Eat Natural Almond & Apricot Bar, 85p
This bar is one to avoid, according to Nicola. “For every 100g of an Eat Natural Bar you’re getting 31.1g of sugar. In fact, 30% of this bar is derived from its yoghurt coating, which contains ingredients like palm kernel oil, milk whey and sugar,” she says. With nearly 250 calories per bar, 15g sugar and just 2.5g fibre and 3.3g protein, this bar is a poor nutritional option – if it’s the yoghurt flavour you’re craving, you’re better off with a bowl of Greek yoghurt, some nuts and a handful of berries.
Available at Sainsburys.co.uk
Fulfil Protein Bar, £2.49
With around 200 calories per serving, very little sugar and 20g of protein primarily coming from milk powder, this bar will fill a hunger gap, making it a good choice for keen gym goers looking to boost their protein intake. Sweetened by polyols, the prebiotic fibres could also contribute to a healthy gut, too. However, Nicola is a little wary about the number of ingredients in this bar, with sweeteners like sucralose, soya derivatives and palm fat all lurking in the mix.
KIND Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt Snack Bar, £3.50 A Box
One of the more balanced options on our list, this KIND bar is made from 60% nuts and is high in fibre, with an impressive 7g per bar. This combo of healthy fats, fibre, protein and carbohydrates will fill you up, although Nicola warns there are a few additional ingredients, such as palm kernel oil and glucose syrup, which are best avoided. Packing a fair bit of nutrition at just under 200 calories per bar, this is a decent choice for a snack that feels like a treat, and they’re easy to find, stocked everywhere from corner shops to your local Starbucks.
LaraBar, 86p (was £3.49) A Box
Made from one-and-a-half dates, a third of a banana, six almonds and chocolate chips, this LaraBar is gluten-free, vegan and contains no added sugar. However, Nicola says 4g of protein isn’t enough to offset the 17g of sugar, making this bar one to save for special occasions and not your daily snack. “This is a very sweet bar with 38.8g per 100g coming from sugar, primarily coming from dates and banana,” she says.
Nature Valley Crunchy Oats & Honey Cereal Bar, £1
Don’t be fooled by the lure of the word ‘nature’ on the packaging, which in Nicola’s opinion, is anything but nutritionally balanced. “Each bar contains 27g of carbohydrates and just 3.4g protein, which is a poor ratio. When you look at the ingredients list, you’ll see sugar is the second item listed after oats, meaning sugar makes up the second-largest component of this bar. Oats are carbs, which are ultimately broken down into sugars when digested.”
Nakd Cashew Cookie Bar, 60p
Nakd has lots of different varieties, but this Cashew Cookie flavour has 143 calories, 3.5g protein and 16g carbohydrates. “The great thing about this bar is that it contains just two ingredients, dates and cashew nuts,” says Nicola. “There are no hidden additives such as extra sugars, sweeteners, emulsifiers, or chemically-treated fats.” While Nicola says this bar would be her top choice on the list, she is still wary about the sugar content. “While the sugar in this bar is all-natural, coming from dried fruit, it still contains nearly 14g sugar, which is incredibly high,” she says.
Snack like a nutritionist with Nicola’s top tips…
WATCH THE SUGAR:
"Take the time to read the ingredients list and look out for added sugars. This includes ‘natural’ sugars like honey, maple syrup and brown rice syrup – keep these to a minimum to avoid sugar slumps. “If you are craving something sweet, berries such as blueberries and raspberries are a great alternative.”
RECONSIDER THE SNACK:
“There are real health benefits to leaving four to five hours between meals and snacks. This gives your body time to digest properly and re-set hormone levels. If you do find yourself peckish in between meals, it could be worth upping the quantity and quality of your main meals. I often advise clients to reduce their desire to graze by focussing on eating larger meals with a balance of protein, fat, carbs and fibre.”
GET THE BALANCE RIGHT:
"Combining carbohydrates with a source of protein and healthy fats will slow down the release of sugar into your bloodstream, meaning you’ll feel fuller for longer.” Nicola says you can’t go wrong with some sliced apple dipped into almond or nut butter: “Many places now sell these as snack pots, or you could make your own.”
FIND YOUR CHOCOLATE FIX:
“For a healthy chocolate treat, try a slice of wholegrain toast topped with nut butter, banana and a sprinkling of cacao. Aim for cacao over cocoa as it is less processed.”
For more information or to book an appointment with Nicola visit Nicola-Moore.com