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
The Top 10 Powerfoods!
I first interviewed fitness trainer Mike Levinson shortly before Father's Day. The image here shows Levinson in great shape, but he swears he only got that way after gaining 50 pounds with the birth of his first child. Levinson says he got his head back in the game and whittled away the weight while toning up.
His common sense matter-of-fact manner made me hungry for seconds, so last week I hunted down the author of Buff Dad: The 4-Week Fitness Game Plan For Real Guys (HCI), for this follow-up.
Ladies, don't be turned off by the title of Levinson's book -- or the fact these powerfoods are great for boosting testosterone and helping build muscle in men. Levinson promises women too will benefit from including the super 10 foods in their diet.
The Top 10 Testosterone Powerfoods
The Buff Dad Dietary Plan includes the 10 powerfoods. The 10 foods that boost testosterone levels naturally and help develop more muscle tone are:
1. Lean Beef
What’s Inside: Protein, iron, magnesium, zinc, saturated fat.
The Facts: “Few things have as positive an impact on testosterone levels as lean meats,” says Larrian Gillespie, retired assistant urology professor and author of many health and nutrition books. Beef specifically offers the added benefit of having high protein and zinc — two nutrients key to optimizing testosterone and muscle-building potential — in one source. While too much saturated fat is not a good thing, you require some to produce testosterone.
How to Get It: Grill or broil a lean cut of steak a few times a week.
What’s Inside: Protein, fiber, zinc.
The Facts: Beans pack a bigger shot of zinc than any other member of the veggie family; some (like baked beans) even rival the zinc content of red meat. Add it to a food that’s high in protein and fiber and low in fat, and you have a winning combo.
How to Get It: Baked beans, lima beans, navy beans, and kidney beans are all good choices. Canned versions are just as nutritious as dry.
What’s Inside: Protein and little fat.
The Facts: “High-protein diets have a positive impact on muscle mass and thus testosterone levels,” says John E. Morley, director of the Division of Geriatric Medicine at St. Louis University. “High fat has the opposite effect.” So while chicken and turkey lack high zinc levels, their protein-to-fat ratios make them important to your diet.
How to Get It: Roast or grill skinless, boneless portions of turkey or chicken several times a week. Or choose chicken and turkey cold cuts for lunch.
4. Eggs (preferably egg whites)
What’s Inside: Protein and cholesterol.
The Facts: “Testosterone is synthesized from cholesterol, and as such, food containing cholesterol is a good source of building blocks for testosterone,” says Robert S. Tan, M.D., associate professor of geriatric medicine and andrologist at the University of Texas in Houston. (An andrologist specializes in male diseases, especially those affecting the male reproductive system.) Eggs are a source of pure, unadulterated cholesterol, and one recent study shows that the excess cholesterol in eggs isn’t as harmful as previously thought.
How to Get It: Start your day with three or four eggs or egg whites cooked in olive oil or fat-free cooking spray. Egg whites are lower in calories and are recommended in most of the Buff Dad recipes.
5. Cottage Cheese (1 percent milk fat)
What’s Inside: Protein with very little fat.
The Facts: One cup of 1 percent cottage cheese has more protein and less fat than a serving of lean beef or chicken. Have it as a snack or with a meal for testosterone-boosting potential.
How to Get It: Eat 1 cup of cottage cheese each day. Add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon for extra flavor.
What’s Inside: Indole-3-carbinol, fiber.
The Facts: “Elevated estrogen levels lead to fat accumulation and can interfere with muscle growth,” says Chris Aceto, author of Championship Bodybuilding. In a clinical study, indole-3-carbinol found in broccoli reduced the female hormone estradiol by 50 percent in men, resulting in increased lean muscle and decreased fat.
How to Get It: Eat as many servings of broccoli as you can stomach.
What’s Inside: Indole-3-carbinol, fiber.
The Facts: In addition to exhibiting the same estradiol-restricting properties as other cruciferous vegetables, cabbage is high in fiber. Because fiber is satisfying, you eat less overall. Moreover, keeping weight down has an anti-estrogen impact.
How to Get It: Load up that fat-free brat with sauerkraut and have a side of slaw. (Just go easy on the mayo.)
8. Brussels Sprouts
What’s Inside: Indole-3-carbinol, fiber.
The Facts: Listen to your mom: Brussels sprouts do help you grow up big and strong. Like the other vegetables on the list, Brussels sprouts specifically target bad estrogen and pack in the fiber.
How to Get It: Hold your nose and power them down.
What’s Inside: Allicin (an enzyme produced within the clove).
The Facts: In clinical studies, garlic’s active ingredient, allicin, enhances testosterone levels and inhibits cortisol, a hormone that competes with testosterone by limiting its actions and breaking down muscle tissue.
How to Get It: Season other foods with garlic, but eating whole cloves provides the most direct benefit.
What’s Inside: Protein, magnesium, lots of zinc.
The Facts: Along with increasing physical endurance, oysters pack more zinc than almost any other food source. Just six oysters give you almost seven times the recommended daily allowance of zinc, and zinc plays a key role in muscle growth and testosterone levels.
How to Get It: Eat a serving of oysters once a week — raw, cooked, or canned (preferably not fried).
Mike Levinson is a former amateur bodybuilding champion and registered dietitian who holds dual degrees in sports nutrition and physical education. He has worked extensively as a nutritionist with the California Angels baseball team and with famous athletes such as Charles Oakley, JT Snow, Jim Abbott, Gary DiSarcina, and Sean Rooks of the Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers. He also worked as a nutritionist with both the Chicago Bears football team and the Oakland Raiders.
For your copy of Buff Dad, click on the book image at left.
June 30, 2008
Morning Meals Matter!
Start Your Engine Right!
You’ve heard it before – breakfast is the most important meal of the day. 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.
Let’s 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 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
Make Ahead Idea
Blend the following ingredients and chill for a frosty grab in the morning!
1 cup plain non-fat yogurt
½ cup strawberry mango orange juice (such as Dole)
1/2 cup frozen raspberries
2 tbsp wheat germ
Yield: 1 serving
Nutrition Information: 281 calories, 19 g protein, 46 g carbs, 2 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 190 mg sodium, 5 g fiber
February 27, 2008