Do you experience a mid-afternoon or mid-morning slump? You feel your stomach growl, your attention span fade, and perhaps a little lightheaded. A quality protein bar is a healthy alternative to a cookie or sugary snack.
Everyone has those days. Perhaps you are busy working at an event such as a tradeshow or rushing to meet a deadline. Maybe you spend your day as a stay at home mom chasing your toddler, making school runs, and cleaning the home. You make healthy meals for your child, but during the day you are focused on your family’s needs not your own. Sometimes you don’t have enough time to stop for a meal.
One those days, a protein bar may fuel your body without hindering your productivity. The key is finding the right one for your lifestyle and nutritional needs.
Why Include Protein as Your Mid-day Snack
Many people consume too many simple carbohydrates each day, but not enough protein. Since many people reach for convenient snacks like chips or cookies they find swapping them for a quality bar may create a more favorable ratio.
Others may find they feel better if they enjoy a bar as a mid-day snack. Protein is a slower-burning energy that leaves them feeling more alert than a carb-heavy snack.
Be sure to read the tips on how to choose the right bar. Some are very rich in calories so a sedentary office worker may prefer to eat just half as a snack.
Different people benefit from different quantities of protein. Your needs vary by your size and activity level, according to Daniel Pendick of Harvard Men’s Health Watch. To estimate yours, multiply your weight in pounds by 0.36 or use this calculator from the USDA for an estimate that factors in your activity level.
How To Choose the Right Bar For Your Needs
- Look at the total calorie count as people frequently underestimate it. Some bars are designed for meal replacement while others are a post-workout snack. Be aware how your bar fits within your total nutritional strategy.
- Look at the balance of protein, carbs, and fats. This varies among brands, and some may better suit your needs than others. Also, be aware of any added sweeteners and sugars as sometimes people are surprised.
- Read the ingredient list to ensure it contains nutritious ingredients that fit your dietary needs.
- Be aware of portion size as some bars may be intended for bodybuilders, marathon runners or other people with more extreme needs. More isn’t always better, but you can adjust your favorite bar by enjoying half or quarter sized portions to avoid consuming too many calories.
With the right strategy, a protein bar is a delicious and convenient way to add more protein to your diet. Just be aware of how much protein you need and how your bar fits your diet and lifestyle.