Let’s face the truth – most of us don’t have time to cook, are often on the go and need quick and easy solutions for keeping our bodies energized. For situations like these, I turn to snack bars. With so many options out there, I want to share my take on key ingredients – sugar, fat and protein – and introduce you to four bars that I like.
Sugar: All of the bars in this blog have sugar. But don’t be alarmed. This is good-for-you sugar that gives you energy. After all, each one of our cells needs sugar to live. The challenge that we have been facing is having bad-for-us sugars like white cane sugar or high fructose corn syrup instead of natural sugars like fruits and honey. A friend of mine eats 10-12 bananas a time and he is one of the healthiest and energetic people I know. That’s because he consumes good sugars that nurture the body and give it energy. I don’t suggest you eat as many bananas as he does, but I do want to open you up to the possibility that some natural sugars can be good for the body.
Fat: Fat has been getting a bad rep in the past decade, but again, it is all about the right kind of fat. Fat keeps us satiated and satisfied. If you pick nuts and seeds as your source of fat, you may find yourself less hungry throughout the day and even more focused. After all, the brain is composed of mostly fat and needs fat to thrive. Chia seeds, flax seeds and walnuts are excellent sources of anti-inflammatory omega-3s.
Protein: Protein is made up of amino acids: the building blocks we need to be strong and healthy. There’s a big debate going on about the amount of protein each person needs. I believe in bio-individuality so with that in mind, I suggest trying what works best for you. Test different options and see what kind of protein gives you the most energy without stressing out your digestion. Once again, I like nuts and seeds as a protein source.
Best Greens Bar
Green Plus Chia Chocolate
Since the very first bite of this bar, Chia Chocolate has won a special place in my heart. Being a big dessert fan, I find that this bar satisfies my sugar cravings, gives me energy and supplies me with necessary nutrients. It is loaded with greens, anti-inflammatory chia seeds and a plethora of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. And yes, it is covered in chocolate – my favorite sidekick to greens! This bar has 6 grams of protein, 7 grams of fiber and 22 grams of sugar.
Best Low Sugar Bar
This bar is perfect for someone who likes to keep sugar low and protein high. My favorite flavor is the Double Nut Brownie, which boasts 6 grams of fiber, 10 grams of protein and only 10 grams of sugar. I took this bar with me to Art Basel, and it kept me satisfied and energized while walking around for three hours. All bars are gluten free and 100 percent natural, with organic key ingredients. Many bars are vegan and non-GMO.
Best Mini Energy Bar
The Perfect Bar
Even though most of The Perfect Bar company products are not vegan (some have whey and honey in them), I love its peanut butter original bar. They come in mini 100-calorie packs, so you can take one before or after your workout or when you need to keep hunger at bay. I personally find peanut butter to be much more satisfying than others nuts. One mini-bar will give you 5 grams of protein, 6 grams of sugar and 6 grams of healthy fats. All products are non-GMO with many organic ingredients. Look for them in the refrigerated section of your grocery or vitamin store.
Best For Kids
This bar has one of the most touching stories I’ve heard. When the father of a family of six lost his job, the parents struggled to provide food for their four young children.
In order to survive, they sought help from public assistance and food banks. To save money, they started to make natural granola bars, making sure they were gluten and soy free due to their children’s allergies. The kids loved the bars, and so did other people, who asked to buy some. And so the business was born. I think the bars are a great alternative to traditional mass-produced granola bars. Plus, they have a great mission – a portion of each sale goes to support local food banks. I liked the Enzo flavor the best. It has 172 calories, 6 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber and 12 grams of sugar.
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About Alina Z.
Alina Z., aka “The Green Goddess,” is a certified holistic health coach, detox specialist and raw-food chef (she conducts occasional classes at Whole Foods in Boca). Prior to moving to Florida, Alina hosted her own TV show in Maryland—“Entertaining A to Z”—for people who didn’t have time to cook but wanted to eat healthy. Catch one of her web episodes at eHow.com, visit Alina’s website at alinaz.com, or follow her on Facebook (facebook.com/CoutureFood) or Twitter (@CoutureFood). The Green Goddess blog runs every other Wednesday at bocamag.com.