A vegan protein bar can act as a quick snack, a vital method of increasing your daily protein intake, or a total meal replacement when you need it.
Getting the timing of your protein consumption right can have a huge impact on how well your body receives, but when is that?
What is the best time to eat a protein bar? The best times to eat a protein-rich snack are before or after a workout, as a breakfast replacement, or when you need to curb your sweet tooth.
However, a healthy protein bar can be enjoyed at just about any time and you’ll still reap its rewards.
Knowing when to eat protein bars means you’ll get as many benefits as possible from them, and that includes the vegan variety.
This guide will show you the most beneficial times to enjoy a protein bar and how you can get your hands on quality plant-based protein snacks that get the job done.
Are Vegan Protein Bars a Good Source of Protein?
The vegan protein bar has seen major advancements in recent years, and while people once used to discount vegan goods as being lax in protein, that’s no longer true.
There are loads of healthy protein sources that come directly from plants and they’re used to make the new age of vegan protein snacks.
A standard vegan protein bar includes several ingredients like pea protein, cashews, hemp seeds, peanuts, coconut oil, rolled oats, dried fruit, brown rice protein, and dates.
The average protein count for one of these bars is around 15 grams, but there are some with a lot more, putting it on par with bars made with animal by-products.
Protein should form a good portion of your everyday diet, whether you’re vegan or not, but this doesn’t mean eating a few protein bars a day.
The best approach is supplementing with protein bars or powders on top of a healthy and balanced diet that features lots of natural protein sources but does not make them your main source of nutrients.
The 7 Best Times to Eat a Protein Bar
Timing is everything when it comes to food and if you’re chowing down on a protein bar, you want to make sure you’re doing it right. These are the best times for eating protein bars that will ensure you get everything you can out of the tasty treat.
#1 Before You Work Out
Everyone knows the power of a good protein shake after lifting weights, but the same can be said for protein bars eaten before any form of exercise.
The protein content in these bars will keep you satisfied, stabilize blood sugars, and give you a slow-burning fuel you can use throughout the workout and your whole day, so they’re not just for the recovery stage.
#2 After You Work Out
A post-workout protein bar should be loaded with protein to give your body the benefits.
Numerous studies have shown that consuming this nutrient helps with muscle recovery and building muscle fibers, so you’ll get a lot more out of your workout when you add protein to your diet afterward.
#3 As a Breakfast Replacement
We’re not condoning eating a protein bar for breakfast every day, but if you’re having one of those mornings where it seems impossible to eat a balanced meal on time, it can help.
Ensuring you get protein at the start of your day will set your body up with a fuel that it can burn for energy. When you get a little more time, following up with a breakfast of whole foods is our recommendation.
#4 For an Afternoon Energy Spike
We’ve all been prone to the mid-afternoon slump where all you want to do is take a nap or reach for a can of cola.
The protein bar is a much healthier option here that will actually boost the hormones within the body that make you feel full and help to balance your blood sugar levels.
Best of all, once you’re done with the protein bar, there’s won’t be the inevitable crash that usually comes after bad snacks.
#5 When You’re Recovering
Whether you’ve been struck down with a cold recently or are recovering from surgery, protein bars can be helpful.
They’re a great source of protein for when you have minimal energy to prepare food and the protein will help to repair the cells that might be damaged. Just try not to live on protein bars alone, as it’s not the healthiest option.
#6 In the Middle of a Hike
If you’re a fan of day-long hikes but always find yourself needing a quick snack on the go, this is where the protein bar works its magic.
They’re convenient and easy to carry, plus the protein will aid in recovery from the hiking you’ve just done plus prepare your body for whatever is coming next.
#7 Trying To Stop a Sugar Craving
We’ve all experienced intense sugar cravings that just won’t let up until we give into them, but we’re not entirely powerless. Sometimes, choosing a protein bar instead of a candy bar is the better approach.
They still feature some added sugar and usually taste pretty sweet but it’s not all empty calories because it also features protein, fiber, and other good stuff.
Tips for Finding Quality Vegan Protein Bars
As well as getting the timing right, you also need to make sure you’re eating the right type of protein. Not all protein bars are created equally, so check out these tips to lead you towards the healthier options that are worth snacking on.
Check the sugar content: Added sugar can be a sneaky killer in protein bars, and some of them have up to 30 grams in a single serve. Make sure the protein bar you choose has no more than 13 grams of sugar added to it to ensure it’s a healthier choice.
Look for whole ingredients: A quick scan of the ingredients list should show whole foods that you’re familiar with like nuts, oats, and seeds. If you see a lot of numbers or names you can’t pronounce or recognize, it’s best to avoid that specific protein bar. The order of the ingredients also matters as manufacturers must list the ones with the highest content first.
More protein is best: The amount of protein a bar contains will also relate to how full it makes you and how many health benefits it offers. The minimum should be 15 grams but you’ll also need to factor in the ingredients and sugar count to determine if it’s a good pick.
Buy in bulk: The better a protein bar is, the more expensive it will probably cost. To alleviate some of these costs, find a protein bar that you like and start buying it in bulk. This will allow you to eat healthier bars without breaking the bank.
Timing Is Everything
Your body is a complicated machine and it requires fuels like protein to keep it running, which is why the timing can matter so much.
With a quality vegan protein bar and a better understanding of when your body can utilize them best, you’ll ensure you reap all of its benefits.
Protein bars are no longer the chalky, tasteless morsels that they used to be, but that doesn’t mean they should become total meal replacements. If you want to learn more about modern vegan protein bars, we’ve got the answers and questions that can help you discover the basics.
How Do You Make a Vegan Protein Bar?
If you’d rather make vegan protein bars at home instead of buying them from the supermarket, you’ll need a few key ingredients.
Plant-based protein sources include plant protein powder, nuts and seeds, nut butter, dates, oats, and more, so finding a combination of ingredients that works together is key.
Are Vegan Protein Bars Higher in Sugar?
A vegan protein bar isn’t necessarily higher in sugar than a non-vegan one, but you’ll need to check each individual product to understand their nutritional profile. You should aim for no more than 13 grams of sugar in a standard-sized protein bar, the less added sugar the better.
How Many Protein Bars Can I Eat a Day?
Protein bars are great for snacks when needed, but you should never consume more than once a day if you’re being mindful of your health.
These bars are not intended to be a complete meal replacement and they’re often loaded with sugar which makes them unsuitable for eating too many of.
Lorraine Pinnix is a passionate nutritionist and loves seeing people living healthy, and fulfilled lives. She believes that food is an essential piece of staying fit and strongly believes in going vegan. PureGrowthOrganic is a passionate work that details her research in helping you go on complete organic diets. She is available for questions, comments, and follow-ups.