Behind Bars

It’s September, the kids are back at school, and I find myself in search of a good bar. No, I’m not drinking away my suddenly lonely days. I’m wandering the supermarket aisles trying to find healthy-yet-handy snacks to pack in their lunch bags! Granola bars sound harmless enough, but have you ever taken a good look at the ingredients?

Most have at least 10-15 grams of sugar, 5-7 grams of fat, and the second ingredient is almost always glucose/fructose. Cereal bars sound healthy, but they too are high in fat and sugar even though they offer whole oats and whole grain. Then there are “high fibre” bars. We all know fibre is healthy, but you might be surprised that sugar is listed as the number one ingredient. Nutritionist I am not, but the closest thing I’ve found to good nutritional value is Kashi brand. Unfortunately most have nuts so they aren’t suitable for school.

Aside from the kids, I’m also on the lookout for healthy on-the-go snacks for myself. Driving from class to class teaching Salsa Babies®, I need a quick boost before I hit the gym. As much as I try to “eat clean” according to fitness gurus such as Tosca Reno, I can’t seem to wrap my head around the idea of packing a cooler full of chicken breasts and broccoli. I make do with an apple and some almonds or a cheese string, but I’d love to find a convenient energy or nutrition bar with the right balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat (the good kind of course) – not too sweet or artificially flavoured, but still palatable.

I’m confused by the ads in fitness magazines with page after glossy page of gorgeous women promoting protein bars. The bods are perfect, the bars look tasty, but upon further inspection you find they are full of artificial flavours, palm oil, and hydrogenated coconut oil. Those hard-bodies in the ads don’t look to me like they eat hydrogenated anything! Please correct me if I’m wrong – Tosca, are you out there?

A personal trainer once gave me a fantastic granola bar recipe, but I hate to admit I don’t always have the time to make them from scratch. However, when staring at a bowl full of over-ripe bananas, I do squeeze in the time to make a batch of muffins rather than toss them in the trash. They freeze well so if I make a double batch I’ve got snacks covered for at least a week. Have any other advice? Please drop me a line!

Jen’s Healthy (and easy!) Banana Muffin Recipe:

1 C whole wheat flour

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

3/4 C rolled oats

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 T honey

1/2 C skim milk

1 egg white

1 T canola oil

2 mashed bananas

3 scoops whey protein powder

3/4 C frozen blueberries

Combine dry ingredients. Add honey, milk, egg white, vanilla, oil and bananas. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Add frozen blueberries and gently stir. Use non-stick or parchment-lined muffin pan. Bake at 400˚ for 20 min. (12 muffins) Enjoy!

~ Jennifer Torres

 

Archived from September, 2011.






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