How to Pick the Best Healthy Snack Bar + Energy Bar Giveaway

This post and giveaway are sponsored by Nature’s Path; however, the nutritional tips, editorial comments and enthusiasm are all my own.

Not all snack bars are created equal. And, with an entire grocery store aisle devoted to these popular between-meal munchies, it can be a confusing, tongue-clucking task deciding which bars to buy and which to avoid – some can contain more fat, sugar and calories than a candy bar! Not to mention concerning chemicals, additives and fillers.

How to Pick a Healthy Snack Bar

So, whether for a gym bag, lunch box or office drawer, read on to find out how to make healthier choices when it comes to snack or nutritional bars.  Also, don’t miss my giveaway at the end of this post for a 2-month supply of Superfood Bars from Nature’s Path. Continue reading

Snack Smart in New Year – #SimplyProtein Bars & Chips Giveaway

What do you eat when you’re having a snack attack?  I’ll be honest and say that I WANT and occasionally DO reach for candy-coated chocolates or buttery, salty popcorn when my tummy starts talking (sometimes explicatively). But this is not the way to feeling good for the remainder of the day, protein rich snacks are the way to go and I blog about this all the time – and try my best to walk (and eat) the talk at least 90% of the time.

Simply Protein Giveaway

One brand I loveee, love, love is Simply Protein – and I’m sharing this addiction (keep reading to the bottom of the post). Simply protein makes a flavorful array of bars and snacks that are packed with energy-sustaining, muscle-making protein – my energy level typically stays even without sugar rushes or crashes for about 3 hours.

The name Simply Protein just says it all. Well, almost ALL – with flavors like Banana-Caramel-Cashew, Cocoa-Raspberry and BBQ Tomato, maybe they should be renamed Simply Delicious Protein!  In addition to being high in protein, all products low sugar, gluten free and they contain no artificial sugars – most products are also non-GMO, high in fiber, high in iron. These are the perfect protein snacks for everyone including athletes, busy moms, children, diabetics and others with special dietary needs (some products vegan and kosher).

simply protein bars

Simply Protein makes lots of yummy protein bars in different flavors and formats – there is something for everyone, including Kid’s Bars! I have a special place in my heart (and gym bag) for the Lemon Coconut Protein Bar – it’s a zesty way to refuel with the protein my muscles need to mend after a workout or intense run.  Plus, the lemon and sweet coconut in a crunchy bar takes the edge off my sweet tooth. Each of these 150 calorie Lemon Coconut bars has only 1 gram of sugar, balanced by its 7 grams of fiber and 15 grams of protein.

Here are the Lemon Coconut Protein Bar details so you can get an idea of the nutritional quality.  lemon coconut bar nutrition

Simply Protein ChipsAnother Simply Protein product I can’t resist is a bag of the Savory Protein Chips. Baked with real ingredients and 15g of protein, I stay fuller longer and my energy is sustained throughout the day – such a better choice than hitting the vending machine.  Four flavorful choices to choose from, but I must say I crave the Spicy Chile Protein Chips with their smoky, peppery profile. For just 150 calories per bag and 15 grams of protein and 20% of daily iron, these are a smart choice for snacking — I always pack a bag when travelling (so I don’t get the airplane hangries)! Also, they make excellent croutons!

Simply Protein Spicy Chile chips

You’ll want to enter the giveaway for a box of the Spicy Chile Chips (12 per box) and case of Lemon Coconut Protein Bars (15 per box) – but go ahead and stock up in the meantime. Right now, there is a New Year’s Special where you can save 10% on orders under $75, save 20% on orders over $150 and save 15% on orders between the two (details on the site).  Too many delicious sounding choices to choose from? Try a sample pack before you commit to a large order – you get to taste all of the best-sellers.
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SimplyProtein
I am a Wellness Ambassador for Simply Protein who is the sponsor of this giveaway, however all opinions and enthusiasm are my own.

Rock a Lunchbox |Caramel Banana Protein Cereal Bars

Even though I try to eat with my health in mind, I don’t always say “no” to sweets – but I do try to clean them up a bit. For example, instead of a bowl full of cold, creamy ice cream topped with crumbled cookies, I eat plain Greek yogurt that I’ve sweetened with stevia and topped with a crunch protein-based chocolate cereal (Power Os from Love Grown Foods). I also top that with mini-chocolate chips, it’s my go-to bedtime snack – it’s still sweet, but more balanced with protein to boost my workout recovery and make muscles while I sleep!

Caramel Banana Protein Cereal Bars make a healthier lunch box treat.

I also like to implement my “protein-hacks” in my kid’s lunchbox desserts as well. A study has shown that children ages two to 18 years old get 40 percent of their daily calories from junk foods like sugary sodas and fruit drinks, cookies, donut, candy, fried foods and more – that’s unconscionable. Kids of all ages want sweets, I get it – believe me I GET IT! I would try and trade the raisins my health-nut mom would pack in my lunch for a friend’s Hostess Cupcake – she never would trade, but started bringing me an extra cupcake on the sly.

So, as a parent myself now for more than 18 years, I’ve allowed my kids to eat sweets so that they don’t feel deprived but talked about limits and the effects of eating too much “less than quality food” – but that a small amount also be fine occasionally in the context of an overall healthy lifestyle. I also like to make our cookies and cakes at home, so I know exactly what is going into the recipe and into our bodies – choosing more nutritious alternatives when possible. Like heart healthy fats, sugar swaps, no chemicals or preservatives, organic when possible – you get the drift.

Caramel Banana Mighty Cereal Bars made with Love Grown Mighty Flakes make a healthier lunch box treat.

Caramel Banana Cereal Bar Today I’m sharing a healthier version of classic crispy yet chewy cereal bars. They are perfect for lunch boxes, backpacks, after school snacks, picnics, and pot lucks and bake sales! I used less butter and marshmallows than the traditional “crispie” recipe and supplemented with a reduced-sugar caramel and dried fruit for sweetness. For long-lasting energy, I threw in some nuts and a bean-based cereal for extra protein. Enjoy!
Caramel Banana Cereal Bars using Reduced Fat Caramel from Litehouse Foods makes a healthier lunch box treat.

What was your favorite treat to find inside your lunchbox as a kid . . . or today? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

Caramel Banana Cereal Bar
Caramel Banana Protein Cereal Bars
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
18 servings 15 min
Cook Time
0 min
Servings Prep Time
18 servings 15 min
Cook Time
0 min
Caramel Banana Cereal Bar
Caramel Banana Protein Cereal Bars
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
18 servings 15 min
Cook Time
0 min
Servings Prep Time
18 servings 15 min
Cook Time
0 min
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Add banana chips and walnuts to medium bowl and lightly break up into coarse chunks with mallet or back of spoon.
  2. Add cereals to bowl with banana walnut mixture; toss to combine. Set aside. In large microwave-safe bowl, add marshmallows, caramel dip and butter. Microwave on 50% power for one minute, stir until creamy. Return to microwave and cook at 50% power for additional 1 minute; stir until creamy. If marshmallows aren’t completely incorporated, continue and stir in 20 second blasts.
  3. Add dry cereal mixture to caramel mixture and stir with spatula until everything well coated.
  4. Line 8” x 8” baking pan with wax paper or spray with oil.
  5. Press mixture down firmly into pan. Let cool for 5 minutes and then cut into 9 bars, or size of your preference.
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