‘Healthy’ Protein Snacks : Are they worth it?

protein balls

Don’t get me wrong, sugary snacks are tasty and I like most other people enjoy eating them. But when it comes to eating something for the benefit of your body – it isn’t really what we’re looking for is it?

Protein snacks are big business right now and many people are joining the boom by pumping out their own versions so they can capitalise on the misconception of all protein snacks being healthy. A prime example of this is The Protein Ball. Looking great in appearance and boasting to be great snacks and some even being vegan friendly it can be easy to fall into the trap of overeating them convinced that they are doing wonders for you.  However when it comes down to the details they leave a lot to be desired. In a normal bag of these protein balls you can find yourself 10 grams of protein which, when you look at it, is great. But then as you guide your eyes to, potentially, the more important value of sugar. They can be found to contain over 15 grams of sugar. I’ve spoken about the dangers of excessive sugar before and I will continue to do so. The exponentially growing list of protein snacks on the market are becoming a whirlwind of different information and can often become confusing for consumers to spot the great from the ghastly.

Now I’m certainly no expert who can tell you the exact ratios to be eating and what amount of sugar is good before it tips over the edge and becomes dangerous but I’ll tell you how I judge whether I should at least try a protein based snack.

Sugar before protein!

Now when I am looking at protein snacks I tend to look at the sugar value straight away before I think about anything else. Most dedicated protein bars I use are around 60 grams so this is what I’m basing my judgement on. Usually if there is over 5 grams of sugar in it then I will look to avoid it. This means that the maximum sugar in the bar can be around 1/12th of the bar. That sounds about right – right?

How much protein are you really getting?

This is second most important which sounds ridiculous when its based on a protein snack but this is just how I do things. If the bar has at least 15 grams of protein  in it then I would try it. This just gives a big enough benefit to help your muscle recovery and growth.

Finally, does it taste good?

At the end of the day a large factor that will play in this is the taste of the snack. If it tastes bad, you aren’t going to want to eat it. Simple. So if you manage to find a great value for money snack that tastes good too, you’ve hit the jackpot. Because generally, the best tasting products are either uneconomical or full of sugar. I’ve tried a few different snacks and I’ll give a quick rundown. If the snack usually doesn’t contain protein, it probably won’t taste good because it has had to be modified to pack in the protein. An example of this for me is a store bought ‘protein cookie’. I thought it was going to be a hidden gem only to be quickly disappointed by a unnatural after taste which led me to never buy another one again.

Another bad experience I have had is with the QNT protein bars that I was very optimistic for until I began to eat it and find it to be dry and very crumbly. Adding to this it wasn’t amazingly cheap either.

What would I recommend?

To be completely honest I feel that if you are trying to pack in protein then meal prep with real natural foods is best with things like eggs, chicken etc. However sometimes there just isn’t enough time in the day and you want to quickly eat something.

If you are looking for a real good amount of protein but a low sugar content then look no further than Grenade protein bars. These bars often have near and around 20 grams of protein per bar  whilst being able to boast a low level of sugar of no more than 3 grams. They come in various flavours so you can often change it up however are quite steep in price. But when it comes down to it if you are really looking for a great protein snack then this is what you are looking for.

grenade protein


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