recipes and tips for better living

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Nibble This: Best Snack Bar Options

I'm not the hugest fan of snack bars since most are a medley of fillers, processed bits, whey, soy, malitol (a sweetener/sugar used often to make the harder chocolate like coating on the outside of the bars) and other low quality sugars, but i will say that they can come in handy in a pinch & be a solid replacement to some of the other 'junk' food we tend to reach for.  When shopping snack bars you can pretty much bypass anything on your major grocers shelves.

Skip the kashi, skip the quaker, and definitely skip fiber one, all of which contain either genetically modified canola and soybean oil, gluten, corn syrup, or other hidden sugars.  

Hit up Whole Foods or your local health food shop and look for raw snack bars with as few ingredients as possible.  Always be a label reader.  I'm constantly shocked at how good marketing and strategic words fool us.  Flip the bar and read the label to make sure you seek out bars with only pure whole food, fiber, and that contain less than 10 grams of sugar (the more sugary sweet the bar the hungrier you'll be after your blood sugars drop).  Plus 4 grams of sugar is equal to one whole tsp.  Many of these bars have 20 plus grams of sugar.  That's 5 teaspoons!  Try scooping 5 tsps of sugar into a bowl so you can see how 'healthy' your little snack bar really is!

Here's the good news....I've already done the 'market research' for you, so you don't have to go broke buying and taste testing a bunch of  snack bars.....mmmmmm, treats....  :)  I claim this act of indulging in snack bars as 'market research' since when B Bar opens we'll want to stock only the best of the best supplements, superfoods, and snacky bits.  So clearly this 'research' was job driven (insert tax write off here).

Here's my Grateful Analysis:

Exclusively for major Yum Factor i give two thumbs up to Two moms in the raw.  Holy Grail of Yumminess!  These mama's know good stuff when they taste it!  I was THRILLED to munch this bar UNTIL i noticed something on the label that threw me off.

One bar is 2 servings!!!!  That means double the nutrition facts!!!  As you can see the label writing is tiny, so it was easy to miss this at the store.  When i bought the bars i thought i was safe with a sugar count of 11 grams....Nope.  It has 22 grams of sugar and 18 grams of fat in one 4 inch bar.  What - WHAT??? That's not a snack bar - that's a meal bar with way too much sugar!!  And who in their right mind is going to split a 4 inch bar in half???  If you have that kind of discipline, then go for it, and enjoy half.  If you're like me and know you won't stop at 2 inches, skip these sassy mama's bars and go for one of the other options below.

Both Crunchalicious & Delicious, Lydia's Organics get a Big Wham-O high five!  I've had lydia's bars before and loved them, but found two flavors at Whole Foods i hadn't sampled before: Spirulina Bar and Cacao Crunch.  I was pleased to see that on the nutrition facts (especially on the chocolatey one) sugars were kept low and fiber is high, AND that many of the ingredients are sprouted (driving up the nutrient reward).  The cacao crunch only has 2 grams of sugar, 4 grams of fiber, 160 calories, and 7 grams of healthy fat from sunflower and sesame seeds.  Spirulina Bar had a bit more fat than i prefer in a bar (16 grams), though it's all from healthy sources (coconut, almond, flax, and sunflower seeds), 220 calories (again more than i prefer in a snack bar), 7 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of fiber.   There are many other flavors offered with lower fat and calorie counts than the Spirulina bar.  Lydia's bars are a major "GO!" on my list.

And for those of you who don't have a killin' sweet tooth Go Raw Live Granola Bar and Go Raw Live Pumpkin Bar get my approval.  These bars also has a hefty fat and calories load (240 calories, 16 grams fat for the pumpkin bar and 240 calories, 10 grams fat for the granola bar) but they're made soley from a variety of sprouted seeds (sprouting drives up the enzymes and amino acids, aka protein), dates, and a little agave.  While dates and agave are essentially sugar, they must not use much since the sugar count is only 5-6 grams per bar (a little more than 1 tsp).  These bars have only a mild sweet taste, which i really like.  Sometimes i find snack bars just too sweet.  If you want something with the crunch of granola, but not so sugar, packed with omega friendly flax seed, here's your bar.

I don't know that there is a 'perfect' snack bar out there, but looking over the labels/ingredients of MANY snack bars on the market (this includes 'kind' bars, 'perfect' bars, 'luna/cliff', 'think thin', and many more), these are the only ones that really look healthy/whole/clean.  If you are in a pinch it could do the trick, but most likely so could a BIG GLASS OF WATER or even an apple and a handful of almonds.  Often when hunger hits and you think your body is telling you to eat, it simply wants one of these:


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