I've never been one for protein bars, but I found a Powerbar that I actually like, so I've been carrying one around as my "emergency" life line. Occasionally, I substitute for a bar for one of my 6 mini meals. I figure it's better than skipping meals, but I'd like some feedback on this, if you all wouldn't mind.
They aren't a good idea for me. I like BULK. I like to feel FULL. I can eat a powerbar so fast that I don't even remember eating it. I need to eat things with a high water content, because they are bulkier--cottage cheese instead of protein powder and power bars.
And if the bars are a way to provide carbs instead of protein--no way. My carbs need to be as unrefined and high fiber as possible, both to be bulky and leave me full, but also to prevent an insulin spike. So my carbs are vegges and popcorn and wheat bran.
Having a bar as a meal leaves me feeling like I didn't eat--which means I will overeat later, or spend a lot of time really WISHING I were eating.
My dietitian gave me the option of the Harvest Grain type of Power Bars as my afternoon snack. I prefer the other options she gave me, so I rarely have one of the Power Bars, but I too keep one in my purse for afternoon snacking emergencies. I wouldn't find one satisfying as a meal, but as a snack along with plenty of water it works for me.
I think it depends on your needs and goals. I've gone in the direction of not using processed foods. I would fear that I would go for a Power Bar one day and it would be the slippery slope that led to a candy bar the next! So, I would be more inclined to keep some nuts in my purse for an emergency snack. But, that's just me and my plan. If it's working for you, then go for it.
For me, they work. I keep a supply on hand both at work and at home. If I'm in a pinch, or it's a day when I know I'm not going to get home until really late, I use them to substitute for a meal or a snack. I definitely think they're a great option. I also like the Balance Bars. I stick to the bars that have around 200 calories. I've also learned the hard way that some bars can trigger me to start eating, but Power Bars and Balance Bars have been safe for me.