The Complete Guide to Vegan Protein Bars
Did you know that according to the statistics in 2022 there are around 2.5 million vegans and vegetarians? This number is growing every day as people decide to learn more about veganism and leave out meat and animal products.
They’re doing it for many reasons such as ethical, religious or environmental reasons. So, when they need a snack or a post-workout meal, they turn to vegan options. This is often the vegan protein bar. It meets their nutritional needs and provides a good balance of fats, protein and carbs.
How to Choose Vegan Protein Bars
Keep an Eye on the Sugar
A lot of plant-based protein bars contain 25-30g of sugar. This can be more than some doughnuts and slightly less than a 300ml soda. Even if the sugar comes from natural ingredients such as agave nectar or dates, it’s still wise to keep an eye on the quantity of it. When you’re looking to buy protein bars with vegan origins, choose the one with as fewer ingredients as possible and the least amount of sugar. Something around 10g per bar is acceptable and normal.
How are the Ingredients Listed?
On every product, manufacturers list the ingredients from most to least used. So, if you see agave nectar, dates, quinoa, and sea salt, it means that the main ingredient is agave nectar and sea salt is the least used. The first 3 ingredients are the base and the rest of them are just small additions to the bar. Make sure to always check the list and choose a healthier option that includes healthier ingredients.
No Added Sugars
Sugars that are in a whole food form such as brown sugar, coconut sugar, agave nectar, and evaporated cane syrup are natural and healthy. All of them are better than refined white sugar. So, whenever you can, make them your choice and your body will thank you.
What About Oils?
Avoiding bars made with oils, even healthy ones like canola, coconut, or olive oil, is a good idea. Oils aren’t a whole food, just like added sugars. Instead, replace them with good fat sources such as flax, hemp, coconut or almond. They’re also rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre.
Should You Watch the Carbs?
The number of carbohydrates could influence your choice when you pick a protein bar. Choose foods with minimal carbohydrate content to help you feel satiated for longer. You won’t need another snack for a few hours because they are in line with your diet there’s a slow energy release.
Sometimes this can be hard to read because carbs can be labelled differently. But if you see honey, sugar, molasses or dextrose, make sure they’re not at the top of the list because they fall in the carbs category.
Check the Protein
8-10g of protein is the minimal amount you should look for in vegan protein bars. It stabilises blood sugar by slowing down its absorption into your blood. It also helps you build lean muscles, fuels them with power and keeps you full for a long time. These bars are a great post-workout snack that will refuel your muscles.
What’s the Protein Source?
Some of the best protein sources for these bars are raw hemp protein, sprouted brown rice protein, chia seeds, pea protein and spirulina. They all have a great amino acid profile and are very beneficial for you. A lot of the vegan bars have at least one of them in their ingredient list.
Should You Combine it With Superfoods?
The answer is yes. Besides consuming them with other foods, you should also look for protein bars with superfoods in them. These include acai berry powder, flax seeds, chia seeds, goji berries, maca, cacao, spirulina, mulberries and goldenberries. They’ll give you a lot of energy and nutrition.
Benefits of Protein Bars
Help You Lose Weight
As we mentioned before, protein bars with vegan origins are rich in nutrients and will keep you full for a longer time. This means you’ll eat less, and this contributes to your efforts to lose weight. Additionally, choosing a protein bar made from plants over, let’s say, a doughnut, will benefit you long-term.
Some people believe that snacking is essential to weight loss because it keeps your metabolism in check and keeps you from overeating at meals. Instead of having a large lunch and hoping it will keep you full until dinner, you may snack on a plant-based protein bar in the afternoon. You’ll eat less at your next mealtime, which will help you lose weight.
Will Give You Energy
Plant-based protein bars will give you more energy compared to whey-based ones. They’re easier to digest which means your body will need less energy to consume them. This leaves you with more energy to spend on something else. Some athletes even turn to plant-based proteins and meal plans in order to boost their energy levels.
Keep Your Gut Functioning Properly
According to one study that analysed meat eaters, vegans and vegetarians, the last two had a better and more diverse gut flora than meat eaters. They also had less inflammation. These bars don’t cause bloating and won’t weigh you down. You can snack on them on your way to the gym and still be able to go through every exercise.
Good for Your Skin
The plant-based in general is partially responsible for giving you healthier skin. Your skin will be brighter and cleaner. Dermatologists often recommend giving up dairy products for a while to vegetarians and meat eaters. The acne clears significantly and pops up on your skin less frequently.
Nuts are Very Healthy
Nuts are some of the most frequent ingredients in vegan protein bars. Besides being high in protein, they’re also filled with vitamins, minerals, magnesium and Omega 3s. Their fat content can balance your hormones and will promote heart health.
They can also control your sugar levels and keep you full for longer. Of course, antioxidants are a big part of nuts. And with antioxidants being the building blocks of our organism, we know how important their consumption is. They will prevent inflammation and help with weight loss. Plus, we all know how delicious nuts are in any shape and form.