Ahhhh “nutrition bars!” One of my favorite things to EAT & talk about. Ever since I was a little girl, I had a knackering for granola. Granola by itself, for cereal, and most definitely in the form of a bar. In my current stage of life, mama to two tiny humans, I love the convenience of not granola bars specifically, but nutrition bars. They’re always in my pantry for emergencies and/or as an afternoon pick-me-up.
To back track just a bit, I thought long and hard about what to title this post. Do I say protein bar, whole-food bar, or granola bar? Because while they’re all similar, they’re also very different. Some whole food bars don’t contain large amount of protein and some protein bars don’t contain much real food. So, while similar, they’re extremely different. Remember that, friend!
Finally, I settled on “nutrition” bar and for a very good reason. No matter the ‘why’ behind choosing a “bar” (i.e. a quick bite for your kids, a hiking snack, or an impromptu breakfast because #life) they should fuel your body (and mind). And sadly, most bars out there don’t. Most, are loaded with sugar, artificial flavors and ingredients and stabilizers that your body (and brain) can’t process.
It’s so sad, but true. I say sad because some of you will never look at granola bars the same. And while I’m glad about that from a health perspective, I also know the heartache in ending that relationship. I sill give Nature Valley peanut butter granola bars a little wave when I pass them in the grocery store. They were my ‘go-to’ and absolute favorite when I was a kid!
Still, empowerment comes with knowledge and I’m here to share with you that you CAN have delicious tasting nutrition bars that do everything you want them to -> taste good (a must), provide vitamins and minerals, have minimal whole food ingredients, and are affordable and accessible.
So here we GO!
First things first -> break-up with label reading!!! Sort of. Instead of looking at the calories and grams of fat look at the list of ingredients FIRST!
This will be the biggest game changer for you. Do fat and sugar grams matter -> sure – but what matters more is what food ingredients are making up those numbers.
For example – 14g of polyunsaturated fat from an avocado is extremely different than 14g from genetically modified soybean oil. And more applicable to nutrition bars, 10g of whole food fat coming from walnuts is very different than 10g of fat coming from modified palm oil, hydrogenated peanut oil and roasted peanuts. Can you see the difference? Whole foods serve us well, modified food ingredients burden our bodies.
SO, the first and nearly only thing I want you to look at is the list of ingredients! Unless you have a medical condition in which you have to respect certain values (for example: the amount of sugar specific to Type-I Diabetes).
Two of my all-time favorite bars are: Rx bars (as in prescription bars) and Larabars. See below the photos of their ingredient lists!
Larabar ingredients: cashews, dates, dried apple (only)!
Rxbar ingredients: 3 egg whites, 6 almonds, 4 cashews, 2 dates (that’s it)!
Can you see where I’m going with this?
Whole foods are incredible because our body can recognize them. Bar goes in, our body understands it to be real food and then begins the digestion process. With other nutrition bars that contain artificial ingredients, our body gets confused. It doesn’t always know what to do with the ingredients, and the bar intended for health, actually ends up damaging our beautiful digestive tract and placing a burden on our liver, among other things.
Now, an occasional granola bar is nothing to fear. But, we do need to consider what we are “mostly” putting into our bodies and if those things aren’t serving us well then it’s time to look for another way, a better way!
And friends, when it comes to “nutrition,” “granola” or “protein” bars there IS a better way!
The following is a list of four nutrition bars that get an A+ rating:
- Epic bar <- these are the most pricey!
You can find Rxbars +larabars almost everywhere! And if you consider the cost in making a homemade version, the price is very reasonable.
Give these a try and let me know what you think!
In Good Food & Good Health,