Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Best Snack Bars To Beat That 3pm Snack Attack

luna bar, thunderbird energetica, thinkthin bars, luna bars, luna bar protein
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I am one of those snack bar freaks, a connoisseur even.  If you find the right one, it can be a perfect midafternoon snack or a quality breakfast or lunch replacement in a pinch.

For a snack, look for something that is between 100-200 calories.  For a meal replacement, based on your personal caloric intake, try not to go above 350 calories.  Try to avoid bars that contain a ton of sugar or sugar alcohols, hydrogenated oils or saturated fats.  It's a good idea to find a bar that has a good mix of protein, carbohydrates and fats.

Here are a few of my personal favorites:

Thunderbird Energetica - every flavor is delicious but I am particularly fond of the Cashew Fig variety.

thinkThin Lean Protein & Fiber - a great afternoon snack that delivers 10 grams of protein and only 150 calories and five grams of sugar. Also like their Divine bars.

Luna Bar Protein - a lower glycemic bar, with 12 grams of protein that's under 200 calories.  More of candy bar consistency.

Luna Bar  - in general, these provide around eight grams of protein, five grams of fiber with around 13 grams of sugar. They're a better alternative than a cookie that my former fat self would eat. I especially love the Blueberry BlissChocolate Peppermint Stick or Iced Oatmeal Raisin flavors. They also come in 100-calorie mini form, which I love.

LARABAR - sort of a girlie bar but is 100% natural and made with real food like nuts, dates, apples, carrots and other products you recognize. The Carrot Cake flavor is great. Be careful, though. I have almost broken a tooth from a rogue pecan shell in LARABARS. These also come in 100-calorie minis. I also love their Coconut Macaroon Sweet & Salty Über bars. YUM!

Fiber One Protein Caramel Nut Chewy Bars - don't judge. These aren't 100% all natural but if I am craving chocolate or a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, these hit the spot. They have 130 calories, seven grams of protein, seven grams of sugar and five grams of fiber. They're insanely good.

Make Your Own Snack Bar

You can also make your own bar. Nigella Lawson has a great snack bar recipe she calls a "breakfast bar" but you can adjust it to your own personal preference.  I alter it by using nonfat milk, almonds or walnuts instead of peanuts and nix the coconut. I always add flaxseeds for the omega 3 benefit.

I've made a goji berry walnut version and oatmeal raisin (tip: use liberal amounts of cinnamon)  These truly are "clean out the pantry" bars which are cheaper than anything you can buy in the store.

What am I missing? I'm always on the lookout for relatively good-for-you snack bars. Please share your favorites in the comments section.

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