Granola Bars are meant to be healthy right? They packed with nuts, seeds, dried fruit, sometimes a bit of antioxidant dark chocolate. Well unfortunately, many are also packed with refined white flour, processed soy ingredients,sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners and unhealthy fats. These ingredients decrease immunity, can lead to poor digestion, bloating, gas, insulin spikes (and consequent crashes), and they are often full of empty calories (calories that are very low in nutrients)
Here is an example of a popular ‘healthy’ energy bar. Check out this ingredient list.
Organic Brown Rice Syrup, ClifPro® (Soy Rice Crisps [Soy Protein Isolate, Rice Flour, Barley Malt Extract], Organic Roasted Soybeans, Organic Soy Flour), Walnuts, Organic Rolled Oats, Organic Toasted Oats (Organic Oats, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice), Organic Diced Bananas (Organic Bananas, Organic Rice Flour), Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Chocolate Chips (Evaporated Cane Juice, Unsweetened Chocolate, Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavors), ClifCrunch® (Organic Oat Fiber, Inulin [Chicory Extract], Organic Milled Flaxseed, Organic Oat Bran, Psyllium), Organic Banana Powder, Organic Soy Butter, Organic Date Paste, Natural Flavors, Sea Salt, Cinnamon.)
There are over 30 ingredients, most of which is sugar, sugar, and more sugar! The first ingredient is sugar, which means that sugar is the primary ingredient. There are 4 references to sugar in this ingredient list, which isn’t suprising as each bar contains at least 5 tablespoons of sugar. This is well in excess of the American Heart Association’s recommendation for total added sugar intake for children for the whole day!!
To work out the quantity of sugar in a granola bar, look at the nutritional facts panel on the back of the product and divide the grams of sugar by 4. This will give you the number of teaspoons of sugar in the product. As guide, children between 5-8 are meant to have no more that 3 teaspoons of added sugar in their diet, and kids 9-13 are meant to have no more than 5 teaspoons.
So what are my options?
There are healthy options available at the supermarket, you just need to be vigilant in reading the labels.
LARA BARS are one option that i am comfortable with. They are an all-natural bars made from 100% whole foods–mainly unsweetened fruits, nuts, and spices. The contain no added sugar, preservatives, or artificial flavors. Most flavors have 4-5 ingredients! Perfect! They are gluten free, dairy free, soy free, kosher, vegan, and non-gmo (genetically modified). There are so many different flavours to choose from so go crazy!
The other great alternative is make your own!
Because Lara bars are so clean and natural, you can make them from home so easy. Have a look at the ingredients list of your favourite. Buy that ingredients at the grocery store and then put in all in a food process, playing around with the quantities and sure enough you will have a Lara bar mix in your bowl.
Here is a good recipe for lunch boxes and after school.
CHOCOLATE ORANGE BLISS BALLS
– 1 cup almonds
– 1 cup walnuts
– 3/4 cup dates
– juice of 1 orange
– rind of 1 orange
– 2 tbsp coconut oil
– ¾ cup cacao powder (or carob powder, or cocoa)
– dash of cinnamon
4-5 scoops KIDZSHAKE ORANGE FLAVOUR
- Place all ingredients into a food processor and mix until a dough forms. Either press into a tin or roll into balls. Place in the refrigerator.