How To Pick A #MHWApproved Bar
If you take a peek in my purse or desk drawer you’ll always find a few must haves: a journal, day planner, lipgloss, tweezers, booty bands, lots of colored pens, crayons, and then there are always some random surprises!
One thing I ALWAYS have on hand: MHW approved protein bars! I love chia pudding, hummus + veggies, and apples + cinnamon for snacks, but on days when I'm running to a meeting, picking up my kiddo from school, or traveling, a bar is the perfect grab-and-go for your early morning snack (M2) or late afternoon snack (M4). It’s just SO EASY and makes sure I never get hangry.
I get a lot of questions about what makes a bar Milk and Honey Wellness (MHW) approved?
So I'm giving you all the info on what to look for so that when you are in the store so you can break it down with a lot less stress and time!
When selecting a bar, first, think about the purpose of the protein bar.
Did you miss a meal?
For a meal replacement, choose one that totals up to between 200 and 300 calories (or two 150-calorie bars) and that contains 15 to 20 grams of protein--but doesn't have any coating, like chocolate or yogurt. If you’re replacing a meal, you should make it less candy or treat and more meal.
Did you just finish a workout?
Choose a bar that has 10 to 15 grams of protein, as well as similar ratios of carbs and fats. Don’t be afraid of fat if the fat is naturally occurring. Nuts, seeds, and avocado are all great sources.
A bar with 150 to 200 calories will ensure you don’t blow your entire workout in a few bites. Shoot for a carb + protein ratio of 2:1.
Do you need an afternoon snack?
They be but little, but protein bars may be packed with more calories than you need in a snack. As an afternoon pick-me-up (M4) select one in the 130 to 200 calorie range. If you choose a bar with good ingredients, it has all the parts of a healthy and nutritious snack. Some carbs to help with blood sugar, protein to slow the release of blood sugar so you get sustained and long lasting energy, and healthy fat to help with absorption of certain vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients!
Navigating the hundreds of different bars in grocery and health food stores can be overwhelming. Which one is #MHWapproved?! I put together this criteria for choosing the perfect bar to fit within the REVIVIFY Nutrition Plan guidelines. This is what I personally look for.....
When choosing a bar for your morning snack (M2) or afternoon snack (M4), make sure it falls between these guidelines PER SERVING:
✓ Less than 200 calories
✓ 4-8g fat
✓ 6-10g protein
✓ Less than 20g carbohydrates
✓ Less than 10g sugars
✓ Avoid high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners
✓ Simple, clean ingredients you can pronounce and see
✓ Keeps you feeling light and energized!
Just for you…
6 Easy Tips To Spot The Healthiest Protein Bars
I have scoured the market for bars that fit my criteria AND tasted great. There are plenty of health bars that are nutritious, but not very fun to eat. And who wants that? On the flip side, there are also some “health” bars that are actually packed with sugars and not-so-good-for-you ingredients. With flavors like “chocolate covered brownie,” it’s hard to tell if what’s lurking inside is really better for you than treats from the candy aisle. No thank you!! 🙅
1. Eyeball ingredients.
Glance at the list of ingredients before checking out the nutrition stats. Many protein bars have a lot of junk added to them! While skimming the packaging, ask yourself, “Can I pronounce the ingredients?” and “Do I recognize them?” If not, put it back on the shelf.
2. Scope out sneaky sugar sources.
Beware the protein bar that contains the same amount of sugar as the Snickers you’re trying so hard to avoid. The sweet stuff can go by many different names. I have seen up to five different forms of sugar in some bars.
Maltodextrin, agave, brown sugar, dextrose, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, corn sweetener, fruit juice, maple syrup, molasses and any of the –ose words are sugar sources.
The sugar is broken down super quickly in your body, which could result in a sugar high and crash later on. Your goal: Aim for eight to 10 grams of sugar per bar.
If the product is fruit-based, it’s OK for the sugar count to be higher, as long as the bar also contains three to four grams of fiber.
3. Check in on calorie counts.
If you’re scarfing down 100-calorie diet bars only to feel ‘hangry’ later on, choose something more substantial next time. Your snack’s calories should correlate with your weight, gender and fitness goals. For a 130-pound woman, I recommends munching on between 175 to 250 calories per snack. For a 180-pound man, you could try eating 200 to 350 calories. After a workout, you’ll need even more to replenish your energy and prevent soreness. Most women should aim for 300 calories, and men should shoot for 350 to 400 calories, which can come from a combination of a bar and protein shake or other high-protein snack.
3. Refuel with the right ratios.
Are carbs your sworn enemy? Well, they shouldn’t be!! Carbs are essential after a tough workout session, and carbs help stimulate muscle repair and growth by replenishing glycogen.
When eaten before a workout, they can provide energy for the central nervous system, which helps you mentally power through long runs or bike rides. You’ve got to refuel your muscles and the key is to consume the proper ratio of carbs to protein. When looking at all the bars out there, the ratio can range anywhere from 1:1 to 4:1. I actually prefer [consuming] closer to a 2:1 ratio, especially for people who are going to the gym and need a good source of protein without so many calories. A 4:1 ratio (or close to that) is optimal for longer endurance events like marathons.
5. Avoid fake sweeteners.
If you have a sensitive stomach, steer clear of sugar alcohols and substitutes because they can cause GI problems like bloating or diarrhea. Plus, studies show that these additives could spur you to binge later on. There’s a lot of research that shows when you eat or drink something sweet but you don’t get the sugar, you end up craving something sweet later on.
Red flag ingredients include erythritol, hydrogenated starch hydrolysates, isomalt, lactitol, maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol, and xylitol.
6. Focus on healthy fats.
Fats are your friend — as long as they come from natural and nutritious sources. Nuts about nuts? That’s a good thing because almonds and other nuts will fuel you and keep you satiated.
Less healthy types of fats can come from added oils…like partially hydrogenated oils.
Less than 10 grams of fat and six grams of saturated fat per bar is ideal.