I’m a healthy person. I work out, wake up early, go to sleep early, and generally stay away from ‘unhealthy’ foods. This has led a lot of my friends ask and wonder: what do I eat all day?
I am gluten-free, and try to be dairy-free, low-carb and low-sugar, so surely that eliminates most ‘yummy’ food, right? It must be incredibly restricting and hard to find food to eat morning, noon and night, right? HA, no!
I still need to satisfy my sweet teeth and be able to grab something quick for the mornings and on-the-go.
That’s how this series was created. I’m a creature of habit and buy the same foods weekly for months or years before switching up my routine, and now I’ll be sharing with you my favorite brands in my favorite food groups.
Today, we look at snack bars.
These aren’t your run-of-the-mill Kashi or Cliff bars. You won’t find these next to the Special K in the cereal aisle. The below are chock-full of wholesome, healthy ingredients.
I know a lot of people love the so-called ‘healthy’ Larabars and Quest bars, but they have so many unnecessary, processed, ingredients that they’re unappetizing to me. That and, between the two brands, I’ve yet to try one I want to eat again. The below are three trusty brands – and two dozen or so flavors – that I know I can pick up and feel good about putting into my body.
Favorite flavors: Mint Chocolate; Pumpkin Spice
Do you see those labels? Those are the only ingredients (save some spices and extracts) in these bad boys. Clocking in at around 200-230 calories a bar, RXBARs are so filling and delicious, I feel like I’m eating dessert for breakfast.
Their texture might be unusual to some. They’re date-based so they’re chewy more than anything else, but you get used to it quickly, and addicted even quicker. RXBARs are packed with protein and necessary carbs, so I’ll often cut a bar in half, eat part of it pre-workout, then come home and eat the other half post-workout until I can eat a full meal.
Best eaten: At 5:45am when you’re bleary eyed and don’t want to digest complicated food. Clean and simple is where it’s at! No B.S.
Shop RX Bars here or Whole Foods. If you live in New York City, Fairway and most health food markets sell them as well. (Bonus: Their online store is having a sale! 15% off your purchase and Free Shipping!)
Favorite flavor: Dark Chocolate Almond Mint, Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew
Friends who’ve known me for years know KIND Snacks are my ride-or-dies. When I went gluten-free, these were the first truly gluten-free products I could find on supermarket shelves in the middle-of-nowhere-PA. This brand has been by my side for more than six years, and their ubiquity in the market (you can trust most Starbucks, Targets and CVS’ to have them at the registers) make them a reliable quick snack.
“Ingredients You Can See & Pronounce” just isn’t a smart mantra, it’s a damn fact. My favorite flavors have changed over the years (my first was Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate) but I discovered Dark Chocolate Almond Mint about two years ago and have never not had a bar in my apartment, purse, desk or luggage since.
Also a flavor to note: Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew. They taste infinitely better than any traditional candy bar, with the antioxidant-loaded sweet cherries that offset the bitterly delicious dark chocolate drizzle, with the soft cashews tying them all together in one delicious bar.
Best eaten: At work, at you’re desk during your 3pm slump, or on vacation when you’re trying to still maintain an aura of ‘healthy’ eating. Do you.
Shop KIND Bars here and pretty much any convenience market in your area.
Favorite flavors: Peanut Butter, Almond Butter
Have you ever had a peanut butter blossom cookie? The cookies with the Hershey’s Kiss in the middle, rolled in sugar. The cookies that are so well-made and deliciously nutty, your tongue practically sticks to the roof of your mouth. That’s what these Perfect Bars kinda taste like, only they’re so healthy and fresh (NO preservatives!), they have to be refrigerated. Seriously – go read their ingredients and you’ll be converted from a cookie eater to a Perfect eater.
For 310-330 calories a bar, their full-size bars do serve as more of a meal-replacement for me when I’m taking the train from the city to my mom’s house or when I’ll be running errands all day with no time for a meal. But, their macros are pretty spot on – high protein, high fiber and good carbs.
If you want all the goodness of the Perfect Bar with fewer calories, they also sell Perfect Bar Minis – 100cal ‘snackable’ sizes. So convenient. So addicting.
The Peanut Butter bars are so packed with flavor, I’ll eat them anytime, anyplace. Like, paired with an apple if I’m out and about and don’t have access to drizzly peanut butter. This combo works magnificently if you’re going to see Hidden Figures during a snowy Saturday like I did last weekend. (Side note: what an incredible movie! I mean, I was blown away, go see it.)
Best eaten: On a train when you’re starving, or crumbled on top of a yogurt bowl.
Shop Perfect Bars here. These might be the trickiest to find (in the refrigerated section!) but I know Whole Foods has them, and Fairway if you’re in New York City.
(Images via RXBar, KIND Snacks and Perfect Bar)