So I have tried a LOT of protein bars! I am a chocaholic anyway, so it was inevitable that when I tried to cut out chocolate and reduce my carbs that I was going to have to find a replacement. There is some debate about using Protein Bars as part of a healthy clean diet as they do contain carbohydrates, some of which is sugar and usually the ratio of protein to carbs is similar. Ideally a good protein bar should contain a minimum of 20g of protein and ideally the protein content should be higher than the Carbohydrate content. As a female I also only consider protein bars under 250Kcal, especially since my daily calorie limit is around 1500Kcal or lower. Men have the advantage of having a much higher calorie allowance usually 2500Kcal plus, so have more flexibility.
I have previously reviewed my best and worst protein bars here: https://doctorelleblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/12/protein-bars-uk-best-worst/
My 1st best was the USN Delite – Toffee-Almond which comes in 2 flavours. Its downfall is its too small and I don’t always feel satisfied after one 50g bar (Note there is an 86g bar available but it is a super high calorie count probably aimed at Men who have a higher calorie allowance or who are bulking). My 2nd best is MusclePharm Combat Crunch Bar which does leave me satisfied as it feels more substantial and I love the texture, density and the flavour.
The MusclePharm Combat Crunch Bar also come in so many flavours! I found some deals on Bodybuilding.com and PredatorNutrition for buy 2 get 1 free or buy 1 get 50% off the 2nd box. So I have bought 7 boxes of the different flavours as follows and I have ordered them in terms of my favourite flavour:
- Cinnamon Twist – 9.5 delicious sweet flavour and soft texture
- White Chocolate Raspberry – 9.5 delicious sweet flavour and soft texture
- Chocolate Coconut – 9.4 delicious sweet flavour, not as soft as the first 2
- Peanut Butter Cup – 9.0 Really tasty
- Chocolate Brownie – 8.5 Deep chocolate flavour but denser and chewier than others
- Birthday Cake – 8.0 Nice but didn’t blow me away and wouldn’t buy again
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough 7.8 OK my least favourite in terms of flavour/texture
Overall this range of bars is exceptional especially when you try other protein bar ranges. I will absolutely continue to buy the top 3, possibly the top 4 flavours in this range and keep in my cupboard as a snack or when I have a sugar craving. There are also other flavours available such as Cookies & Cream and Chocolate cake, but some of these flavours are difficult to get hold of in the UK, however I did manage to get hold of the 7 flavours through Bodybuilding.com and PredatorNutrition at good value.
Nutrition (Cinnamon Twist): Calories 210, Protein 20g, Carbs 25g (5g sugar, 1g polyols), Fats 7g, Fibre 12g.
As I mentioned before there is some debate whether protein bars are even that healthy and I understand this. However for me personally, I really struggle to cut out sweets and chocolate out of my diet. I can give up savoury foods and alcohol, but I need my sweet treats. So when I need something sweet, I believe eating a 210kcal protein bar or even half a bar is better for me than reaching for a chocolate bar, or a bag of skittles as it also helps me reach my daily protein target of 1g protein per Ib of body weight. Some days I’m below my target, and having a protein bar not only acts as a treat, but also increases my protein intake for the day, something the bag of skittles wouldn’t do.
Other sweet alternatives are protein mousse and protein hot chocolate which I will review at a later date. What’s your sweet treat?