While living away from home at college it's often hard to make sure you're getting proper nutrients, especially protein. I try to stay away from the meat in the cafeteria, but the catch is I'm limiting protein in my diet! Thus, I find protein from other sources, like nuts, whole milk, beans, tuna (the occasional can in my room), and protein bars! They're delicious, even if you don't like super healthy stuff! Here is a list of my favorite bars that helps make getting essential nutrients easier, especially when your time is limited! Most Energizing: Green's Plus Chocolate Energy Bars-- alkaline-forming, cold-processed, high energy herbal extracts. It contains awesome ingredients like almond butter, echinacea root extract, barley grass, wheat grass, brown rice crisps, quinoa sprout, grape seed extract, and other ingredients that really excite me! They are pretty darn pricy, which stinks, so I ration them out for a while, but they are a great way to wake up in the morning before class. Plus, it's kind of funny to freak people out because the inside of the bar literally looks green! I made my two friends try it though, and they said it wasn't bad. Also, if you're watching your fructose intake (the sugar naturally found in fruit) you should consider only eating half of this, because it does have a good amount of sugar due to the organic dates, honey, cane sugar, and berry juice inside. (24grams actually!) So take that into account. However, also note that it is 100% organic, non-gmo, 5g fiber, 260 cals, 3.5g saturated fat, 8g good fats, Vitamin A beta carotene 2000iu, Vitamins B, C, E, Calcium 150 mg, Iron 2.7mg, and has only 50mg sodium. I love these funky things!!
Most Delicious: PowerCrunch with ProtoWhey. I try not to eat these as much, because Stevia is still relatively new and I'm not sure how good it is for you, even though it comes from a leaf. Also, for those of you who don't like the taste of stevia you might not like these, but I think they are delicious!! The Peanut Butter Fudge flavor is my favorite-- it's actually more of a dessert in my mind because it tastes like a chocolate wafer cookie. 13 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, 200 cals.
Most Protein for the Calories: Clif Builders "The Entirely Natural Protein Bar". My FAVORITE is Chocolate Mint. It's so delicious. I recommended them to my brother the other day-- I think since it says "builders" on it, I'll be able to intrigue him into eating them haha. They are the perfect blend of chocolatey, crispy, creamy and chewy. 23 vits and minerals, 20 grams of sugar, 4 grams fiber, 270 cals, 8g fat. The one thing I will note though, is that you probably shouldn't eat more than one of these per day. There is a good amount of sugar which really won't help your waistline unless you're eating this after a workout. Just keep that in mind.
Most Delicious Granola Bar- Clif Mojo Sweet and Salty. The new Chocolate Almond Coconut flavor is really great--tastes like an Almond Joy! My sister loves the Peanut Butter Pretzel kind, and the Mountain Mix is really delicious too-- which is a little more fruity with some chocolate in it. 8g protein, low glycemic, 3g fiber, 10g sugar, 200 cals, 12g fat. These are great if you're looking for an afternoon snack. I like to break it up and mix it with yogurt!
Best Nutrition for Your Calories Granola Bar: Kashi TLC Chewy Bars TLC Bars. Simple, small snack with lowest amount of sugar. 140 calories 5 grams fat 7 grams protein. 4 grams fiber, 5 grams sugar. You REALLY can't beat that! My favorite is the Peanut Peanut Butter Chewy. I like the crunchy/crispiness it provides and it's not overpoweringly sweet-- which makes it also awesome for breaking up and eating with yogurt, and also perfect to simply grab and go!
The Rundown: Green's Energy Bars are the most expensive, which stinks because they are so delicious and make you feel awesome-- so those are a treat every once in a while-- but if you can wait and order them online at vitacost.com you'll save a bunch! Clif Builders are great because they are available in many different stores and they have a great amount of nutrients and 20 grams of protein. Kashi is low in sugar and a great pick-me-up. All in all, a good rule of thumb is, if you can't pronounce it, or you don't know where it could come from in nature, you probably shouldn't eat it. Which is why I try to stay away from other bars that report on the label that they have no sugar, but when you further investigate actually have around 12g of sugar alcohols on average. Even though I really used to like thinkThin bars (which are available at Trader Joe's) and they are in my opinion probably better for you than bars with aspartame and Splenda (sucralose), which I stay away from, both because of their taste and their non-nutritional properties. Check out this article about natural vs. artificial sweeteners.