Healthy Protein Bars: How To Choose The Best Healthy Protein Bar 2021

 

Reviewed by Jaimee Gooley, R.D.

Written by Hannah Marchese


Let’s be honest; it can be almost impossible to find snacks that are truly healthy and high-quality. It seems that everyone has hopped on the ‘healthy train’ and, in turn, has started marketing products and ingredients as healthy when they are, in fact, not healthy at all - anyone else find themselves spending hours reading labels at the store and leaving with nothing?

This deceptive marketing makes going to the grocery store a daunting task. Nobody wants to sit there looking up ingredients they can barely pronounce. Plus, there’s just so much information available to consumers, and a lot of it differs. One person might say something is good for you, while another might say it’s terrible for you.

Here at Kalumi, we strive to make sure we present you with the most accurate information possible. We want you to have all the facts, so you’re equipped with the knowledge to make good choices. Not only do we want you to make good choices, but, more importantly, the right decisions for you, personally.


As we know, each person’s body is different and, as a result, has different things that work for them. Always honor your body by respecting what it needs! Focusing on balance with your health is a much easier (and better) approach overall.

So, let’s get back to healthy snacks, specifically, protein bars. People have a love/hate relationship with them. If you hate them, you probably haven’t found a bar that tastes good, has clean ingredients and makes you feel good. We know what you’re thinking: that’s impossible, right?

Wrong! There are actually some amazing protein bar options out there. The key is knowing what to look for in terms of ingredients. We are specifically talking about healthy protein bars, so we really want to focus on ingredients and quality.

Let’s get into it! It’s time to figure out how to choose the best healthy protein bar.

What Is a Protein Bar?

Just so we’re all on the same page, let’s talk about protein bars. What exactly are they? Basically, a protein bar is a bar that can be made from a variety of ingredients, but it has to contain a protein source. Typically, protein bars are marketed as healthy, but that’s not always the case. 

Just because something has protein in it doesn’t make it healthy. It’s true that we need protein for our bodies to function and that protein itself is healthy. However, it’s not always true that protein bars are healthy, given the fact that there can be additives and other unhealthy ingredients.  

A protein bar should contain a decent amount of protein. Women need around 57 grams of protein a day, while men need around 67 grams. Keep in mind this is just for the average person and doesn’t take into consideration special diets for people who need extra protein. 

Keep in mind that there is a limit to how much protein the body can properly absorb at once. The maximum rate is about 8-10 grams per hour. 

Therefore, a protein bar should contain at least 10 grams of protein in order to greatly contribute to your daily protein intake. If a bar had, say, only three grams of protein, you would probably be better off just eating a whole food protein source instead.

Types of Protein

Now that you know the basics of a protein bar, let’s talk about another thing to consider when choosing a bar: the type of protein that’s used. There are various sources and types of protein available when it comes to protein bars. The two main protein sources are animal-based protein and plant-based protein. Let’s take a closer look at these types.

Plant-Based Protein

Obviously, plant-based protein is derived from plants. There are typically no animal byproducts in a plant-based protein powder but always double-check. 

Plant-based protein powders are great for vegans (who do not consume any animal byproducts whatsoever), or just for people who are concerned about added hormones in animal-based protein products. 

The main types of plant-based protein include pea, hemp, soy, brown rice. Typically, you will find pea or hemp as the source of protein. These are the most common because they taste the best and are easy to produce. 

Pros of Plant-Based Protein: 

  • Good for the environment 
  • Cleaner than animal-based protein
  • More budget-friendly than animal-based protein 

Cons of Plant-Based Protein: 

Animal-Based Protein

Animal-based protein comes from animals, but it doesn’t necessarily refer to animal meat. There are different animal byproducts that make for great protein sources. Animal-based protein is not suitable for those who practice veganism. It may or may not be suitable for vegetarians, depending on whether or not they just don’t eat meat. 

The main types of animal protein include whey, bone broth protein, and egg or egg white protein. Whey is the most common type of animal-based protein. Almost all protein powders/bars designed for high-intensity workouts or athletes contain whey protein (when it comes to animal-based protein). 

Pros of Animal-Based Protein: 

  • Contains essential amino acids
  • Tastes better or comes in unflavored options 
  • Easier to digest 

 

Cons of Animal-Based Protein: 

  • Can be unclean if land animals with added hormones are used for the protein source 
  • Can be more expensive than plant-based protein 
  • Can lead to increased bowel movements and fatigue

What Should I Look for in a Protein Bar?

So, now you know more about protein bars and the different types of proteins that are available. It’s time to put this knowledge to the test and start choosing a protein bar! But wait—what exactly should you be looking for in a protein bar besides protein?

Before you rush off to the grocery store and grab the first protein bar you see, you should consider a few different things. When choosing any kind of packaged food, the key is always to read the label. That way, you’ll know exactly what you’re eating.

One thing that we already mentioned was making sure there’s enough protein in the bar to make it worth your while. Shoot for that minimum of 10 grams of protein per bar. Anything less is probably not worth your time (the exception being mini protein bars that are snack-size; there will obviously be a lesser amount of protein in these due to their size).

The next thing you want to look for is the actual ingredients in the bar. This is arguably the most important part of choosing a healthy protein bar, especially if all of the ingredients are nothing but fillers, additives, certain preservatives, and junk (added sugar, high fructose corn syrup, sugar alcohols, etc.).

Take a quick glance at the ingredients list: is it a mile long? Does it take up the entire wrapper? If the answer is yes, it more than likely contains a ton of additives and excess ingredients that will do your body more harm than good. Assuming you are reaching for a protein bar as a healthy snack, there’s really no point in eating a protein bar that has unhealthy ingredients.

Look for ingredients that are going to benefit your body. Protein is definitely great and essential, but there are other ingredients that would be an added bonus if they were in your bars as well. Remember, we always want to look at the overall picture.

Your protein bar should be a combination of clean protein and clean ingredients. You want it to be satiating and filling.

Here’s a quick and handy list of ingredients to look for when choosing a protein bar: 

  • Clean protein source (look for organic or non-GMO)
  • Nut butter (almond, cashew, peanut, etc.)
  • Vitamins and antioxidants
  • Superfoods (turmeric, spirulina, MCT oil, collagen, etc.) 
  • Healthy fats like cocoa butter 
  • Nuts and seeds (chia, flax, pumpkin) 
  • Clean and natural sweeteners (honey, agave, monk fruit)

What Is the Best and Healthiest Protein Bar?

Our Kalumi BEAUTYfood bars come in four flavors: Cocoa Crunch, Sweet Potato + Cinnamon, Lemon Love, and Almond Butter Chocolate Chip. Each bar contains eight grams of marine collagen, which we will discuss in detail later. Each bar contains 11-13 grams of protein, depending on the flavor. 

That is the perfect amount of protein for a snack! Remember, women need around 57 grams of protein a day. Having a Kalumi bar with eight grams of protein will get you well on your way to your daily protein intake. We’ve got the protein covered—what about the other ingredients? 

In all of our bars, you will find the addition of various superfoods, vitamins, and antioxidants. There’s sweet potato, MCT oil, and cocoa butter for antioxidants and clean fats. There’s also almond butter or cashew butter, which is a great source of protein, fats, and fiber. 

The bars are sweetened with organic agave and organic monk fruit, which are much healthier sweeteners than sugar alcohols, processed sugar, or syrups. Kalumi bars also contain up to three times more protein content than sugar. 

Plus, all our bars are gluten-free, non-GMO, dairy-free, and soy-free. You can be sure you’re getting a clean and satiating bar that’s packed with protein and tastes amazing!

What Is Collagen?

Each of our Kalumi bars contains eight grams of marine collagen. If you don’t know what this is, it’s time you learn because this one will change your life! Collagen is a protein that is found in the body. It’s built through chains of amino acids; these act as building blocks for the collagen in our body. You can find collagen almost anywhere in your body, including your skin, organs, tissue, joints, and bones. 

It’s an essential component of our overall health and wellness, along with several bodily functions. Here’s the best part: collagen helps improve skin hydration, elasticity, and roughness. Basically, it can help give you glowing, strong, and healthy skin. It’s like the holy grail of skin superfoods. 

Plus, it can do wonders for your body too. It can help build muscle mass, assist with joint and bone health. Basically, collagen is a do-it-all type of supplement. 

It’s important to note that our marine collagen comes from wild-caught fish that is sustainably sourced. That’s how you know you’re getting the cleanest and best collagen possible!

Conclusion

By now, you’re basically an expert on all things protein and healthy snacks. You’ve learned what to look for when choosing a protein bar. Clean ingredients and protein content really do matter.

You want to look for bars with over 10 grams of protein and contain healthy, real ingredients. Nut butter, healthy fats, and a clean source of animal-based or plant-based protein are all things to look for and signs of a healthy bar.

You want to avoid fake sweeteners, sugar alcohols, added processed sugar, and other similar items. Watch out for certain preservatives and additives. You also want to make sure your protein source is organic or non-GMO to ensure it’s high-quality and clean.

Don’t forget to look for added bonuses, including superfoods and collagen. You now know that collagen can do wonders for your skin and body and is a great thing to include in your daily diet.

Our Kalumi BEAUTYfood bars contain all of the necessary components of a healthy protein bar. They will make the perfect snack that fills you up, gives you energy, and boosts your daily protein intake!

 

Sources:

Revised Reference Values for the Intake of Protein | NCBI

The Role of the Anabolic Properties of Plant- versus Animal-Based Protein Sources in Supporting Muscle Mass Maintenance: A Critical Review | NCBI 

A Collagen Supplement Improves Skin Hydration, Elasticity, Roughness, and Density: Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Blind Study | NCBI

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