What Are the Best Protein Bars and Protein Shakes?
Protein shakes, in particular, can be a great source of pure, isolated protein, but you need to be careful of the ingredients. Protein shakes tend to be a huge repository for artificial ingredients, low-quality fillers, and generally unnecessary compounds. A high-quality protein shake, on the other hand, will have a very short ingredient list, often just three to four ingredients or even less!
There are many types of protein isolates, including whey, casein, soy, pea, rice, and even more. While all of them can be, for certain people, a perfectly fine choice (when found in a high-quality isolate), certain protein sources are less likely to cause issues in people who may be sensitive or allergic to certain proteins. Pea and rice protein, in particular, are only very rarely allergenic, making them ideal sources for protein isolates. In addition, they are vegan-friendly, making them an option for any lifestyle.
Protein bars tend to contain many artificial ingredients and fillers, usually in an attempt to make the bar palatable. To disguise the taste of so much protein, generally a lot of fat and sugar is added as well. The end result is an extremely high calorie bar which offers high protein, but also a load of fats and rapidly digested carbs as well. They offer little potential to truly satisfy hunger, leading to extra caloric consumption soon after. It’s better to wait for a meal, or if you’ve just exercised and want some fast protein, to take a shake with you. You can always find high-quality isolated protein in powder and shake form; it’s much harder to do so with protein bars.
Good Protein Snacks
The best options available for protein snacks are nut and fruit bars. These are not the traditional ultra-high protein bars found in gyms, but they do have significant amounts of protein, usually 5-7 grams. More importantly, they are composed of high-quality ingredients which offer nutritional benefit beyond the protein, and which have a much better chance of satiating for more than a half an hour. Another option, if you eat meat, is to have high-quality jerky. Try to find pastured jerky, as this will have the healthiest profile. An increasingly common and popular jerky is salmon, which also offers some omega-3 fatty acids with it.