So many of us have converted to eating energy bars or meal replacement bars for a snack or dinner substitute. We live in a busy society, so naturally, we need something we can bring on the road that takes little time to prepare, can easily be carried, and still provides us with adequate nutrition...or so we think. You might have been told that a SlimFast bar or Clif bar is super good for you and supplies you with plenty of protein and minerals, but have you ever bothered to turn the package over and take a look at the ingredients list?
You would be surprised to find out that usually the first or second ingredient in these “meal replacements” is sugar. Not exactly a true health bar with great nutritional benefits. Some would even compare certain types of energy bars to candy bars, like a Snickers or Twix. Sad, but true. So then you might be wondering, “why would we be told that these “nutrition bars” are healthy and nutritious? Well first off, energy bars were originally intended for endurance athletes or individuals who regularly engage in heightened levels of physical activity, such as high intensity biking, running, or mountain climbing. These are not intended for the average individual who spends a great deal of time sitting down, or even goes for a brisk walk.
Over time, society has become more lenient and stretched the truth about food products and then wonders why it suffers from weight gain, fatigue, and other health complications. Since we prefer an easy solution to cope with always being on the go, we look to energy bars to stave off hunger. Honestly though, we are better off with real, whole food sources such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean protein rather than heavily processed treats intended to replenish us after extended periods of exercise. Now if you are one of those hard-core athletes who requires an easily accessible bar to restock your energy, then you are welcome to indulge, moderately, in one of these yummy bars. But if not, it’s best to save them for your friends who move around much more than you.
That’s not to say that meal replacement bars should be avoided, but keep in mind the extra calories and sugar contained in a single bar. Don’t be easily fooled into thinking they are the ultimate solution to reaching your fitness goals. Example of a healthier choice would be a Kind Bar, RX Bar, or Lara Bar, which contain raw nuts, dried fruits, protein blend, whole grains, minimal added sugars, and other natural ingredients. Not all health bars are created equal, so be sure to check the label to see how healthy it truly is!