you end up eating less at your next meal, helping you reach your weight loss goals.
Healthy Energy Bars are Healthy
It seems obvious, but not all energy bars meet the same needs, and not all of them are healthy. If it’s clean burning energy you really seek, a bar made with natural ingredients is miles better than a dressed-up candy bar packed with high fructose corn syrup. It will sustain you longer, providing you with the fuel you need for a day of conquering the outdoors. At Tahoe, we pack our bars with slow-burning carbs and protein and use natural ingredients, so you can be assured you’ll be fueled up for whatever activity you have planned.
But healthy energy bars can provide you with quick, convenient nutrient-rich energy, and may even help you lose weight in the process. Our bars are non-GMO, plant based, and gluten free. We also pride ourselves on using whole, unprocessed ingredients. We want to make sure you know exactly what you’re eating, and don’t have to parse through an encyclopedia-sized ingredient list. If you’re in the market for a healthy energy bar that actually tastes good, you can opt for a Tahoe Trail Bar with confidence.