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protein bars

A new research report launched today by safefood has revealed that chocolate is the main ingredient in almost 40 percent of protein bars surveyed, with many also being high in saturated fat and containing added sugar and salt. The research also found that over 1 in 3 people (37 percent) surveyed think protein bars are “healthy”.

When comparing current protein intakes among adults with what’s recommended, both men and women are already consuming more protein than they need from their diet.

The safefood research looked at the nutritional content of 83 high-protein snack foods and drinks available for sale in supermarkets on the island of Ireland. These foods included protein bars, yoghurts, yoghurt-style products and milk drinks. According to industry sources, there was a 498 percent increase in products launched between 2010 and 2016 with a high-protein claim.

Introducing the research, Dr Catherine Conlon, Director of Human Health & Nutrition, safefood said, “We’ve witnessed a significant and consistent upsurge in the number and variety of foods and drinks for sale which claim to be ‘high-protein’. From bars to milks and yoghurts, high-protein foods have now become mainstream in our supermarkets. When we asked people about protein bars, a third of them thought they were healthy. However, many of these bars are, in reality, highly processed foods with a calorie content similar to that of a bar of chocolate”.

“What’s also evident from dietary data is that men and women are already consuming more than enough protein in their diets and simply don’t need this extra, highly processed protein,” stated Dr Conlon. 

Of the 39 protein bars surveyed, 38 percent listed chocolate as their main ingredient. 77 percent were high in saturated fat, with 79 percent being a source of salt. The average bar size was 55g with an average price of €2.27, though some bars cost as much as €3.00 each.

“Processed snack foods high in protein need to be combined with fat, sugar or salt in order to make them tasty,” continued Dr Conlon. “People would be better sticking to natural sources of protein in their diet, which tend to be much healthier. And if you need a source of protein as a snack, alternatives like some nuts, a small glass of milk or a yoghurt is the way to go instead of these foods with added chocolate.”

The report “A survey of high-protein snack foods” is available to download at www.safefood.eu

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In less than an hour you can have up to 12 of your own protein bars. Carry them with you to college/work in case you happen to have a sweet tooth later on in the day.

Ingredients:

  • 250g natural peanut butter (creamy or smooth) (you can also use almond butter!)
  • 300g honey
  • 80g oats
  • 150g dried fruit
  • 80g Almonds
  • 3 scoops protein powder
  • Cinnamon to taste (optional)

Method:

  1. Heat the honey and peanut butter in a medium-sized saucepan until runny.
  2. Mix in the remaining ingredients until well coated.
  3. Grease a 9 x 9 pan with non-stick spray or butter and press in the mixture evenly.
  4. Cool in the fridge for at least 45 minutes.
  5. Slice up and wrap individual bars in tin foil.

 

 

 

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The less junk you eat, the less you crave it but if you’re not used to eating healthy foods to begin with, how can you possibly resist?

Here are a few healthy snacks you can have while you’re on the go:

Hard-boiled eggs
This is a quick and inexpensive way to get a healthy dose of protein in you.

A nutty banana treat
The classic banana and peanut butter combo never fails. Put some peanut butter on a rice cake and then top it up with a few slices of banana.

Hummus dippers
Slice up some celery, carrots or your favorite veg so you can enjoy this tasty heart-friendly dip wherever you go.

Fruit-and-cheese sticks
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a good childhood recipe at times. Stack a few grapes and cheese squares onto a toothpick.

Protein bars
This is always a good healthy snack. The only downfall is you might come across a not-so-healthy protein bar. Your best bet is to cook up a recipe at home.

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If you’re feeling peckish and want to avoid junk food, we have something that you’ll like.

There are a lot of misconceptions about protein bars in general, but when you make them at home, you don’t have to worry about additives because the ball is in your court.

These tasty snacks are very easy to make and whether you want to gain or lose weight, they can keep you going in between meals.

What you need:

  • 1 cup of smooth peanut butter
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup of oats
  • 1 cup of dried fruit
  • 1 cup of nuts
  • 3 scoops of protein powder

What you do:

  1. To make these tasty treats, heat the honey and peanut butter in a medium-sized pan.
  2. When the texture is runny, add the fruit, oat, nuts and protein powder.
  3. Stir until everything is properly coated
  4. Remove from heat and spread in a greased casserole dish/tin and press in evenly.
  5. Cool in fridge for at least an hour.
  6. Slice and wrap in tinfoil so you can bring them with you to work or college.
  7. Enjoy!
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