Nutritious energy bars for diabetes: is there such a thing? With all the reviews out there, the selection of available online are numerous. Getting and choosing bars to fit your individual circumstance can be simple if you keep to a few rules of the road. You should decide if choosing an energy bar is right for you and where exactly it fits in your diet.
Criteria for Selecting an Energy Bar
Okay, you decided that you want to include energy bars in your diet plan. They can be included as a snack, part of a basic meal or pick me up at the end of the day. When you go shopping, there are some factors to note:
- Note the serving size on the label. One of the items you want to be picky about is the serving size. I want to make sure I am not blowing my diet because my bar includes 2 or 3 servings when I eat it.
- Get a bar with a decent amount of protein in it. You want a bar with 5 grams or better of protein in it to make sure your nutritional values are met when you eat the bar. Protein is one of my basics when constructing a meal, even if it’s only a snack.
- Watch those calories! You don’t want to blow your diet on a bar that fills you up with way too many calories. 200-250 is a good goal to shoot for. Don’t go too far beyond your goal.
- Make sure the choice you make is just not another candy substitute. A bar is meant to be a part of a nutritious diet although it should please your taste buds. Read the label and make sure it meets your needs nutritionally.
Comparison of Common Bars on the Market
This is a small selection of bars available on the market. If you are interested in a more detailed comparison, you should get a comprehensive review.
- The RX Bar. I have read glowing reviews about this one. Ingredients seem to be straightforward and taste tests are phenomenal. Comes in several flavors. With 12 grams of protein and a total of 215 calories I give it a thumbs up.
- Special K Pretzel Chocolate Bar. This bar is better consumed as a snack or part of a bigger meal. It is a little low on the protein side (5 grams) but is still on the diet radar at 100 calories. Very easy on the budget.
- Fiber One Protein Coconut Almond Bar. A little down my list in choice of bars. This bar contains 6 grams of protein (okay in this regard) but contains 3 grams of sugar alcohols so watch your digestion. If you are allergic to coconuts or nut products this one is a no-no. Still, at 120 calories, it fits nicely into the diet.
- Kind Protein Energy Bars. Tops the list with protein at 12 grams. Has 5 grams of fiber but would be a bit heavy for a snack coming in at 240 calories. Many people like this type of energy bar and taste tests are great for it. Carbs total are 18 grams.
- Nature Valley Dark Peanut Butter Protein Bars. An excellent choice at 10 grams of protein and 14 grams of carbs. It has a total of 190 calories and is at the top of my list as a definite recommend.
Fitting Energy Bars Into Your Personal Nutrition Plan
Most bars fit into the snack category when it comes to meal planning. The lighter calorie bars probably make a better fit as a dessert type compliment to lunch or dinner meals. Some people prefer taking these as a prior to exercise type treat – just be careful when consuming these prior to exercise and make sure the energy boost is truly worth it.
I prefer using my energy bar in the snack column and like using it in the afternoon after a nutritious lunch. For this reason, I use the more sturdy calorie containing bars as my choice. I have eased away from bars which contain sugar alcohols and favor the lower carb containing varieties as they make my impending dinner easier to digest without any issues.
Alternatives to Energy Bars
Just put any food that would be useful as a snack in place for an energy bar and you will still get useful results. Yogurt is a good choice. There are many varieties of commercial yogurt on the market but I tend to favor the Greek type as it tends to more carb friendly and easy on the calories. Plus, you can put small amounts of low sugar containing fruit portions in your yogurt for a treat.
Speaking of fruit, it can serve as an alternative choice for energy bars. Berries are my typical choice in this regard as they are naturally lower in sugar. Low sugar apples, avocados and not completely ripe pears are great choices as well. Be careful with citrus fruits, pineapples and such as they can contain too much sugar.
Vegetables and vegetable juices are great substitutes for energy bars. My favorite vegetable juice makes for a great pick me up and is a beverage I often enjoy. Celery sticks are great snacks with cheese, a small amount of peanut butter or a bit of a good ranch dressing. Small salads, slaws, cucumbers and plants like zucchini are all good alternate choices. Use your own taste and discretion and you can choose something that fits your palate.
Can Energy Bars Help Me Lose Weight?
Bars can help in that regard, but never use an energy bar as a panacea for weight loss. Following a low carb lifestyle and tailoring your meals to help in your weight loss goals are the best strategy. A good breakfast is certainly an important part of kick starting the day when it comes to weight loss.
Some diets, such as a keto diet, employ intermittent fasting as a technique for weight loss. This can be useful in other circumstances as well. The idea is to ease pressure on your pancreas in terms of digestion. It should not be undertaken lightly and requires research before you incorporate these type of techniques into your diet – talk to your doctor and follow their directions if you choose this path.
One aspect that may make a bar useful in weight loss is fiber content. Choosing a higher fiber type bar will make you feel fuller (and high protein provides a satiety factor as well). Including these type of bars into your nutritional plan can assist you in your weight loss endeavors. Read the label, choose wisely and bon appetit!