Review: Nutrition Bars

Screenshot 2015-06-03 13.33.45If you’re a nurse or a nursing student, there is one thing I can be sure of. You are one busy bee. Sometimes your schedule doesn’t allow you the wonderful luxury of a delicious, home-cooked meal so you may find that you often eat “on the run.” Rather than reach for something naughty (salt and vinegar chips, I’m talking to you!), I’ve put together a quick review of some good and good-for-you nutrition bars to help fuel you through your busy days.

First a disclaimer…I don’t do fake food. These bars are all (for the most part) organic and contain actual real food as ingredients…not hydrolyzed soy protein or any other such garbage. As such they’re not the cheapest bars out there, but they are so much better for you than that junk that I can confidently say it is worth the extra expense. Plus, I tend to view these bars as a meal replacement (or maybe the core of a meal with something added such as a banana, hardboiled egg or small piece of grilled chicken), so if you look at it as a whole meal, the cost is cheap in comparison. I typically will have one of these as my breakfast while I’m at work…5am is much too early for food, so I will reach for one of these around 9 or 10.  In addition, I wanted to review bars you may not have tried…it’s always fun to try something new! So, without further ado…here are 7 bars for your tasting pleasure!

Kit’s Organic Cherry and Pumpkin Seed Bar
Nursing school snacksPros: Fresh, looked like actual food, not too sweet, good texture and substantial. Gluten free, soy free, dairy free. Overall, I really really liked this bar! It filled me up and tasted like real actual food…not like some of those “energy bars” that shall remain nameless! I had it with my mid-morning cup of coffee around 10am, and it held me over until my 2pm lunch break. Delish!
Cons: None
Rating: 5 stars
Cost: $1.79 at Whole Foods (available lots of places online!)

Quest Strawberry Cheesecake BarNursing School

Pros: Gluten free, soy free (not sure about dairy)
Cons: In a word, “blech.” I read online reviews for this bar when I bought it and people raved about it…but I just don’t get it. If you gravitate toward protein bars that are highly processed, then maybe you’ll like this. The overall texture was very grainy and synthetic. It was far too sweet and tasted unnatural. I didn’t even finish this bar, and that’s saying a lot. I love food. Not sure this qualifies as food.
Rating: 1 star
Cost: $1.99 various sources

Vega Snack Bar Chocolate Peanut Butter CupNursing school snacks

Pros: Plant-based, non-GMO, pleasant texture with little rice crisps, a sweet treat. Gluten free, soy free, dairy free!
Cons: Probably too sweet for a mid-morning snack (unless you like that sort of thing). I preferred this as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up…but it was pretty decadent, so not something I’d have every day.
Rating: 4 stars
Cost: $2.49 at Whole Foods (good deals online!)

Pure Organic Apple Cinnamon Bar
Nursing school mealsPros: Pronouncable ingredients, good texture with a little chewiness thanks to the dates. Gluten free, soy free and dairy free.
Cons: Super strong cinnamon flavor, like waaaay too cinnamon-y.
Rating: 3 stars
Cost: $1.79 to $2.29, various sources

SquareBar Cocoa Coconut Organic Protein Bar
Nursing schoolPros: Really tasty! Gluten free, soy free, dairy free, peanut free corn free. But not flavor free! I really liked this bar as an afternoon “dessert” for that 4pm lull that inevitably hits. And, with 11g of vegan protein, it’s not just a bunch of empty calories.
Cons: Very sweet, which is why I wouldn’t be able to deal with it first thing in the morning.
Rating: 5 stars
Cost: $2.49 at Whole Foods (bargains online!)

LaraBar Blueberry Muffin
Nursing school foodPros: Good flavor, nice texture, not too sweet and only a handful of ingredients. The Blueberry Muffin is my “go-to” LaraBar flavor. It’s gluten free, soy free, dairy free and vegan. I really like these bars and eat them all the time…not necessarily because they are my all-time favorite bars, but they’re pretty darn good, pretty darn inexpensive and available everywhere. I’ve seen these bars at places like Target, Trader Joes, Whole Foods and probably most other mainstream grocery stores…I feel like I see them everywhere. Love ’em!
Cons: None.
Rating: 4 stars
Cost: $1.47- $1.99 various sources.

Epic Turkey Almond Cranberry Bar
Nursing school nutritionPros: High protein, gluten free, savory and substantial. I call this bar my “meat stick” because that’s essentially what it is. This one tastes pretty much like Thanksgiving On the Run…I really like these bars! These are great for those times when you don’t want a sweet or fruity bar.
Cons: None
Rating: 5 stars
Cost: $2.99 at Whole Foods (slightly cheaper online)

So there you go! I hope you find a bar you like and avoid reaching for junk food to fuel you through those busy days. Enjoy!

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