It’s one of the best bets at the gas station. A nutrition bar is processed, yes, but it’s also portion-controlled, safely packaged and easy to grab and go when you need a quick fix.
Not all are made alike, however…far from it, in fact. Some nutrition bars are more like candy bars. Some pack enough calories to do in your daily diet. And some are more fake than The Mummy Returns’ Scorpion King. So how do you choose?
- A short list. Ingredients should be minimal–15 is pushing it, and 20 is unnecessary. Better if you can find one with just a handful of real foods.
- Real sugar. Sucralose (Splenda) and other artificial sweeteners are a surefire way to develop a bellyache. Dates, cane syrup and fruit juice may have more calories, but they’re easier on your digestive system.
- Organics. Fruits, veggies, nuts and grains farmed in this manner generally have more nutrients and fewer nasty pesticides.
- Nutrition. A bar made with puffed wheat and chocolate chips will cause your blood sugar to crash faster than a three-year-old learning to ride a bike. Look for quinoa, nuts, nut butters, dried fruit and perhaps some added protein to fuel you for a few hours.
- Controlled calories. A nutrition bar that exceeds 400 calories is closer to a meal than a snack; in that case, you may want to get a light salad and a small sandwich to add some filling fiber instead. And be sure you check the serving size; if a bar is two servings, don’t forget to double your numbers.
Nutrition bars are a great way to fill a spot in your diet when you’re on the go. Just choose wisely, friends, and save dessert for later!