How do you pick a healthy protein bar?
Our initial answer is to make your own! It’s the cleanest option by far and better for the environment (no plastic wrappers). We’ve got several delicious protein bar recipes, like our Superfood Bars (from The Conscious Cleanse Cookbook) and today’s featured recipe, Sunflower Oat Bars.
But we get that sometimes life gets busy and you need something quick and easy on the go or don’t have time to make a batch of bars at home. So today, we’re also sharing our top tips for picking a healthy protein bar, plus some of our personal favorites.
Here’s our top 4 tips for picking a clean protein bar:
- Be on the lookout for common allergens. Many protein bars can contain soy protein, whey or casein protein (both derived from dairy), or eggs, so avoid bars with those ingredients when possible.
- Avoid bars that contain added sugars. Here are a few hidden names for sugar that you might find on nutrition labels: high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, barley malt, beet sugar, cane juice, fructose (or anything ending is -ose), fruit juice, and corn syrup. Focus on bars that have natural sweeteners, like honey or dried fruit.
- Steer clear of bars containing artificial ingredients, chemicals, preservatives or other additives. Some common examples include citric acid, ascorbic acid, saccharin, aspartame, sucralose, caramel color, hydrolyzed soy protein, soy lecithin, xanthan gum, guar gum, and carrageenan.
- As a general rule – look for fewer ingredients, and make sure they’re all ingredients you recognize as REAL food coming from nature. For example, here’s the list of ingredients in a Cashew Cookie Larabar: Cashews, Dates. That’s it!
Here are a few of our favorite clean protein bars:
Health Warrior Organic Pumpkin Seed Protein Bars
We hope you enjoy these tips, recommendations, and today’s featured recipes! Do you have a favorite protein bar you’d like us to take a look at? Leave a comment below.
Jo & Jules
Sunflower Oat Bars with Collagen
Yield: 12 bars
- 2 ½ cups gluten-free oats
- 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips or raw cacao nibs
- ⅔ cup nut or seed butter of choice
- ½ cup honey, add more if needed to help mixture stick together
- 1 scoop EVOLUTION_18 Beauty Collagen Powder (optional)
In a large bowl mix oats, sunflower seeds, cranberries, collagen powder (if using) and chocolate chips (or cacao nibs). In a small bowl whisk together nut butter and honey. Pour wet ingredients into oat mixture and mix well until everything is sticky and combined. If mixture is too dry, add more honey (up to 2/3 cup) until it sticks together well. Line a shallow glass baking dish with plastic wrap. Press in mixture evenly and cover with more plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 4 hours. Cut into bar shapes, wrap, and keep refrigerated ready to eat. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
(from The Conscious Cleanse Cookbook)
These bars are packed with superfood goodness and easy to make. Did we also mention they’re delicious? Get the recipe (plus 150 more yummy clean recipes) in our cookbook, The Conscious Cleanse Cookbook, here.
People often get confused while choosing a protein bar because of the number of choices available. Your article provides useful information that can help at the time of choosing a protein bar. Avoiding bars that contain added sugars is a good suggestion. It is important to check the ingredients before selecting one.
Thank you very much for the recipe for Sunflower Oat Bars with Collagen. Keep sharing such information in the future also.
Hi Sumit, Thank you for your kind words. We hope you enjoy the recipe. XO, J&J
But collagen powder is also an artificial ingredient like xanthan and other ingredients you mentioned made by fermentation. You shouldn’t have any fermented products or drink if those seem artificial to you. Caramel powder is burnt sugar then freeze dried. There is no chemical in that.
Hi Indu, thank you for your comment! In this blog we’re aren’t just talking about artificial ingredients or chemicals, but also stressing the inclusion of additives and preservatives that may cause reactions for consumers. Some people react to sugar, so caramel color would not work for them. In this case we aren’t referring to xanthan gum as an artificial ingredient, but rather an additive. We tend to spotlight xanthan gum, carrageenan, and other added thickeners because a lot of people have sensitivities to them. We aren’t saying they’re unhealthy or inherently wrong — just that they aren’t allergen-free. Our main focus with our recipes is to minimize allergens as much as possible so that everyone can enjoy them! We hope this clears this up for you. If you have any more questions about this, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. XO, The Conscious Cleanse Team