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
Beating Cancer With Fruits & Veggies!
Did you know that if you eat more fruits and vegetables, you are HALF as likely to develop cancer as those who eat the least amount of these foods?
There are irrefutable facts to support this statement. It’s not just pie in the sky dreaming; it’s a true promise. Eat more fruits and vegetables, and increase the odds in your favor of living a cancer free life! Is that not incredible??
I know I am constantly beating the fruit and vegetable drum to y’all. I can’t help it when I read as much as I do. The amazing thing to me is that bazillions of dollars are spent on researching chronic diseases and for all the pills and treatments out there, nothing is as effective as being preventative by doing a simple thing like eating more fruits and vegetables.
Wouldn’t it be incredible if we were to actually take seriously what we KNOW to be true and actually EAT the amount of produce we should each and every day? How do you suppose we could affect change in those statistics?
Here’s some scary stuff to ponder:
*More than 125 million people have some sort of chronic illness.
*About half of chronically ill Americans are under the age of 45 and 15% of that number are CHILDREN with chronic conditions!
*It is estimated that 300,000 to 800,000 preventable deaths per year in the United States are nutrition related. Did you see that?? NUTRITION RELATED DEATH! That means the junk you eat can literally kill you!
It’s time for a revolution, people! Are you ready for it? Are you with me?
Count how many fruit and veggie servings you’re getting each day. If there is a direct correlation between good health and doing this ONE thing — eating plenty of fruits and veggies each day — why WOULDN’T we do this?
I am going to challenge each and everyone of you to do what you can to get more green, more yellow, more orange and more red in your meals, each and everyday. Eat by color. Green for beans, broccoli, spinach, kiwis and lettuces. Yellow for squash and bananas, orange for oranges and sweet potatoes and red for apples and peppers. Yes we can do this!
Let’s NOT be statistics, let’s buck this scary trend and begin to count the good stuff going in. Don’t beat yourself up for the past, get busy and get shopping this week for the RIGHT stuff.
I’ll have more on how to get more fruits and veggies into your life, so stay TUNED!
For more about The Dinner Diva, Leanne Ely, please check out her www.SavingDinner.com website.
May 24, 2010
Healthy Food Imposter: Crystal Light
Oh my Gawd!!!
It's the phrase we uttered most during our recent BestBrands shopping spree. Yes, your trusted food sleuths were regularly freaked out by the plethora of Healthy Food Imposters they found lurking on grocery store shelves from coast to coast.
With so many foods and drinks trying to pass themselves off as "healthy," we decided it might be insightful - not to mention fun - incorporating "The Healthy Food Imposter of the Month" award into our regular lineup. In order to be eligible for this award, a product must meet the following criteria:
Criteria #1: Extremely misleading information on the front label
Criteria #2: Three or more harmful junk ingredients
Criteria #3: Deceptive health claims (blatant or implied)
Criteria #4: A high shock value… the OMG response, if you will!
Our first recipient of this infamous award goes to (the envelope please)...
Crystal Light Immunity On The Go
Serving: 5 calories, 0g fat, 10mg sodium, 1g carbs, 0% vitamin A, 0% calcium, 20% vitamin C and 0% iron)
INGREDIENTS: Citric Acid, Maltodextrin, Modified Cornstarch, Natural Flavor, Aspartame (Phenylketonurics: Contains Phenylalanine), Red 40, Contains Less than 2% of Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Vitamin E Acetate, Beta Carotene, Calcium Carbonate, Sodium and Potassium Bicarbonate, Magnesium Oxide, Acesulfame Potassium, Blue 1.
Criteria #1: Extremely Misleading Information on the Front Label
These individually packaged drink mixtures are intended to be added to water to boost flavor and improve your health. The front label clearly states "Immunity on the Go" and "Cherry Pomegranate." Both terms imply that the powder will boost your immune system and provide antioxidant health benefits via the fruit.
However, after decoding the fine print, the Nutrition Facts label and the ingredients list tell a different tale.
For starters, each serving only provides 20% RDA for vitamin C, 0% for vitamin A, 0% calcium, and 0% iron; we're not really seeing a whole lot of immune boosting going on here.
Then, we find very little evidence that natural cherry and pomegranate exist in the mix. We did however find two artificial color ingredients clearly used to give the mixture the illusion that there was some real fruit involved.
Criteria #2: Three or More Harmful Junk Ingredients
We found a total of 15 ingredients - eight are potentially harmful chemical additives (junk ingredients), including:
Two artificial colors (Red 40 and Blue 1)
Two artificial sweeteners (aspartame and acesulfame potassium)
One refined sweetener (maltodextrin)
Two preservatives (sodium and potassium bicarbonate)
One thickener (modified cornstarch)
Criteria #3: Deceptive Health Claims (Blatant or Implied)
According to the Crystal Light Web sit, this variety is part of their "enhanced line that contains essential nutrients designed to hydrate you, energize and enhance your body's natural defenses." The site also states, "our bodies need water to function, to flush out the bad stuff…"
Really? This product is the BAD STUFF that needs to be flushed out! It's filled with some of the worst chemical additives and they counteract any benefit that you might receive from the water. In fact, this product could actually be detrimental to your health.
Oh my Gawd! (and, thus we meet Criteria #4)
Bottom Line: We found no immunity properties, no significant antioxidants (read: health benefits) and certainly no cherry or pomegranate!
Crystal Light Immunity On The Go Cherry Pomegranate exceeds the criteria needed to win our first-ever HFI of the Month Award!
Nothing replaces the benefits of plain old filtered tap water. It's detoxifying, cleansing and keeps you from getting dehydrated.
We recommend you save your money and stick with the real deal. You'll avoid the chemical additives that can sink your resolve to get healthier! If drinking tap water just doesn't do it for you, then trying adding a squirt of REAL lemon or orange juice to spice things up!
Remember, when you're armed with a little BrandAid know-how, you're in control at the grocery store.
Kerry McLeod is eBrandAid.com's chief Brand Doctor and a 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. If smart food shopping appeals to you, go to eBrandAid.com and sign up for free newsletters.
May 24, 2010