Healthy snacks: How healthy are muesli bars and the like really?

Satisfy your hunger between meals – without reaching for a chocolate bar: there are more snacks on the market that claim to be healthier alternatives.

The range ranges from protein and muesli bars to fruit slices and energy balls.

Products are often based on dates, nuts, almonds or dried fruit, and some contain protein powder.

How recommended are these snacks?

Nutritionists such as Rita Rausch from the Rhineland-Palatinate Consumer Center in Mainz are quite skeptical: “There is a huge variety of all snacks, but most of them are sweeter than healthy snacks,” says Rausch.

Date snacks are also a sugar bomb

The reason is that the products are often high in sugar. This applies, for example, to fruit slices or muesli bars. Some bars contained twelve grams of sugar.

According to the recommendation of the German Nutrition Society (DGE), you should not consume more than 50 grams of sugar per day. “So if you’re eating a muesli bar, for example, you’ve already consumed a good portion of your daily sugar intake,” says Rita Rausch.

By the way: This also applies if no sugar is added to the products. Because ingredients such as dates, dried fruit, rice syrup or honey also affect the sugar balance of products.

Pay attention to the list of ingredients for healthy snacks

After all, some snacks, like muesli bars, have a relatively high fiber content, which keeps you fuller for longer. “Along with the sugar content, high fat content and added flavors also negatively impact many snacks,” Rausch said.

This is not to say that all snacks on the market are bad from a health perspective. In the end, it depends on the individual product. It’s best to take a closer look at its ingredient list before putting it in your shopping cart and then in your on-the-go backpack.

Who Really Needs Protein Bars?

But what about protein bars – a fitness snack? They should support the body in building muscles and thus help regeneration during exercise. “However, the term protein bar is fundamentally misleading,” says Elke Binder, nutritionist in Kempten. “Because the bar is not only made of proteins, that is, proteins.”

Protein bars often contain sugar or substitutes such as glucose or invert sugar syrup. And: The bars are often covered in chocolate, which makes them even more candy.

If you eat a balanced diet, you can easily meet your protein needs this way – with some meat and dairy products, as well as oatmeal, legumes or nuts. “Mostly, consuming protein bars in addition to a regular diet may make sense for some high-performance athletes and people who do strenuous physical work, such as construction workers,” says Rita Rausch.

It is better to prepare healthy snacks yourself

Another disadvantage of snacks: They are relatively expensive. Homemade snacks are usually cheaper and often healthier. You can also make your own energy balls and decide exactly what is inside them.

The Federal Center for Nutrition (BZfE) offers a simple basic recipe: Simply mix 200 grams of dried fruit of your choice with 100 grams of nuts, seeds, seeds or cereal in a blender. This creates a sticky, gooey mass that can be rolled into about 15 praline-sized balls.

If you want the energy balls to be extra creamy, just add a spoonful of peanut butter, BZfE advises. Snack balls can be flavored with vanilla, cinnamon, poppy seeds, cocoa or grated coconut.

Healthy snacks: quark stimulates digestion

Another quick snack idea comes from nutritionist Binder. And it even causes a sluggish intestine: 125 grams of low-fat quark is mixed with two tablespoons of cream and water and one tablespoon of linseed oil. Fold in a teaspoon of freshly ground flaxseed and fruit. It’s over!

“Berries are particularly well tolerated,” explains Elke Binder. The amount of sugar in this version of muesli is limited to berry fructose. But you can do without it: “Quark can also be eaten with baked potatoes and seasoned with herbs.”

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