My favorite store-bought bars

When you're faced with that sea of bars, it's hard to know where to start. And the reality is, a lot of us live life on the go and can't always eat something homemade when we're out and about or traveling in another city. So after a lot of taste testing and label reading, these are the 5 bars that rise to the top because they are best of both worlds: healthy and delicious. They make the list because of three things: calories, quality of ingredients, and sugar sources. Because not all bars are created equal! And because bars contain a nutrient dense mix of fat, protein, and carbs, it's best to eat them in the morning or before a workout so your body uses the energy from the bar to fuel your day or workout. If you hit the gym early on an empty stomach, these are good post-workout options too.  

 image: larabar.com 

image: larabar.com 

#1: Cashew Cookie LARABAR

This one tops the list because it not only tastes amazing, it only contains two ingredients: cashews and dates. Dates are nature's candies (a 100% natural source of sweet!). They can help maintain healthy cholesterol levels, are full of fiber to aid in healthy digestion and their sugar content make them a great natural energy source. One thing I love to do with this LARABAR is microwave it for 15-20 seconds (after removing from packaging), mash it up with a fork & mix in some fresh berries. It transforms the bar into a warm granola! You could add a dollop of coconut yogurt too for a parfait-like treat. Learn more about this bar & where to find one at larabar.com.

 image: goraw.com

image: goraw.com

#2: Go Raw Banana Sprouted Banana Bread

Another bar without questionable ingredients, this one has just 4 ingredients: sprouted flax seeds, coconut, dates and banana. The flavor is a little more intense than the others because this bar is totally raw but I love the size, chewy texture and the fiber content—making this one of the most satisfying bars on the list. This bar is often an on-the-go breakfast option for me because it holds me over for hours. If you find the flavor a little intense, you could spread 1T of nut butter over the bar for extra flavor and protein — and to make it a more complete breakfast.

 image: mypashen.com

image: mypashen.com

#3: Pashen Original Bar

Another raw option with a little more flavor, this bar takes the cake when it comes to quality ingredients — sprouted buckwheat, almond butter, pumpkin seeds, goji berries, coconut oil and cinnamon just to name a few. It's also the lowest in calories on the list at 140 so this bar is an ideal snack vs. a meal replacement. And with only 9g of natural sugar, it's a great store-bought option. 

 image: amazon.com

image: amazon.com

#4: KIND Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt 

Part of KIND's 5g of sugar lineup, this gluten-free bar is the perfect sweet and salty combo that always satisfies my sweet tooth. I've tried a lot of KIND bars; this one is my absolutely favorite. At 200 calories and full of healthy yet satisfying ingredients like almonds, brown rice and dark chocolate, it's a perfect afternoon treat if you have a workout planned after work. 

 image: gomacro.com

image: gomacro.com

#5: THRIVE by go macro Caramel Coconut

The original go macro bars are perfect for long hikes but their new THRIVE line offersbars under 200 calories each and this one only has 6g of sugar. The chewy coconut texture is delicious and this one's filled with a great balance nuts and seeds. I'm also a fan of the sugar sources: dates and brown rice syrup. At 190 calories, it's another perfect pre-workout snack! If you're enjoying at home, this one tastes great warmed up too! 

I'm always on the hunt for new bars! What are your favorites?