During the busy holiday season, it can be difficult finding healthy snack foods to eat on the go.
That’s where the healthy granola bar or energy protein bar comes in handy. You simply toss a few of these into your purse or brief case and you’re good to go. But do these bars truly deliver wholesome nutrition?
It’s important to look beyond the packaging to understand which nutrients these so-called healthy snack foods and meal replacement bars provide.
For one, many varieties of the energy protein bar contain as much as 20 grams, or approximately 5 teaspoons, of sugar. That seems excessive considering that nutrition experts recommend reducing consumption of sugar as a way to help prevent major diseases.
The next issue with bars is their source of protein – most often soy. While the packaged food industry promotes the health properties of soy, nutrition researchers advise us to beware of both the quantity and the type of soy consumed. Because soy contains plant estrogens, which may contribute to cancer, we’re advised not to overdo soy. Plus, most energy protein bars contain isolated soy protein, a refined form of soy.
So what’s a busy person supposed to do? Believe it or not, there actually are a few energy protein bars and healthy granola bars that measure up… well, nearly.
One brand that contains healthier soy lecithin rather than isolated soy protein is Cascadian Farms Organic Chewy Granola bars. These bars are sold five to a box and come in 11 different varieties. This specific organic energy bar also contains less sugar than most bars with only 13 grams of sugar in most varieties. Another plus is that organic soy by law cannot be a genetically modified organism, or GMO.
One energy protein bar that contains no soy but still delivers 3-4 grams of healthy protein from nuts is the Larabar. The issue of concern with the Larabar, however, is that the main ingredient is non-organic, dried dates which, like all non-organic, dried fruit, is likely to contain concentrated agrichemicals. Secondly because dried fruit is high in sugar, many of the Larabars contain 18-20 grams in each 1.7-oz. bar.
In summary, most energy protein bars leave the consumer short when it comes to healthy snack foods or meal replacement bars. Fortunately a few exceptions on the market aim for, and sometimes achieve, higher standards.
Click here for info on the top 7 natural sweeteners for making your own healthy granola bar or energy protein bar.