Most come coated in cheap chocolate (presumably to hold them together?), and are stuffed with artificial and unnecessary additives, fillers, sweeteners, sugar, preservatives and flavourings. Some are even just a regular chocolate bar with added protein!
All this is wholly unnecessary, I’ve experimented with homemade protein bars many a time, all natural, healthy and totally delicious, so I never could understand why it would be so hard for a brand to sell natural protein bars.
So while you can’t just buy any old protein bar it’s at least great that one brand – Pulsin – are making them, and are available online if you’ve not seen them in your local supermarket. (use code PHAL10 to get 10% off)
There’s enough fruit in each bar to count as one portion, which makes them so much better than those ‘squashed fruit concentrate’ snacks I see aimed at kids (a pet hate of mine). Free from gluten, dairy, soya, refined sugars and non GM, also suitable for both vegan and paleo diets!
Being based on dried fruit these are higher in (natural) sugar than the Pulsin’s other bars, but this makes them great post workout (or intra-workout if you’re exercising for longer than 90 minutes, by which time your stored sugar levels may be running low). Or I would give these to my kids any day instead of sugary junk.
Bella loved the berry one in particular, while Aurora is my resident chocoholic so that’s her favourite.
The Protein Boosters are the bars I typically recommend to my Mums as being the highest in protein they’re the most filling, and low sugar which means fewer energy highs and lows. Xylitol, a very low calorie natural sugar alternative is used to sweeten – the same stuff that’s used in chewing gum because it’s good for your teeth!
Many protein bars on the market are simply chocolate bars with added whey protein, in other words protein boosted junk. While protein is important and most people don’t get enough, this is still completely missing the point.
Adding protein in itself does not make it a healthy bar, but Pulsin only use 100% natural, wholesome nutritious ingredients. There’s a misconception that ‘health bars’ don’t taste as good as less healthy snacks. In some cases I agree – you can’t compare a handful of almonds to a chocolate fudge cake.
But these bars really are delicious. The proof is always when my kids and husband like them and don’t realise they’re ‘healthy’ – that’s a true test of an amazing tasting bar!
I actually took the Vanilla Choc Chip bar as a breakfast on the go with some fresh fruit. I was worried that it wouldn’t keep me full all morning but I needn’t have; it was perfect (and I have a big appetite!)
These are clever, because I’ve tried a lot of ‘healthy’ brownies in my time and none of them actually taste like a real brownie – you can tell they’re healthy. So considering these are so packed with nutritious superfoods like raw cocoa, cacao butter, green tea extract, maca, nuts, goji and chicory fibre it’s incredible my ‘I want real chocolate’ sugar addict husband loved them! Not as high in protein and higher in (natural, from fruit) sugar than the Protein Boosters these are more of a healthy and higher fibre alternative to refined flour & sugar brownie cakes and puddings, but they’re so chocolaty you’ll get your ‘hit’ pretty easily in one bar rather than bingeing your way through a batch of sugar and flour.
These are Pulsin’s kid’s range, meaning big kids too obviously – they’re mini size and nut free, meaning school lunch friendly yay! As a parent finding healthy snacks that are both low sugar, nut free and need no refrigeration is harder than you think; most kids’ snacks are crazily high in sugar, both natural and added. Oats are a great source of sustaining energy for little people, but I’d eat these any day, especially as a quick post workout snack along with a protein shake. I felt guilty keeping it to myself even if I was reviewing them, so compromised by sharing with four year old Bella and 8 year old Aurora. Aurora is always needing portable snacks while she’s out and about doing various clubs and can eat so much food for her tiny frame, so it’s good to be able to give her more nutritious bars to fuel her active and growing body.
Pulsin do a whole range of no-added-anything protein powders; whey, rice, hemp, pea, and soya, including organic versions. With no flavourings or sweeteners not only are they as pure as you can get, but they are a great canvas for adding whatever flavours you want, from fruit, cocoa, nut butters, and even savoury foods!
I took advantage of this over my usual vanilla shake and knocked up some beetroot whey protein pancakes by simply mixing whey with egg, mashed beetroot and herbs.
Pulsin have recently branched out into ingredients with Whey Protein Crispies and No Added Sugar Chocolate Drops that are perfect for healthy home baking or pumping up porridge, pancakes or as a topping to shakes and smoothie bowls.