Pick up just about any protein bar and chances are, it will be all dressed up in a brightly colored wrapper that touts its many health benefits. The truth is, unless you read the label and know what you are looking for and what to avoid, that protein bar could be a brick of sugar and empty calories. Don’t be fooled by phrases like “all natural” or mouthwatering images of peanut butter swirls, fruit, and veggies- if it contains tons of sugar and very few ingredients you recognize as actual food, it’s likely you’re holding a not-so-distant cousin of the candy bar.

Focusing on a whole food, plant-based diet of organic fruit, veggies, whole grains, and clean proteins is your best bet for weight loss and maintenance, as well as helping decrease risk for diabetes, heart disease, obesity, inflammation, and cancer. At Orgain, we believe food is an integral part of healing and getting well. That’s why we insist on making delicious, convenient protein bars and powders with the very best ingredients. Next time you reach for a protein bar, get picky with your protein and use this list of the top 5 ingredients it should include to find out if it lives up to all that label hype.

  1. Clean, organic protein: sprouted brown rice and pea protein, grass fed whey, hemp hearts, and even collagen make an excellent base for a protein bar. With ingredients that are organic and or grass-fed, you know you are getting the squeaky clean protein your body deserves. These ingredients are cleaner, more nutritious, and healthier for both you and the environment.
  2. Nuts provide a great mix of protein, fat, and complex carbohydrates. Walnuts, peanuts, cashews, almonds, pistachios, and pecans are rich, satisfying whole food ingredients. Walnuts, in particular, are also rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
  3. Whole grains are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates because unlike their more refined relatives, they contain more fiber, protein, and nutrients. High quality plant-based protein like Orgain organic plant-based protein powder, utilizes whole grains such as sprouted brown rice or quinoa due to their high nutrient profiles as well as their bioavailability, that is, how easily the body can absorb their nutrients.
  4. Healthy fats like coconut oil, peanut butter, chia seeds, and flax are anti-inflammatory as well as packing additional fiber, protein, and the sort of fats which keep you feeling good and full. Chia seeds, flax, and hemp hearts are loaded with omega-3s and promote heart health and digestion.
  5. Natural alternatives to sugar and sweeteners like dates and other dried fruits, maple syrup, organic brown rice syrup, stevia, and erythritol are all healthy alternatives to refined sugars and corn syrups. Know the names of sweeteners to avoid, like high fructose corn syrup and aspartame so you don’t get tricked into consuming a lower quality bar. All of Orgain protein bars and kids protein bars are low to sugar free without compromising on flavor and texture. Limiting refined sugar intake can also help your body avoid crashes and cravings from ruling your life and mood.

When looking for a healthy protein bar, know that Orgain has your back. We like to keep our ingredients clean and simple because we know that high quality, organic ingredients and plant-based protein, and grass-fed whey protein are the real secret to a truly delicious and nutritious protein bar.