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Healthy Mommy Director of Nutrition weighs in on Refrigerated Protein Bars for SHAPE Magazine

We are SO excited to announce Samantha Cassetty has joined The Healthy Mommy team as the Director of Nutrition! Samantha recently sat down with SHAPE magazine to get to the bottom of refrigerated protein bars.

Read Samantha’s concerns about these bars below.

Healthy Mommy Director of Nutrition chats to SHAPE magazine about Refrigerated Protein Bars

From an Registered Dietitian standpoint, what do you make of the refrigerated protein bar trend? 

Samantha says, “From a nutrition perspective, my main concern is that refrigeration alone is not a good indicator of a product’s healthfulness. The best snacks are low in added sugars and high in wholesome ingredients, like veggies, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.

If a bar checks most of these boxes, it can be a convenient snack, but often, they’re high in added sugars and low in real food ingredients.”

Have you personally tried any? Any favorites? 

Samantha says, “I’ve tried several tasty ones, but many are too high in added sugars to get my green light for everyday snacking.”

What do you think of the claims of probiotics in these bars? Are they the same as probiotics in Kombucha, yogurt, etc.? 

Samantha says, “It depends on the type of probiotic used. I spot-checked the ingredient list on ProBar and they’re using a specific strain of probiotic called bacillus coagulans gbi-30 6086, which is a well-studied strain that’s associated with many benefits.”

Overall, would you recommend these as a snack? Meal replacement?

They are often 300 calories and 20 grams of fat and many have a nut butter base – what do you make of that? 

Samantha says, “For many women, that calorie level would be too high for a snack so I’d consider it more of a mini-meal.

Generally,  I’m less concerned with calories and fat and more concerned with the quality of foods you’re eating and your overall eating habits.

If you’re going a long stretch between meals—say, you’re traveling or in back to back meetings—a bar like this could come in handy and help tide you over. And there are days you’re pushing yourself at the gym when you might need a more substantial snack.

But I find that it’s easy to over-rely on bars and overlook other ways you could fill up that could be more physically satisfying and nourishing.

For example, it would take you a lot longer to munch through some carrots, hummus, an egg, and a few whole grain crackers and you’d get more whole food nutrients and a good balance of protein (10 g) and fiber (6g) for about the same number of calories.

Some Greek yogurt with fruit and nuts is another easy mini-meal option. I’d count both as better than a bar!”

Samantha Cassetty, RD, is the Director of Nutrition at The Healthy Mommy. Read more about Samantha here