the protein bar djungle

Since I’m almost always working out after work I often don’t get home until 8-9 pm. Having had either nothing to eat or just some fruit since lunch and then exercised (often vigorously) on top of that you can imagine how I was feeling. Spent and hungry. But at that time in the evening I don’t particularly feel like a huge meal, and the energy to cook is even less existent.

So in the last few weeks (since early December really) I’ve been taking to having protein bars in my bag for those days I’m doing something vigorous – like boxing – straight from work. That way I can eat something before my workout that’ll make me feel full and isn’t as bad nutrition wise as that pastry or snack I might reach for otherwise. But it also works out well because having eaten something beforehand I don’t feel as hungry when I come home, which means that I’m more likely to actually have the energy to heat up my already prepared meal and not just stuff my face with sandwiches (I love sandwiches).

However, the thing about protein bars are that they’re quite expensive and it’s really hit and miss with the way they taste. I usually only buy them when they’re on offer, which means that I often end up with different brands. The brands I’ve learned I quite like are Gainomax, Swebar, and ProteinPro. But then even within those there are ones I tried and really disliked, for example Gainomax’s blueberry yogurt and ProteinPro’s toffee caramel.

It’s not easy to know which protein bar will taste nice and which will taste like an explosion of artificial chemicals, but there are a few signs to look out for IMO.

You’re usually safe (ish) with chocolate. Cocoa powder is a good flavouring tool and easy to work with, and the flavour usually stays ‘authentic’. Fruit is trickier. My favourite bar so far is the Swebar raspberry and liquorice and in that the raspberry flavour works really well. On the other hand, today I had the most disgusting bar – a pear and vanilla flavoured bar I bought at Lidl. Maybe I should have been clued in by the fact that I got it at Lidl, but oh well.

Caramel/toffee ones are also a tricky on my opinion, because they can go either way. Sometimes they’re really nice but other times they have a sickly sweet taste to them.

I did end up getting a strawberry bar from the same brand (2 for 1 deal) which maybe (I’m hoping) won’t be as bad as the pear one. Either way I’ll be continuing to try and navigate the protein bar djungle.