Everyone tries to be healthy and make good snack choices, especially when traveling. For many, the protein bar has been the only “healthy” option to be found in convenience stores and airport terminals. But are they really the healthy choice or are you better off and probably happier just grabbing a good old candy bar and diet Coke and going on your way?
Let us take a closer look at these “healthy” options and see how they stack up against some favorite candy bars. We all know you would never choose a Snickers or a Payday. After all, you aren’t a teenager with the metabolism of an elite athlete, but was your “healthy” choice any better?
A chocolate covered nougat with caramel and nuts. A regular size bar has 271 calories, 14 grams of fat, 35 grams of carbohydrate (29 grams from sugar), and 4 grams of protein.
This bar seems healthy with all those nuts, right? The total number of calories is 240, 13 grams of fat, 27 grams of carbohydrate (21 grams from sugar), and 7 grams of protein.
With its chocolate coating and rectangular shape, this bar is similar to a Snickers bar. Calories in this bar are 240, 3.5 grams of fat, 46 grams of carbohydrate (27 grams from sugar), and 8 grams of protein. (Payday wins this one.)
Flavor-filled and protein-packed, these bars are close to a candy bar. The total calories are 180, 8 grams of fat, 18 grams of carbohydrate (10 grams from sugar), and 10 grams of protein. (That’s a reasonable choice.)
Eating these bars is just like eating a Snickers, with nuts and caramel but it’s kind of small. They boast 200 calories, 7 grams of fat, 23 grams of carbohydrate (14 grams from sugar), and 14 grams of protein.
Special K Protein Bars
These meal bars are 170 calories, 5 grams of fat, 23 grams of carbohydrate (13 grams from sugar), and 12 grams of protein.
Reading labels helps you solve the “healthy” dilemma when you need a quick fix. All of these candy and protein bars are about the same calorically, but those with higher protein keep you satisfied a little longer. Beware of artificial sugars (sugar alcohols) that help sweeten some of these bars as they may cause some GI symptoms that are not conducive to flying. None of the bars have enough fiber to keep you full; so if you have to grab a bar, pair it with a piece of fruit.