Breakfast Bars: The Good the Bad and the Ugly

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Many times, breakfast bars are like the ace in your back pocket. They’re something you like to have on hand in case of emergency, if you need a makeshift meal, or if you are busy and forget to eat breakfast!

You need something quick and nutritious to get you through the day, and breakfast bars fit the bill… right?

Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Many breakfast bars are loaded with sugars that give you temporary energy and a hard crash later on. Additionally, many have unhealthy fats and are lacking in protein which is the cornerstone to a healthy and balanced meal.

Not all bars are created equal and simply grabbing any old box off the shelf doesn’t guarantee that it’s a good choice. When it comes to meal replacements, you want to set the bar high (no pun intended)! Here are some great, healthy bars that are loaded with nutrition.

 

The Good

Quest Bars
Quest Bars Chocolate Brownie Flavor: (Calories: 170, Sugar: 1g, Protein: 20g)

Quest bars are a super choice if you’re looking for a bar that’s loaded with protein and that has a very low sugar content, making them an ideal post-workout snack. They’re also high in fiber and contain no trans fats. Plus, you can choose from flavors like Apple Pie, Banana Nut Muffin, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Yum!

Larabar
Larabar Uber Coconut Macaroon: (Calories: 220, Sugar: 9g, Protein: 4g)

Choose Larabar if you’re craving something sweet, but want something with a hit of protein. Their Uber bars contain natural ingredients, so you know exactly what you’re getting. For instance, Coconut Macaroon consist of almonds, dates, brown rice syrup, toasted coconut, macadamia nuts, and cashews… perfect for vegans!

Clif Bar Builder’s Protein Bar
Clif Bar Builder’s Protein Bars: (Calories: 270, Sugar, 20g, Protein: 20g)

Clif Bar Builder’s Protein Bars are another protein-filled choice. In a range of flavors like Chocolate Mint and Chocolate Peanut Butter, they’re an ideal post-workout or mid-afternoon snack.

Mediterra Nutritional Bars
Mediterra Yogurt and Oat Bar With Apricot and Pistachio: (Calories: 170, Sugar: 3g, Protein: 6g)

Mediterra bars are super versatile and come in a range of a savory or sweet options, making them a perfect choice if you’re looking for something that’s less sugary, but still delicious.

KIND Bars
KIND Fruit & Nut Bar: (Calories: 210, Sugar: 5g, Protein: 6g)

KIND bars are tasty and are packed full of nutrition. The fruit and nut bars are gluten-free, wheat free, and are also very low in sodium.

 

The Bad 

Cocoa Puffs Bars
Cocoa Puffs Bar: (Calories: 150 Sugar: 9g, Protein: 3g)

You probably wouldn’t expect Cocoa Puffs bars to rank highly on this list. These bars contain minimal amounts of protein. They also have corn syrup and even gelatin in them. In summary, Cocoa Puffs bars are not a great choice.

Rice Crispy Treats Bars
Rice Crispy Treats Bars: (Calories, 90 Sugar, 8 Protein >1g)

Well, to be fair, they’re not exactly a breakfast bar. Or, are they? With less than one gram of protein, this is one treat you’ll want to pass on.

 

So what’s the verdict? Are breakfast bars a good or bad snack? The simple answer is that it depends. While some bars are a great, healthy addition to a balanced diet, others are devoid of any nutrition and contain more sugar than some candy bars. Your best option is to check the nutrition facts and ingredients list. This way, the next time you’re tempted to skip breakfast and head straight to the bar – the breakfast bar that is – you’ll be able to make an informed choice with your health in mind.

 

Breakfast bars: love them or hate them?

What Happens to Your Body When You Are Sedentary

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While it may not be everyone’s all-time favorite pastime, we all know that regular exercise is important for our health.

Without exercise, scary things will start to happen to your body –not only on the outside, but the inside as well. Not only does lack of exercise lead to muscle loss and a dropped metabolism, you also run the risk of other serious heath complications as well.

Just because the health implications of sitting for too long can go undetected for a time –doesn’t mean they’re not important! Let’s take a look at some serious issues that a lack of exercise can lead to.

Weight Gain
The most obvious reason to get moving is to keep your weight in check. But it’s not all about vanity –introducing an exercise routine can have important health implications as well. Being overweight can increase your chances for high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and more –and maintaining a healthy weight can help to stave off many of these issues. Even taking small steps can help –according to one study, an hour of walking daily cuts the risk of obesity by 24 percent.

 Weakened Bones and Muscle Loss
Sitting after a long walk, hike or day spent on your feet isn’t a bad thing. But spending all day sitting can lead to some serious health issues, such as weakened bones and muscle loss. Bone density naturally lessens as you get older –but a sedentary lifestyle around can speed up the process and leave you with brittle bones.

Poor Posture
Another nasty side effect of sitting for too long is that it’s not great for your posture. When you sit you slouch, and slouching puts a strain on your spinal cord, neck, and back; impacting your posture. To combat this, make an effort to sit up straight when you’re at your desk, try to get up and stretch every hour, and of course –do lots of walking once you’re off work!

Mental Health Issues
When you don’t exercise your mental health takes a big hit as well. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins –natural pain killers that help to elevate your mood. Physical activity and fresh air are important for your mood –and for keeping your brain stimulated and sharp.

Even if your job requires you to be at a desk all day, you don’t have to live a sedentary lifestyle. Getting up from your desk every hour and doing stretching or some quick exercises can help. As can taking a brisk walk every day, or doing an intense workout twice a week offers numerous health benefits, and will help to keep you in good shape –and feeling great as well.

What’s your favorite way to be active?