When looking for protein bars for kids, seek out protein bars that use whole food ingredients instead of refined sugars and supplemental protein powders such as soy. Keep an eye out for unhealthy ingredients such as hydrogenated oils (trans fats) and keep in mind that these bars shouldn’t exceed 150 calories per serving.

Check the list of ingredients to be on the look out for chemicals and added sugars like corn syrup, glucose, cane sugar and malt syrup.

The best protein bars for kids should provide a healthy balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates, vitamin-and mineral-fortified as well as be both soy-free and low in sugar, providing at least 2.5 grams of dietary fiber. Interestingly, the best protein bars for kids are not designed for kids at all, as those are generally too high in sugar and low in fiber.

It is recommended that you give your kid half a protein bar to avoid having them fill up before a proper meal. This will be enough to satiate them until dinner.

Protein Bars for Kids: Pros & Cons

While protein bars won’t replace a well-balanced meal, they can be a much healthier alternative than fast food and food in vending machines. Although protein bars can be a quick and easy option, there can be some drawbacks to offering protein bars to kids.

A protein bar can come in handy when kids need a quick energy boost after school or during sports practice. It is far better to have kids eat a protein bar than skip a meal entirely.

Although some protein bars may provide a rich supply of nutrients, other bars’ nutritional content may be closer to that of a candy bar, giving kids a quick sugar boost without the important vitamins and minerals necessary to be considered kid friendly protein bars.

Protein Bars vs. Whole Foods

Kids can just as easily meet their daily vitamin and mineral intake by having quick and easy foods that contain whole grains, fruit, vegetables and lean protein.

Most kids would actually benefit more from eating protein-rich foods like lean meats, low-fat dairy, eggs, apples and bananas with peanut butter, whole grain crackers with cheese, homemade trail mix with dried fruit with nuts and seeds and whole grain cereal. Parents should focus on providing their kid with a healthy balance of carbs, protein, fat and greens. An ideal lunch at school may be a salad, a source of protein, milk and a piece of fruit.

Having a diet based around whole foods is important for everyone but especially for growing kids, since they’re learning and establishing patterns that they’ll have to follow or break for the rest of their lives.

Homemade Protein Bars

With a few handy ingredients, you can make your very own batch of homemade low sugar protein bars for kids containing 6 grams of protein per serving. Try using a food processor or blender and stick with healthy ingredients such as creamy nut butters, natural sweeteners, crunchy nuts and dried fruit.

Featured Photo Courtesy: Brendan C via Flickr