Your body needs protein to build bodily tissue, make you feel satiated and to recover from exercise. Whole-food sources of protein are the best choice for getting this essential nutrient. Supplemental protein, in the form of bars, can be convenient as a quick, easy option when snacking on a slab of salmon isn't practical. Some bars taste like chalk, whereas others make you think you're munching on a kid's tin of play dough. Many bars are simply glorified candy bars -- they taste good but they have a large number of fat calories, sugar and artificial ingredients. Women can find good-tasting protein bars filled with quality ingredients when they need that quick post-workout boost or mid-day snack.
Look for protein bars made from food sources, rather than from vague proprietary blends of protein foods. Whey protein, nuts and seeds are examples of real food protein, which generally taste pretty good and mix well into a protein bar. Taste is subjective, so which ingredients are best will depend on your personal taste. If you like the taste of whey and can tolerate milk products, it's a good choice for bars because it digests quickly and gets to working muscles, especially following a workout.
Certainly, sweetening contributes to a bar's deliciousness, but sweetening might also overload the bar with sugar grams that derail your diet plan. Some of the best-tasting bars might contain corn syrup and sugar alcohols, which can wreak havoc on some the digestive tracts of some women. Sometimes, artificial sweeteners can reduce a bar's total sugar content but they may leave you with an odd aftertaste. Often, the best-tasting bars are made from real cane sugar, honey, agave nectar or maple syrup. Some bars contain dried fruit, such as raisins or dates, as the sole sweetener. These options are healthier than artificial sugars, but whether you like their taste is your choice.
Fattening the Bar
Some bars use fractionated palm oil and chemicals to create chocolate or vanilla-flavored coatings. These ingredients add unhealthy saturated fats that can leave a slick texture on your palate. Also, they often aren't as tasty as coatings made from nut butter or from real dark chocolate. Coconut oil and cocoa butter tend to make more palatable, naturally textured coatings with medium-chain saturated fats, which are better for your health. If a bar has a higher amount of fat than you expected, read the ingredient list. Nuts and seeds will boost a bar's fat content, but the fat is healthy and unsaturated, and it can curb your appetite and support good health.
Even if a bar tastes good, note the calorie, fat and sugar content. Some bars are supersized -- designed for muscle-building bodybuilding men -- not the average woman. A bar with no more than 300 calories is an appropriate post-workout snack or for a meal replacement.