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 Halloween: Best, Worst Candy
We’ve officially kicked off the candy-themed holidays with a big bang – Halloween! If you’re scared by the candy invading your home, office, school and every business you walk into, I understand!
It can be hard to stick with a healthy eating plan when candy is staring you down everywhere you turn.
While it may seem impossible to keep your hand out of the candy jar, it’s not impossible. Read on for some tips on sticking with your plan and which candies are not so spooky.
13 Spook-tacular Tips
• Buy candy the day before Halloween and buy only what you need.
• If you buy candy - buy something you do not like or try lollipops (they are harder to overindulge in!).
• Discard leftovers or donate leftovers to your local church, charity or neighbors and set a specific date to rid of candy.
• Don’t shop for candy when you are hungry.
• Try to give away all of the candy you bought – a good deal for late trick or treaters!
• Try non-food treats such as stickers, pencils, erasers, bracelets or plastic spiders.
• Try healthier treats such as 100-calories packs (crackers, cookies or fruit snacks), juice boxes, microwave popcorn, mini boxes of raisins, sugarless gum, mini packs of baby carrots or peanuts.
• Vow to keep a munch log and record every innocent treat you eat!
• Read the nutrition facts before you empty the bag and throw it away.
• Plan a treat into your day but try to keep it under 150 calories. You can use this as a substitution for your normal treat.
• Vow to walk 10-minutes for every extra treat that you eat.
• Follow the same rules your kids follow – you probably don’t let them indulge in Halloween candy whenever they want!
• Make your dentist proud and brush your teeth after each treat – this will also help signal that you are done with the treats.
Some candy facts are downright scary and others not so much – take a look at my top 5 best and worst picks.
Say no to these candies in the jack-o-lantern (these “snack” sized treats can easily add up to more than a regular candy bar!):
1. Snack Size Twizzlers: 130 calories
2. Snack Size Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup: 110 calories
3. Snack Size Butterfinger: 100 calories
4. Fun Size M&M’s: 100 calories
5. Snack Size Milky Way: 90 calories
Say yes to these candies in the jack-o-lantern in moderation (remember, just because they’re little doesn’t mean they don’t add up!)
1. Mini Tootsie Roll: 13 calories
2. Reese’s Mini Cup: 35 calories
3. Treat Size Box Milk Duds: 40 calories
4. Miniature Box Raisins: 45 calories
5. Treat Size SweetTarts: 50 calories
Have a lot of trick and a little treat this Halloween!
Shauna Schultz, RD
October 31, 2008
Make Comfort Foods Healthier: 10 EZ Tips
Fall is here and for many that brings cravings for comfort foods! Who doesn’t remember their favorite casserole, stew or slow cooked pot roast? The thought, taste and smell can bring you back to mom’s cooking and the warm memories of home. And, mom was smart!
Casseroles, stews and chilis are low in cost and make multiple servings. Plus, what’s more convenient than a one-dish meal!
However, when you think about these recipes now, you might notice that they are often high in calories and fat. But don’t let that stop you from starting your own tradition -- healthier, new versions of old, familiar comfort foods!
Read on for tips on modifying casserole-type dishes.
10 easy ways to modify comfort foods
A few simple modifications can shave quite a few calories and fat off of a recipe without sacrificing the flavor.
1. Use lower-fat, lower-sodium cream soups such Healthy Request by Campbell’s. And, mix with non-fat milk, if called for.
2. Use evaporated skim milk in place of cream and try healthier versions of mayonnaise and sour cream.
3. Swap white pasta and white rice for brown rice and whole wheat pasta.
4. Reduce the amount of cheese called for in the recipe by half.
5. Use leaner versions of meat, such as extra lean ground beef or turkey. Or, substitute chicken or turkey breast in place of beef.
6. Go veggie! Try a healthy vegetarian stew or all bean crockpot chili- veggies and beans are very filling!
7. Use lower sodium tomato sauces and broths.
8. When making enchiladas, skip dipping the tortillas in oil. Instead, cover the tortillas with a wet paper towel and microwave for a few seconds until softened.
9. Reduce the meat and add veggies! Try carrots, bell peppers and corn in chili, or squash and mushrooms in enchiladas. Another example is right in this issue, where we take beef stroganoff and make it veggie!
10. Keep portions under control by filling at least half your plate with salad.
Lighter Tuna Casserole
2 cans chunk style white tuna
6 oz whole grain noodles (3 cups)
1/2 cup celery
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/3 cup non-fat sour cream
1 tsp mustard powder
1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste
1 zucchini, diced
3/4 cup reduced-fat cheddar cheese
1 tomato, diced
1. Drain and flake the tuna. Set aside.
2. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse in hot water.
3. Combine noodles with the tuna, celery and onions.
4. Blend in the sour cream, mustard powder, mayonnaise, salt and pepper.
5. Spoon half the mixture into a 2-quart casserole sprayed with cooking spray. Top with half the zucchini. Repeat layers.
6. Top with the cheese.
7. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
8. Sprinkle with the chopped tomato.
Nutrition Info (based on 8 servings): 267 calories, 19g protein, 35g carbs, 6g fat, 2g saturated fat, 355mg sodium, 5g fiber
October 9, 2008