Saturday, October 10, 2020

Wendy's Great Eight for October 2020: My Favorite Protein and Meal Replacement Bars #WendyGreatEight #tryit #bestproteinbars #healthy2020

It's time for another Wendy's Great Eight column! This month, I'm sharing my picks for the best protein and energy bars. Whether you incorporate these bars as a snack...or as a meal replacement...there's a TON of options to choose from. Knowing which bars to buy can be very confusing. Today, I'm sharing my personal favorites -- the bars I most often turn to. My main criteria for protein and meal replacement bars is that they (1) taste good, (2) don't contain a ton of hard-to-pronounce or artificial ingredients, and (3) have no more than 300 calories. Without further are my Great Eight protein and meal replacement bars!

(1) CORE Bar Organic Overnight Oat Bar + ProbioticsI was thrilled to discover CORE BARS recently! The base of these filling bars is fiber-rich overnight oats, making them an ideal on-the-go breakfast. They're also a great afternoon snack to tide you over until dinner. CORE BARS have 220-230 calories and between 5 and 7 grams protein....along with 1 billion CFUs probiotics and prebiotic fiber for optimal digestion and absorption. CORE Bars are organic, gluten free, non GMO, Kosher, and vegan. Best of all? They taste great and have zero added sugar! CORE BARS contain overnight oats, dates, nuts, chia seeds, and fruit. There are several yummy flavors -- including Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter Chocolate, Blueberry Banana Almond (my personal favorite), and Dark Chocolate Cherry. One bar + a piece of fruit fills me up and give me energy for hours! CORE BARS arrive chilled and can be stored at room temperature for up to a week. However, I keep my bars in the fridge until the day I'm going to eat them. CORE BARS can be purchased a retailers nationwide and via their handy online store.

(2) Justin's® Almond Butter Protein BarsJustin's Nut Butters have been a staple in my kitchen the past few imagine how happy I was to discover their new trio of protein bars featuring their delicious almond butters! The gluten free, non-GMO bars come in three flavors: Almond Butter, Honey Almond Butter, and Dark Chocolate Chip Almond Butter. Each bar has 220 or 230 calories...along with 10 grams of protein. These bars arrive chilled, and I found the texture was better if eaten chilled. However, they're also delicious at room temperature if you need to eat them on the go! If you love almond butter, you'll go crazy for these bars! To find these new Almond Butter Protein Bars at a store near you, visit Justin's® handy Where to Buy feature. They can also be purchased at Amazon and via Justin's® online shop.

(3) Mezcla Plant Protein Bars. Mezcla is a very unique among protein bar brands. Their mission is to feature the world's diversity via food and art. Their three unique international flavors are Peruvian Cocoa Peanut Butter (with cocoa sourced from Peru), Mexican Chipotle Hot Chocolate (with chipotles sourced from Mexico, and my personal favorite Japanese Matcha Vanilla (with matcha green tea sourced from Japan). As an added bonus, each bar comes in a wrapper that features hand-drawn designs. Each 170-calorie bar is vegan, gluten- and soy-free, non GMO, and contains 1o grams of plant protein. The bars are crunchy...and slightly chewy....with a layer of chocolate or white chocolate on back. Mezcla Bars can be purchased at select U.S. locations, as well as via their website.

(4) Nature Valley Packed Sustained Energy BarNature Valley recently released a new bar that's specifically designed to provide sustained energy. These chewy nut butter-based bars contain no artificial flavors, colors, or high fructose corn syrup. Packed bars come in two flavors: Peanut Butter & Cranberry (230 calories) and Almond Butter & Blueberries (240 calories). Both flavors are great, but my personal favorite is the Almond Butter & Blueberries. Packed bars are made with creamy nut butter, whole grain oats, chewy dried fruit, and crunchy nuts and seeds -- including pumpkin and sunflower seeds. These tasty bars contain 7 grams of protein, taste great, and give me the energy I need to power through my day. To find new Packed bars near you, use the product-specific Find Us feature at the Nature Valley website.

(5) GoMacro MacroBar™ Minis. I've shared my love of plant-based MacroBars™ before...and now I'm hooked on their MacroBar
 Minis. These three-bite chewy snack bars have everything I love about full-sized a smaller version with just 100-110 calories and 4 grams of protein ! Like full-size Macro Bars, Minis are made with clean plant-based ingredients, certified organic, vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO. Minis are available in seven flavors, including my personal favorites Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, Maple Sea Salt, and Sunflower Butter + Chocolate. To find MacroBar Minis at a store near you, check out the Find Us feature at the GoMacro website. You can also purchase direct from their online shop and via Amazon.

(6) Rise Bar Protein BarsRise Bars are one of my favorite protein bars because they contain a few simple ingredients...and they taste amazing! Rise Bars are non-GMO -- and they contain no soy, gluten, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, or sugar alcohols. My favorite flavor is the Almond Honey Protein Rise Bar, which contains just THREE ingredients: almonds, honey, and whey protein. This chewy bar is lightly sweet, allowing the flavors of each component to shine through in every bite. Each Almond Honey Protein Bar has 280 calories...and provides a whopping 20 grams of protein. It's a fantastic post-workout snack or meal replacement. Other flavors I like include fudgy Chocolatey Almond and refreshing Lemon Cashew.  Rise Bars can be purchased at their online store or at select retailers.

(7) UNiTE Globally Inspired Protein Bars. The makers of UNiTE Protein bars were inspired by their love of travel...and global flavor profiles. I can definitely get behind this approach! Their protein bars are made with c
lean, gluten free ingredients -- including superfoods -- for a snack that tastes great and is better for you! UNiTE Protein Bars provide 10 grams of protein and come in three great flavors. Every flavor starts with a base of sweet dates bind everything together...while nuts provide texture and essential nutrients. 
  • PB & Jelly (180 cal.)creamy peanut butter, crunchy peanuts, and strawberry fruit bits give this bar a nostalgic, comforting flavor. 
  • Churro (190 cal.)almond butter, toffee bits, vanilla, and cinnamon flavor this bar...which is dusted with more cinnamon.
  • Mexican Hot Chocolate (190 cal.)creamy almond butter, cocoa, cinnamon, and chili pepper give this bar an authentic Mexican hot chocolate flavor! 
UNiTE Protein Bars can be purchased via their convenient online Shop. In addition to purchasing boxes of individual flavors, they also offer a handy 12-bar Variety Pack that includes all three flavors!

(8) Kashi GO® Dark Chocolate + Peanut Butter Protein BarI've been eating Kashi's healthy bars and cereal for ages, so I was very excited to try their new Dark Chocolate + Peanut Butter Protein Bar! Each 230-calorie bar contains 12 grams of filling plant-based protein...and just 6 grams of sugar. The peanut butter base is yummy...and there are plenty of dark chocolate pieces. Peanut butter and chocolate is a classic flavor combination, making these bars a great afternoon snack...or on-the-go meal replacement. Kashi GO® Protein Bars come in two other flavors: Dark Chocolate + Almonds + Sea Salt and Crunchy Peanuts + Peanut Butter. To find new Kashi GO® Protein Bars at a store near you, visit the Where to Buy tool at their website.

Disclosure: The makers of the bars featured in this column provided me with samples of their products to facilitate inclusion. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

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