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IN A PINCH! 4 Jan 2011

Bars

Hey Lauren,

I've been super busy at work lately and I find myself running to Lithe straight from the office without eating dinner. Can you recommend an on-the-go meal bar that could tide me over and get me through my workout? I'm leaning towards Odwalla's Super Protein bar, but I know some of them are packed with refined sugars and other hidden evils so I need your expert advice!  Thanks, AS 

Hi A!  Great question.  I'm not really a big bar fan-it's a bar, in a package, sitting on a shelf...It's not really good food.  The down and dirty truth is that most energy bars contain a lot of simple sugar and it's just not healthy.  All that simple sugar sets you up to crave is more of the same while weakening your immune system.  I strongly believe that it's always better to eat foods in their natural, whole state.  I recommend packing hard-bolied eggs, granola, a banana or an apple and nut butter to tie you over til' dinner. 

Hey, but i understand!  Sometimes a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do!  So, when I have no other option but to grab a bar in a pinch, I choose Kind Bar Fruit & Nut, Lara Bar, Vega or Earthling Yogi.  Kind's Fruit & Nut Delight is a crunchy, classic blend of heart healthy mixed nuts (Almonds, Brazil nuts, peanuts and walnuts), dried apricots, raisins and a drizzle of honey. Each bar contains 5g of protein, 4g fiber and only 180 calories.  Earthling's contains: Soaked Nuts and Seeds, low temperature dried ingredients: *Coconut, *Almonds, *Pumpkin Seeds, *Figs, *Real Raw Agave Nectar, Sun-Dried Sea Salt, *Cinnamon, *Ginger, *Vanilla Bean. (*organic)

I took a look at Odwala and on the plus side:

   
* They are not heavily processed and are high in potassium & low in saturated fat.
    * All grains in Odwalla bars are in their whole state which is great.
    * Calorie counts average at 230 calories, which is reasonable for a snack.
    * Most varieties use real fruit purees (as opposed to fruit juice concentrates).
    * They are a good source of fiber (an average of 4 grams per bar — all from food).

What I don't love:
   
* Some Odwalla bars contain 12 grams (1 tablespoon) of added sugar.
    * Some of their nutrients are fortified (added in).
    * Some flavors use sweetened fruits and/or fruit juice concentrates.

So, in a pinch, the Odwalla Bar isn't all that bad! 

Images via Brand websites.

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Think Thin bars are also good- they vary a bit depending on flavor but none of them have sugar and they have a good amount of protein. My favorite is the creamy peanut butter!

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