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The “scoop” on Energy/Nutrition Bars

01.04.2012 / Blog Posts Health and Wellness

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By Jane Jakubczak, Washington Redskins Team Nutritionist

I am often asked about the various energy and nutrition bars on the market today. These bars can play an important role in the “always on the go” lifestyle most of us lead. I am a true believer in “real food first,” however when you are in a pinch, a carefully selected commercial bar can play a part in a healthy nutrition plan.

The original energy bars were designed with the busy athlete in mind. The bars were developed to be a portable, non-perishable, easily digestible source of nutrients to fuel workouts and competition.

Since the 1980’s the energy bar industry has exploded with hundreds of different varieties targeted to not only the athlete, but the general population as well. Taste seems to have trumped performance enhancement during this expansion, therefore it is very important to use caution when selecting a bar.

The following is the criteria I encourage my clients to follow when purchasing energy/nutritional bars. Read the Nutrition Facts Label carefully and stick with bars that contain:

Nutrient Recommended Level (Per Bar)

Calories: 180 – 280 calories
Saturated fat: 2 grams or less
Total Carbohydrates: 30-50 grams
Fiber: 3-5+ grams
Sugars: 18 or less grams
Protein: 6-12 grams (no more than 20 g)

Bars that fall into these criteria include:

Clif Bar
Luna Bar
Lara Bar (these are both gluten and dairy free)
PowerBar Harvest
PowerBar Performance
Odwalla Bar

For more evaluation of energy/nutrition bars visit: http://www.cspinet.org/nah/12_00/barexam.html

Homemade energy bar recipes:
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/jo-anns-power-bars/
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/printerfriendly/Peanutty-Energy-Bars-353549
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ellie-krieger/energy-bars-recipe/index.html

I would love to hear which bars WOW readers find as their favorite or if you have a great recipe for an energy/nutrition bar please share!

Make it a healthy 2012!
- Jane

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