Tuesday, March 10, 2015

NNM Day 7 :: Nutrition Bars

GOOD(er than other options)
I iz gramr geenyus

Last time I mentioned those "nutritional" bars that some diet franchises sell to their subscribers. I was going to include the better choices in that post, but I had too much to say!

TGTABTAO!: Thank God There Are Bars That Are Okay!
In addition to the processed bars, there are now loads of other, better options. If you're a purist, go for the Larabars. The ingredient lists are astoundingly short. I always have one in my bag just in case. The Chocolate Chip Brownie bar is my go-to for when I have a mean chocolate craving. Sometimes I'll have 1/2 a bar after dinner and treat it like a dessert. The Apple Pie or Blueberry Muffin are my "every day" bars. Both awesome and both taste like what the wrapper claims they should taste like.

There are others that are alright. I just tried the thinkThin Cookies and Creme bar (pretty good). Like with a lot of bars, it doesn't taste exactly like what the wrapper says, but for 20g of protein and "no sugar" (they use sugar alcohols, which aren't healthy, but aren't that terrible, either).

The Strong & Kind bars are good, too. They use almonds to boost the protein and have a relatively low amount of sugar. I like the Roasted Jalapeno and Honey Smoked BBQ. One thing I like about these is that they're savory. A lot of the nutrition bars are sweet, and I'm more of a savory snack kinda gal.

I just want to emphasize that these bars shouldn't be used regularly as meal replacement options. I have maybe 1 or 2 each week when necessary. Sometimes I'm out during a meal time, so I'll have a bar to hold me over until I can get home and have some real food. And sometimes I'll have 1/2 a Larabar as a dessert to keep me from reaching for high-sugar desserts.

Sometimes you're in a rush, hungry, and without a snack. Flip over the bar and keep an eye on these criteria:
(+) Protein. You want something that is going to keep you satisfied.
(+) Sugar. This is super important. So many snack/nutrition bars have loads of sugar to compensate for taste. Remember that the daily intake of added sugar is about 37g for men and 25g for women. Think about what you've already eaten and what you plan to eat later. If that bar has 17g of sugar you're already well, WELL into your consumption for the day. If you've had a coffee with sugar or flavoring, then you're probably over. Glass of juice? Over. Bowl of cereal... maybe over.
(+) Calories. While I don't recommend letting this be the first thing you look at, and shouldn't necessarily be a deterrent, just take note. Larabars are usually in the 200cal range- which seems like a high number. Considering the ingredient list is short, and the protein/fiber/sugar numbers make me happy- I'm not bothered by it being 200 calories. If I was someone who watched their calorie intake more rigidly, it would just mean I would need to tweak my meals later in the day. NBD

SarahFit has a great blog post about her recommendations for protein bars: 7 Best Protein Bars to Buy at the Grocery Store

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