If you don’t live in the Virginia Beach area, you have probably never heard of Smart Bars. I only came across these hand made bars while scanning through WordPress myself.
Being a personal trainer means I am always on the go, my dinner often consists of protein bars, green smoothies or whole fruit. Over the years I have become very picky when it comes to the protein and snack bars I chose. Many products marketed as healthy are filled with sugar, chemicals, and non food ingredients with a name more than 3 syllables long. I have my “go-to” snacks, but I am always looking for something new–for myself and to recommend to clients.
When I am looking for a nutritious snack, I look at the ingredients first. You want to make sure you can pronounce everything on the list. In addition I like to keep sugar under 8 g when choosing a snack or protein bar. If the sugar is relatively low and the bar is made with all natural ingredients, you are usually in a good place. Protein is always a plus. One sneaky nutrition fact to be looking out for is Sodium, which fills so many “health” foods. I don’t worry about the fat content. If the bar is filled with healthful and natural ingredients like almonds and walnuts, it’s good fat and will keep me full through all my evening sessions.
Lets talk about Smart Bar now. Smart Bar is created by Matthew May, a chef in Virginia Beach. He makes the all natural granola bar by hand with whole food ingredients. The round granola bar uses only 9 ingredients and contains no preservatives. It’s also gluten free! The snack bar is advertised as “perfect for breakfast”, “perfect for lunch”, for “before or after your workout” and as an “anytime” snack. Take a look at the label here:
I had half of a bar this morning and it is very tasty. You can pick out all the ingredients as you nosh. It is a chewy vs. crunchy granola bar, like a bowl of steel cut oats without the nuisance of dishes to clean. I had a bowl of fruit around 8 am and half a Smart Bar around 9:30 am and I was full and satisfied until 1:00 pm. All the ingredients in this product are things I enjoy on their own (dried fruit and chocolate are my weaknesses), so it is no surprise that I enjoyed the flavors and texture of Smart Bar.
I was a little surprised by the sugar content. This all natural snack bar has 2 g more sugar than a snickers bar. I would like to see honey further down on the list of ingredients. However, dried fruit is pretty high in sugar as well, so that could be another culprit. I would not recommend this bar for anyone who is watching their carbohydrate intake. On the other hand, this is a great pre workout snack for endurance athletes. I will probably save the rest of these bars for a snack prior to a 10 miler.
Overall, this is a tasty all natural snack or meal replacement. I love that you are not ingesting any sketchy hidden preservatives. I would recommend Smart Bars to endurance athletes (runners, cyclist and triathletes), who have the need for the 45 g of carbohydrates that his product pacts. While the bar is very wholesome and delicious, I don’t think I could recommend it to my everyday clients who are looking to lose and maintain weight. I would love to see a lower glycemic version of this product with less honey and maybe some more nuts.
I absolutely love the packaging. Each bar is individually hand wrapped in wax paper. I can tell the labels have been put on by hand. It is refreshing receive a quality product from a small business. If you are in the Virginia Beach area I recommend making an order for pick up, just to give them a try.
If you are interested in purchasing Smart Bars you can do so here.
In addition, I want to share with you my current “Go To” Bars. You can find them all at most grocers. Chia Bars by Health Warrior are a little new to the mainstream grocery market but I saw them at Harris Teeter recently and I know you can get them at Whole Foods. Chia Bars are great for in between meals. They contain just 5 g of sugar and only 100 calories. This is great for anyone looking to lose or maintain weight.
A good tip is to avoid anything that tastes like dessert. If it is low sugar and tastes like a snickers, it is probably packed with unnatural, non food ingredients.
What is your “Go To” snack/meal bar? Leave a comment, I am interested!