There are a ton of health food products out there and Men's Fitness found 12 packaged products filled with protein. But are they actually what you're looking for? After asking some registered dietitians, Men's Fitness found what packaged protein products are good, and what should be left on the shelf.
P28 HIGH PROTEIN BREAD
Per slice: 130 calories, 3g sugar, 14g protein
The Scoop: This protein-packed bread is made with whole wheat, whey protein isolate, oats, omega-3 rich flaxseed, and heart-healthy millet and sunflower seeds.
The Bottom Line: “At 14 grams of protein per slice, you're getting a lot of bang for your buck, but the extra protein is only beneficial to vegetarians struggling to get enough of the nutrient. If you eat from all food groups, skip it,” suggests Moskovitz.
>>Read more: Protein-Packed: When Too Much Of A Good Thing Is Bad
QUEST PROTEIN CHIPS
Per serving: 120 calories, 190mg sodium, 21g protein
The Scoop: This crunchy snack is made from dried potatoes and a blend of milk protein and whey protein isolate. Quest also uses a generous amount of seasonings and salt to boost flavor while keeping the chips low-calorie.
The Bottom Line: “Since most chips have twice the calories, sodium, and are a lot higher in artery clogging saturated fat, this snack can be a healthy substitute when a crunchy craving strikes,” says Moskovitz. “At 21g of protein, these chips can even replace a protein shake or a bar.”
KAY'S NATURAL GLUTEN-FREE PROTEIN PRETZELS
Per 1.2-oz. bag: 120 calories, 3g sugar, 12g protein
The Scoop: These gluten-free pretzels are enriched with soy protein isolate. They come in flavors like Jalapeno Honey Mustard and Cinnamon Toast, and are one of the only pretzels of its kind on the market.
The Bottom Line: Skip it. “I would not recommend this to someone looking to lose weight or lean out. The 1.2 oz. serving is very small, so it won’t be too filling. There are better, more satiating protein sources,” says White.
THE PROTEIN BAKERY CHOCOLATE CHIP BROWNIE
Per brownie: 190 calories, 18g sugar, 6g protein
The Scoop: This gluten-free treat is rich in muscle-building whey protein, but it’s also loaded with brown sugar, chocolate chips, and butter.
The Bottom Line: Skip it. “A sugary brownie is still a brownie even if it contains some protein. If you're truly craving something sweet, go for the real thing—but only have a few bites and savor it,” suggests Moskovitz.
>>Connection Recipe: Protein Brownie Cookies
MUSCLE EGG HIGH-PROTEIN LIQUID EGG WHITES
Per 1-cup serving: 120-130 calories, 399-400mg sodium, 25-26g protein
The Scoop: MuscleEggs go through a special pasteurization process that kills salmonella and neutralizes avidin—a protein that blocks vitamin B6 absorption. The process allows the product to be cooked or added to protein shakes and consumed raw.
The Bottom Line: Skip it. “What differentiates this product from competing brands are the flavored options, but those have extra calories and additives. I recommend sticking with natural cooked egg whites,” notes White.
EXO CRICKET PROTEIN BARS
Per bar: 270-300 calories, 13-18g sugar, 10g protein
The Scoop: In lieu of whole bugs, these bars are made from milled cricket flour. Whole foods like almonds, dates, and cacao nibs are used to enhance the taste and add crunch.
The Bottom Line: If you’re feeling brave, “try this bar as an occasional post-workout snack," says Moskovitz. "The protein and carbs will aid muscle recovery and replenish glycogen lost during exercise, but any bar with more than seven grams of sugar per serving shouldn’t be eaten regularly."
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