As consumers show more interest in protein supplements, manufacturers are becoming more creative when designing products to meet the heavy demand. The most popular creations available right now are protein bars and protein powders.
There are many advantages to both options, as well as a few disadvantages. You have to determine what works best for your needs or simply keep both on hand so that you are always prepared.
The easiest way to determine where you fall on the protein bars vs. protein powders debate is to look at the advantages and disadvantages of both. You will learn about the disadvantages of each option as you move through this information. Pay close attention so you can determine which option fits your lifestyle best.
Protein Bar Advantages
Protein bars are solid food, so they help you feel fuller between meals. You can also combine a bar with fresh fruit, vegetables, yogurt or other healthy sides to create a fast meal that doesn’t pack on the calories. While shakes are liquid and do not give the satisfaction of chewing and swallowing real food, these bars allow you to feel satisfied that you have actually enjoyed nourishing food.
Protein bars are often more tasty than protein powders, especially if you use a powder that does not have much taste or comes in flavors you do not enjoy. Bars come in a wide range of flavors and contain many wholesome ingredients packed with natural flavor. You feel more like you are eating a candy bar than a healthy treat when you select peanut butter, chocolate and nutty flavors.
You may also get more fiber from your snack or meal when you consume protein bars. Since these bars must contain real foods that you chew and swallow, they typically contain oatmeal or some type of grain to hold the bar together. This will help increase satiety between meals, but it will also help you get more dietary fiber into your diet. Not many protein shakes are high in dietary fiber.
If you want to get your children or other picky eaters to consume more protein and healthy nutrients, it is much easier to get them to eat a bar than to get them to drink a shake. Children and teenagers may actually believe they are eating a candy bar, and they may never realize that they are doing something that is good for their bodies.
There is one last advantage to selecting protein bars, and this is perhaps the biggest one: you don’t have to mix before you eat.
If you want to purchase premixed protein powders, you have to pay a lot more than you would pay for a bag of powder. You also don’t have much selection in flavors or brand names when you buy premixed shakes. Protein bars are always ready for consumption and the selection is increasing by the year.
Protein Powder Advantages
If you select your protein powder carefully, you can get more protein out of a single shake than you would get out of any protein bar currently on the market.
While you can easily double the dose of powder in a shake in order to increase your total protein consumption, is more difficult to consume two or more bars at one time in order to increase consumption. Since you are eating real food, you may feel stuffed and bloated if you eat too much at once.
Since you have to mix protein powder before it is consumed, you never have to worry about it going bad, getting smashed or otherwise falling apart before you have the chance to eat it. There are many easy ways to bring protein powder with you when you leave home, including individual serving sized packets that come sealed and ready for travel.
While protein bars give you no choice in ingredients, you can determine what you want to mix your protein shake with. You can add fruit, greens, powder vitamins and supplements, and a variety of liquids. This allows you to customize your flavor, texture and consistency to your taste buds. It is far more difficult to customize a protein bar unless you want to try to make your own at home. This gives protein powder a clear advantage when it comes to the protein bars vs. protein powders debate.
Finally, protein powder is far more versatile than protein bars. While bars have the advantage of being ready to eat at any time, you can use protein powder while cooking and baking. You can make protein cookies, protein stews, or simply add protein to your yogurt or cottage cheese. Bars are far less versatile and are typically used while away from home.
What Is Right for You?
Whether you invest in protein bars, protein powder or a mixture of both products depends on all of the following factors:
- Your health and fitness goals
- How much protein you need to consume daily
- Where and when you consume your protein supplements
- How active you are while consuming your protein supplements
- Your budget
You are more likely to benefit from protein bars if you need to supplement without interrupting an extremely busy lifestyle. If you don’t have time to mix up shakes at home and don’t want the inconvenience of mixing in a shaker bottle from powder that you take in your bag, then you will benefit from a bar that is easily stored in your car, pocket or purse.
If you need to consume a lot of protein each day, then you will probably benefit most from a protein powder. You can select a powder low in calories and carbohydrates and double your serving if you want to take in a lot of protein in a single shake. You could also consume more bars throughout the course of the day, but it would become an expensive habit.
You can get high-quality protein powders at very reasonable prices per serving. Bars may be more expensive, but they have that convenience factor that appeals to many people. You have to determine what is more important to you: your budget or convenience? That will help you determine which side you fall on when it comes to the protein bars vs. protein powders debate.