You are walking through the grocery store and see a package of Protein Bites and think to yourself,  hmmmm, those dietitians at the NJBC are always telling me to get more protein, I think I’ll throw these in my cart.  Hey, it even says made with all natural ingredients and there’s chocolate and bananas. This is great!”

Hold on. Don’t be fooled.

I put these in MY cart to show you how important it is to read the food labels so you can start to make better choices.  I also put a box of Entenmann’s Chocolate Donuts in my cart to compare side by side.

 First, let’s define serving sizes – one donut equals about 3 protein bites.  Looks reasonable in the picture, right?

Now let’s look at calories – a serving of the Protein Bites has 160 calories and the donut 170.  Not much of a difference there.

As we go down the label we can see the total fat in the protein bites serving is 10 grams vs 12 grams in the donut.  Carbohydrates and Sugar? Protein Bites have 17 grams of carbs and 11 grams of sugar while the donut has 15 carbs and 8 grams of sugar.  The donut has less sugar and carbs than the serving of protein bites.

Finally, let’s check out the protein.  The Protein Bites have 6 grams of protein, that’s only 2 grams per bite and the donut has 1 gram of protein.  Certainly not a good source of protein based on the amount of calories and sugar in the Protein Bites.

The verdict – the protein bites are no more a healthy food choice or a good source of protein for you than a donut.  When in doubt, your best bet is always to read the food labels and question the “healthy” descriptions on food packaging.  

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    By: Karen Kelly, R.D.

    Registered dietitian Karen Kelly is available for nutrition counseling every Tuesday in our Springfield and Hoboken locations. She is a graduate of Ohio State University and the College of Saint Elizabeth where she received her registered dietitian degree. Karen found her true calling by helping people make better nutrition choices to improve their health. She is a member of the American Dietetic Association, the New Jersey Dietetic Association, Nutrition Entrepreneurs, Nutrition in Complementary Care as well as Sports and Cardiovascular Nutrition.

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