The 11 Best Breakfast Bars
A recent Label Lesson unwrapped the dark side of breakfast bars. This week we want you to take an oath:
I swear I will NEVER touch another Healthy Food Imposter breakfast bar again. I will ONLY eat breakfast foods that provide my body with whole grains and other natural, healthful ingredients - no matter how long it takes to prepare such a breakfast…
Just kidding! You don’t have to give up convenience to enjoy a great breakfast.
That’s right… you can be good to your body even if you don’t have time to prepare a full-blown morning meal. The food sleuths here at eBrandAid.com have tracked down a few good breakfast bars that have nutrients and convenience!
Case in point: LARABAR Raw Food Bar Chocolate Coconut Chew
Cals 220, 12g fat, 0 sodium, 18g sugar, 5g fiber, 5g protein
Ingredients: Dates, Almonds, Walnuts, Unsweetened Coconut, Unsweetened Cocoa Powder.
Friends, this bar contains the Holy Trinity of healthy eating: CONVENIENCE, NUTRITION and ENERGY!
Decoding the fine print
So why is this breakfast bar worth your time and money, you ask? If the ingredients don’t speak for themselves, our food sleuths are happy to speak for them. Take a look:
This bar (like all the LARABAR varieties) is crafted from fewer than six ingredients.
The unsweetened cocoa provides more antioxidants than green tea.
The dates, coconut, almonds and walnuts are all nutritional superstars!
The fiber, protein, good carbohydrates and healthy fats are derived exclusively from whole, raw foods.
This bar is a wholefood NATURAL source of 16 essential vitamins and minerals, including fiber, vitamin E and folic acid. There’s no need for a red-flag label claim like “fortified with vitamins and minerals.”
Sugars and carbs come from fruit, not from processed, added junk sources.
And the best part, they come in 14 amazing flavors all of which are free of added sugars and sweeteners, preservatives, fillers, and artificial colorings.
There’s nothing not to love about this breakfast bar!
Variety is the spice of life – and important to any healthy eating plan – so we’re serving up more nutrition-on-the-go breakfast bars that meet our BestBrands standards:
The first few ingredients are made from wholefood sources like dates, nuts or whole grains such as rolled oats, wheat, barley or brown rice flour.
They have at least two grams of fiber per serving, and no more than 250 calories per bar.
And of course, they’re void of our least favorite junk ingredients like refined sugars, refined grains, trans fats, artificial sweeteners and colors, and harmful preservatives.
Finally, they’re good and good for you! And by the way, these aren’t just for breakfast anymore – they make great in between meal snacks too!
Note: Remember, all varieties of the same brand are NOT created equal! Please make sure you are choosing the recommended variety within each brand. When in doubt, read the ingredients label!
Clif Nectar Organic Fruit and Nut Bar (all flavors)
Health Valley Granola Bars Lowfat Chocolate Chip
Kashi TLC Chewy Granola Bars Honey Almond Flax
Kashi Honey Toasted 7-Grain
Kashi Chewy Granola Bars Trail Mix
LARABARS (All flavors)
Nature's Choice Multigrain Cereal Bars
Nature Valley Granola Bites Oats 'N Honey
Nature Valley Roasted Nut Bars Peanut Crunch
Odwalla Nourishing Food Bars Carrot Raisin
Simple Harvest All Natural Multigrain Chewy Granola Bars (all flavors)
Remember, when you're armed with a little eBrandAid know-how,
you're in control at the grocery store.
Kerry McLeod is eBrandAid.com's chief Brand Doctor and a regular blogger here at Diet.com. Kerry's mission in life is to teach food shoppers how to cut through the clutter at the grocery store in order to find the truly healthy brand-name foods. Go to www.eBrandAid.com for more information.
August 23, 2010
Happy Gluten-Free Halloween!
Halloween is just a few days away and the excitement certainly is growing in my house. But if you have a child who can’t eat gluten you probably are less than thrilled with this holiday.
How do you let them eat candy and make sure it is gluten free, especially when the little mini versions available at Halloween generally do not contain ingredient lists?
You could always forgo trick-or-treating altogether and have a Halloween party instead. If this is considered a “no fun” option in your house than hopefully the following tips will help.
If you haven’t done so already, plan to spend some time at the store parked in front of the Halloween candy display reading ingredient lists. Write down the names of those candies that do not contain any gluten ingredients.
Many candy manufacturers include allergen information on their packaging. However, some allergen information is more helpful than others.
Smarties candy, manufactured by the Ce De Candy Company, states the following on their label, “Smarties contain none of the following common allergens: gluten (from wheat, barley, oats, and rye), milk, egg, fish, Crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts, or soybeans.” Now that is what I call helpful allergen labeling!! I will buy this candy just for this statement alone.
If the bags of candy you pick up do not contain all of this helpful information and you are concerned about allergens and cross contact, go online to manufacturer websites to see if they have any information available on allergens and gluten. You can also call manufacturers to discuss their quality control procedures.
There are lists of candy made without gluten-containing ingredients available on line. Google gluten-free Halloween candy and several sites will come up. You will have to judge for yourself how reliable you think the information is.
Make sure your child is aware of what candy you decide is gluten free and safe for them to eat. That way when presented with a choice and allowed to choose their own piece of candy, they will choose a gluten-free variety.
If you are friends with some of the families in the areas where you will be trick-or-treating, give them a list of gluten-free candy or provide them with candy yourself. This way your child is guaranteed a gluten-free option from at least some of the houses they visit.
In fact, this is a strategy followed by the Roberts family, a family of five with celiac disease and multiple food allergies.
Mom Jane says, “In the past I have prepared for trick-or-treating by planning ahead. I made 10 Ziploc bags of candies for each of my kids and delivered them to my neighbors with a note asking them to give these to our children on Halloween night. That way, I knew for sure the kids would get at least some candy they could eat.
"Afterward, the children of some of those parents were willing to do a "candy trade" for the candies that weren't safe that my kids received at other houses. It worked out great! I was amazed how willing people were to help out the next year and actually asked what kind of candy was safe for my children. What a treat!”
This may seem like a no-brainer but, just in case, make sure the candy you buy to give out Halloween night is gluten free. Buy extra so that your child can “trade” the gluten-containing candy they receive for the gluten-free candy you are handing out. Kids (at least mine and it looks like Jane’s too) love to trade candy.
Let your child exchange their gluten-containing candy for a toy. We have been exchanging candy for a toy in my house for years simply because I didn’t want my son eating too much candy!
Hopefully some of these tips are useful and will help make Halloween a little less stressful for you!
Tricia Thompson, M.S., RD is a nutrition consultant, author and speaker specializing in celiac disease and the gluten-free diet. She is the author of The Gluten-Free Nutrition Guide (McGraw-Hill) and co-author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Gluten-Free Eating (Penguin Group). For more information, visit www.glutenfreedietitian.com.
GLUTEN-FREE IS A GOOD START! But to get a weight loss plan perfectly catered to your personal needs, click here and becomes a Diet.com Premium Member!
For a copy of The Gluten-Free Nutrition Guide click here.
October 28, 2008
10 Fast, Flavorful Grab 'n Go Breakfasts
You may be tempted to skip breakfast, but that’s a shame because of all the wonderful benefits breakfast offers.
And, it couldn’t be easier. I’ll show you how with 10 great grab 'n go breakfasts!
First, examine your breakfast habits:
How many days out of the week do you eat breakfast? Hopefully your answer is everyday! However, if you skip breakfast frequently, try asking yourself why.
Is it because you are not hungry in the morning or you don’t have time? Or, is it because you think breakfast will make you hungry the rest of the day or because you think it will help you lose weight?
No matter what your reason is for skipping breakfast, there is a solution and yes, it is still important to start your day with a nutritious meal.
Breakfast can be quick, satisfying and tasty with a preparation time of 10 minutes or less.
Second, challenge common excuses for skipping breakfast
• You are not hungry – practice makes perfect! The more you eat breakfast, the more your body will crave it. Also, take a look at your portions the night before. Skipping meals can lead to overeating later in the day leaving you less hungry in the morning.
• Breakfast will make me hungry all day – it is good and normal to be hungry at intervals throughout the day! Ideally, you should try to eat every 3-4 hours to keep your engine humming, prevent cravings and mood swings and improve energy levels.
• Skipping breakfast will help me lose weight – wrong! In fact, a common trait among people who successfully lose weight and keep it off is that they start the day with breakfast!
• I don’t have time – breakfast can be as easy as grabbing a few items and heading out the door. Or, you can prepare something up the night before – try the recipe below for a no-fuss breakfast!
Super Fast Grab-n-Go Breakfast Ideas
• Small whole wheat bagel with light cream cheese and banana
• Whole grain toaster waffle with peanut butter, sliced strawberries and all-fruit jam
• Meal replacement bar and fruit
• Hard boiled egg (boil the night before), whole grain toast & grapes
• String cheese, apple and low-fat granola bar
Healthy Breakfast Picks on the Road
• Jamba Juice Yogurt and Fruit Blend – try a protein or fiber boost (220 calories, 0.5g fat)
• Starbucks Orange Mango Smoothie (250 calories, 16 g protein, 5g fiber)
• Starbucks Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon, Egg and Cheddar Sandwich (350 calories, 11g fat)
• Dunkin' Donuts Smart Menu Egg White Veggie Flatbread Sandwich (290 calories, 9g fat)
• LaBou Creamy Oatmeal Cereal (266-279 calories, 3-8 g fat)
October 15, 2008