I am the first to admit that eating a diet consisting of all “real” foods like fruits, veggies and lean proteins is really the ideal when it comes to losing fat quickly, shedding water and I encourage most of my competition girls to do this, especially in the final weeks leading up to a show.
BUT, for those who simply want to lose a few lbs and might not be getting up on stage in a bikini anytime soon, there needs to be some good convenience options that can be incorporated into the daily meal plan for fast, on-the-go eating. I am a huge believer in having tasty, healthy FAST options to not only maintain the fat-loss lifestyle, but curb cravings! And if I can get a little chocolate in the form of a protein bar without derailing my fat loss efforts, I am all for it! Here are our favorite options and why we like them!
Ultra Low Carb Peanut Butter Chocolate bar from Biogenesis/Metabolic Effect: One of our favorite bars because it tastes amazing (has chocolate!), with only 6 net carbs, plus 5g of fiber and 10g of protein. It is also both gluten-free and soy-free, all natural and made with whey protein. Best for a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack, or after-dinner dessert.
Think Thin Bars: These bars are all natural and lower in carbs with 20 grams of protein. They are sweetened with sugar alcohol (maltitol), so stick to 1 bar per day to start to decrease the chances of stomach upset, gas and bloating. Some of the protein comes in the form of soy (along with whey and rice) so be aware if you are allergic to soy or shun products containing soy. Depending on which flavors you get, most taste pretty good. The new Nuts and White Chocolate bars are to die for, and I personally love the Chocolate Fudge version (see pic) nuked in the microwave for 10-15 seconds, melts it just enough to make it brownie-like. Did I mention that I love chocolate? :)
Balance Carb Well Bars: These bars from Balance come in Caramel n’ Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chocolate, and are probably taste the most like a Snickers bar of all the ones on this list–YUM! With 2 net carbs and 14g protein per bar, they are not only a great mid-afternoon snack option, but also low in calories for a bar at 190 cals. The protein is a mix of casein, whey and soy, which is fine, but beware of the 20g of maltitol (sugar alcohol) and keep it to 1 bar/day.
LUNA Protein Bars: LUNA’s newest bar, I have only seen these at Whole Foods Markets and a couple select grocery stores, but they are yummy delicious and a big improvement over LUNA’s other bars in terms of their nutrient ratio. At 15g of net carbs, this bar is the highest in carbs of all on the list, so perhaps best to have this all-natural bar earlier in the day (mid-morning) or even after a workout if you can’t get a shake. With 12g of protein and 180 calories, it is pretty good on the fat-loss scale, and the cookie dough flavor is to die for :)
Atkins Bars: Though there are some fitness and nutrition experts who may not agree with me on this one due to the fact that most Atkins bars contain artificial sweeteners, you can’t argue with the nutrient ratios and high fiber/high protein quality of these bars (10g and 18g, respectively). Not to mention, they taste amazing. My favorite is the Chocolate Peanut Butter bar and the Caramel Nut Chew Atkins Indulge bar (great dessert option and this one may actually really be a Snickers in disguise :)). One other cool quality is that the potassium content matches the sodium content, helping off-set the impact of the sodium.
In short, it is important to have options when getting started on the fat loss journey, and being able to indulge in a little chocolate along the way is helpful in curbing cravings and feeling satisfied. So why not grab an effective protein bar now and squash the craving rather than relying strictly on will-power for as long as possible, which we all know leads to a later binge on a big bag of M & M’s! :) Enjoy!! ox Jill