Is it me or has 2016 been getting a lot of hate lately? Sure I’m excited for 2017 to start, but I’m also enjoying whatever we have left with the year. Chances are I am in the minority but I have no complaints with how 2016 has panned out.
In fact, I am extremely grateful given how much travel it involved. From Amritsar to NYC, Paris, China, Hong Kong, Ibiza, Bali & multiple trips to London, 2016 was certainly a bumper year for me. Fortunately all this travel has made me somewhat of a better traveler. Let’s just say that all my OCD list-making in the past means I now have packing down to a T. One item that I always pack in my hand carry is a selection of snack bars- go figure ;)! Of course eating whole foods always trumps processed bars but convenience wins, especially when you are out and about. I tend to pay special attention to a few pointers when stocking up on snack bars:
- Protein: Ideally containing at least 4g per bar.
- Ingredient list: The shorter the better, and preferably all pronounceable.
- Calories: Some snack bars can be extremely calorie-dense so I try to keep them around the 200-calorie (or less) mark.
- Vegan: For the sake of my skin, I keep my dairy & egg intake minimal.
- Taste: No matter how good a bar’s nutritional profile might be, taste is key.
If you’re not cautious when choosing, it’s easy to pick up a ‘healthy’ bar that in actuality is a glorified candy bar- oh the power of marketing! I’ve tried a selection of bars in the past but now tend to stick to the ones which I know tick at least 2 of the above criteria:
- Livia’s Kitchen Raw Millionaire Bites a.k.a. crack bites. Despite being free from refined sugar, these taste identical to the real deal. These come in either tubs of multiple bites or grab-and-go packets of 3 bites. They taste extremely rich and a single bite (about 70 calories) is enough to hit the spot. Lately these bites have been my pre-workout fuel in the morning as they are easily digestible yet provide instant energy due to the use of dates. They also make waking up for the gym that much more appealing when my alarm goes off every morning ;). In case you can’t tolerate gluten, take delight from the fact that these bites are made using gluten-free oat flour. My only complaint is that the Salted Date Caramel flavour could use a bit more salt.
- I’ve mentioned my love for KIND Bars in the past and will do so again. Made up primarily of nuts (amongst other wholesome, recognizable ingredients), these bars are a great source of healthy fats, potassium, magnesium and even a little calcium & fibre. Despite a range of divine flavors like Dark Chocolate Nut & Sea Salt, Almond Coconut Cashew Chai and Madagascar Vanilla, KIND bars are also relatively low in sugar. Each bar tends to contain between 4-10g of sugar whereas a supposedly ‘healthy’ Clif Bar contains 22g of sugar (!).
- For those of you in the U.S. Of A, Nakd Bars are the British equivalent to Larabars. I especially love how few ingredients these bars contain: nuts, dried fruit and sometimes fruit juice, extracts and/or spices. Given the amount of flavors available, choosing what to try can be somewhat overwhelming. My personal favourites include Cocoa Orange, Cashew Cookie & Choco Crunch.
- As a huge flapjack fan, I am ADDICTED to Trek Protein Flapjack Bars…even more so given each bar provides around a whopping 10g of protein. My personal favorite flavor is the Original, closely followed by Banana Bread.
- Although these Pip & Nut single-serve squeeze packets of nut butter aren’t exactly snack bars, they can easily fit in the same category. It’s more cost-effective to buy a jar, but these individuals sachets beat having to lug it around. They also make portion control that much easier. Between their protein & fat content, I find these extremely satiating…and it means I get my nut butter fix on the go #winning ;)! I can vouch for all the flavors but I’d especially recommend the Coconut Almond Butter if you’re into the sweet & salty combo.
What’s your current favorite snack bar?
What’s one thing you always pack when travelling?
What was your most memorable trip of 2016?