Sometimes lunchtime can seem so far away, especially when your energy is dragging through your morning meeting. Sure, you can grab those day-old danishes on the platter in front of you — but you know they’ll just spike your blood sugar and make you feel worse later. The vending machines might give you some different offerings, such as granola bars or a bag of nuts. You might see a variety of nutrition bars, but you don’t always know what’s in them. RXBARS list their basic ingredients on the front of the label so they’re easy to see.
According to Consumer Reports, you can tell how healthy a snack bar is by whether it has “real food” rather than processed ingredients. The chocolate sea salt RXBAR lists dates as the first ingredient, followed by egg whites, cashews, almonds, chocolate, cocoa, natural flavors, and sea salt. After the ingredients, the second thing to consider is how much added sugar is in the snack bar. A healthy snack bar shouldn’t have any more than six grams of added sugar. An RXBAR has none. By those standards, an RXBAR is a healthy choice for a snack.
Ingredients and added sugars aside, there are other nutritional aspects you could consider in an RXBAR.
Calories, fiber, and protein
Cleveland Clinic says that the purpose of your nutrition bar will determine how much nutrients you need. Meal replacement bars should have 300 calories and 10 grams of protein. Snack bars will have fewer calories, but should have at least 5 grams of protein. A nutrition bar can have two or three grams of natural fiber to help keep you full, but added fiber like chicory root might make you feel gassy. Too much fiber before a workout can also disrupt your stomach.
A chocolate sea salt RXBAR has 210 calories, which comes just shy of a good meal replacement bar. However, its 12 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber can help you feel full until your next meal. Even though the fiber comes from natural sources, the higher fiber content in an RXBAR might not make it a great choice before a workout.
Watch for fat and artificial sugars
Some bars might have added sugar (such as brown rice syrup) in the list of ingredients. Yet some recipes aim to lower the sugar content by adding artificial sugars. For some people, sugar alcohols can cause digestive issues, so keep the sugar alcohols to less than 6 grams — especially before a workout. Although some artificial sweeteners, such as monk fruit and stevia, are considered to be safe, sucralose might cause cancer and increase blood sugar. Erythritol might increase your risk of blood clots, and aspartame could cause cancer, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest. By contrast, the 13 grams of sugar in an RXBAR come from its natural ingredients.
Cleveland Clinic also suggests that a snack bar should have no more than 2 grams of saturated fat. Saturated fats typically come from animal sources such as eggs (via WebMD). An RXBAR has 2 grams of saturated fat and 0 grams of trans fat. However, you’ll find 9 total grams of fat, which does mean that an RXBAR isn’t a low-fat snack bar.