Protein bars can be a convenient, nourishing, and energizing snack to have on the course, before you practice, or after a workout. Choosing the best one for you can be overwhelming when faced with hundreds of different brands and flavors. Each golfer’s nutrient needs may differ based on factors such as age, gender, health status, activity level, and overall lifestyle. Below are some general guidelines for choosing a healthful protein bar that can help keep your body energized and your mind focused whether you are practicing on the driving range or playing a full 18 holes.

  1. Read the Nutrition Facts Label: The nutrition label tells you the quantities of different nutrients in the bar. It lists how much protein, carbohydrates, fat, and sugar it contains. It will also list specific vitamins and minerals and the percentage of your daily intake that is associated with them. When you exercise and play golf, your body needs both protein and carbohydrates. Protein is needed to support your muscles, help you feel full, and provide long-lasting fuel for hours of play. Carbohydrates help maintain energy levels during play and replenishes energy that is burned off.

What to Look for on the Nutrition Facts Label:

Protein: 10g or more

Carbohydrate: 20g or more

Sugar: less than 20g

  1. Read the Ingredients List: The ingredients list will tell you where the protein, carbohydrates, fats, and sugar are coming from. When reading the ingredients list, look for whole food ingredients that provide healthy sources of various nutrients.

Whole Foods to Look for in the Ingredients List:

Protein: Whey protein isolate, soy protein, pea protein, brown rice protein, eggs/egg whites

Carbohydrates: Oats, brown rice, dried fruits

Healthy Fats (which may also contain protein): Nuts, seeds, peanut butter, almond butter, sunflower butter

Sugar: Raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries, dates, other dried fruits

What to Limit in the Ingredients List:

Added Sugars: Sucrose, dextrose, table sugar, syrup, honey, molasses, concentrated fruit juice, concentrated vegetable juice. Try to choose a bar with less than 20g of sugar.

Artificial Sweeteners, Sugar Substitutes, and Sugar Alcohols that may lead to gastrointestinal distress for some golfers: Aspartame, sucralose, stevia, maltitol, erythritol, xylitol.

  1. Don’t forget about the taste!

It’s important to enjoy the taste of the bar! Just because a bar checks all the right boxes for nutrition and ingredients, does not always mean it tastes good to everyone. There are many protein bars available for purchase. Choose one that is both nutritious and tastes delicious!

  1. Pair it with other foods and beverages

While it is easy to throw a couple of protein bars in your golf bag, they shouldn’t be the only things you eat. Pair your protein bar with some other popular and nourishing golf snacks, such as whole fruit, vegetable sticks, hardboiled eggs, cheese sticks, peanut butter sandwiches, and trail mix for more variety of food and nutrients. Finally, remember to wash it all down with plenty of water or other hydrating beverages.