Granola bars and protein bars are essential for hiking, biking, and general snacking but most contain loads of sugar. If you’re trying to keep keto or reduce your overall sugar intake, allow us to introduce you to the best low-sugar protein and snack bars we’ve tried.
Summer has seen some traditional leisure activities like music festivals and crowded pool parties go on hiatus—or at least they should be—but getting out into the wilderness is one of the safer ways to release a few endorphins and take in some vitamin D. I wouldn’t consider myself a serial outdoorsman, but I’ve found myself planning far more visits to campgrounds and semi-vertical, winding walks (hiking, I think it’s called) than in previous seasons. And during these outdoor excursions, one simply must stay nourished.
There’s a category of food fit for these mountain man moments that include jerky, trail mix, and the now-ubiquitous snack bar. I personally find trail mix boring (sorry ‘bout it). Jerky is great, but when you’re craving a quick, mobile hit of sweet and salty protein, snack bars accomplish this the fastest. That’s just sound science.
The struggle with snack bars (which often are billed as “health food”), I’ve found, is that they are usually not healthy at all. In fact, they’re generally packed with sugar—sometimes as much as 20 grams. The ones without a ton of sugar taste drab, sad, and/or like chemicals. But I recently stumbled upon Munk Pack, a line of snack bars started in 2014 by an adventure-seeking couple from Connecticut. Munk Pack has seemingly cracked the aforementioned code with protein-packed, sweet snack bars that are as good as any I’ve tasted, all of which contain roughly one gram of sugar and two or three net carbs. (Oh hey there, keto people.)
I have now munched my way through the entire Munk Pack line of granola bars (think the Quaker Oats Chewy brand you loved as a kid), and nut and seed bars (think Kind bar). While I don’t dislike any of them, both the Almond Butter Cocoa Chip and Maple Pecan are fully addicting. Best of all—for me anyway—is they don’t sneak raisins or other dried fruit into the bars. I know some of you like dried fruit in your snack bars and cereal but, well, you’re wrong. The brand also makes a line of dense, dry, protein cookies which I genuinely did not enjoy.
But back to the sweetening of it all, which is where Munk Pack breaks through in a cluttered category. Sugar substitutes often taste a little off, faint, or lab-produced, but Munk Pack’s allulose blend—a sweetener found in maple syrup, figs, and raisins, according to the packaging—tastes remarkably like real sugar or honey. So if you’re headed up a large hill or into the woods, or just feeling snacky in quarantine, consider stuffing a few in your cupboard or backpack to ward off fainting and sudden bursts of hanger.
A variety pack of Munk Pack’s granola bars includes 2 Peanut Butter, 2 Coconut Cocoa Chip, 1 Almond Butter Chip, and 1 Maple Pecan. Buy Now
Get a taste of each flavor, each with only two or three net carbs and a single gram of sugar. The variety pack includes 2 Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate, 2 Pumpkin Seed, Cinnamon Almond, 1 Sea Salt Dark Chocolate, and 1 Pecan Almond. Buy Now