Snacks that Raise the Bar
Protein, energy, fiber, granola, meal replacement, nutrition, breakfast, cereal and snack bars. They all vary depending on the amounts of wanted fiber, protein, calories, carbohydrates and nutrients. With so many choices and depending on your goal, learn a few basics before you buy:
Protein bars: These can contain anywhere from 10 grams of protein to as many as 32. Designed to help build muscle and loose fat for weightlifters, these bars may also contain sugar and calories that a serious athlete can easily burn off. Look for protein bars with 20 grams of protein or more with added essential vitamins and minerals and very little sugar.
Energy bars: Designed to provide endurance athletes the boost of energy or “fuel” they need, they are packed with carbohydrates and calories. Meant to be consumed within a few hours before a race or post-workout, look for energy bars with added nutrients and protein without saturated fat.
Meal replacement bars: Often referred to as “diet” bars, these usually contain the least amount of calories with carbs outnumbering protein. A good option when you’re on-the-go, they can also be a good, healthy snack before or after exercising to help muscles recover. Again, look for snacks with added nutrients and balance of carbs and protein.
Snack bars: Don’t sacrifice a quick fix for loads of fat and calories. Look for a snack bar to contain less than 200 calories and at least 3 grams of fiber, 5 grams protein and added vitamins. Choose wisely when purchasing snack bars for kids. Read labels carefully, and try to avoid bars with excess calories, unwanted ingredients like caffeine and sugar, in some form, listed as the first ingredient. Many bars contain nuts, so keep that in mind if your child needs to consider a nut-free zone. A one-ounce bar or less should be sufficient for kids.
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