In the mid-eighties, PowerBar, the first "energy bar" was introduced to the market by a marathon runner who saw the need for a highly portable product with a big rush of carbohydrates and calories. It was of a molar-extracting consistency, hard and gooey at the same time, tasting of sweetness and sadness, designed to provide a wallop of energy to endurance exercisers.
30 years later and bars have become a ubiquitous part of the busy American's diet. In the bar section of your local grocery store, pharmacy or "sports nutrition" store (notice my "quotes"), the bar section looks an awful lot like the candy section, with brightly colored bars enticingly arranged.
You'll find bars that are nutritionally similar to a candy bar, some with glut of protein from dubious sources, many with more fiber than should be able to fit into such a small bar, plenty of artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols, expensive bars with funky infusions of "adaptogenics," and others made from natural ingredients stuck together with goo. They range from $.99 to upwards of $3-4 each.
A question I get quite frequently is, "Which bar is best for breakfast?"
To which my typical response is, why the heck would you want to eat a bar for breakfast?
The bar is not the problem, though. The problem is a much bigger issue making us sick and fat:
We are trying to cram in food as quickly as possible instead of listening to what our bodies what to eat, and using our senses to savor and enjoy our food.
We are devaluing our food and by extension, our bodies.
There's nothing wrong with having a bar every once in a while when you can't get to a proper meal. But it belongs as the exception, not the go-to.
Even the best of bars, identifiable by the fact they are made with actual real food clearly discernible on the nutrition panel, pack a relatively significant chunk of calories into a small package. Part of satiety--that is, staying full--is volume. Eat a small bar for breakfast--even one packed with 300 calories--and you're likely to be hungry again long before lunch.
Instead, why not take 10 minutes and enjoy a breakfast like a bowl of overnight oats with fruit, avocado spread on sprouted whole grain bread, oatmeal with nuts and seeds, or umpteen other quick and delicious options you can make and eat in less than 10 minutes.
Honor your body with real food the majority of the time, and your body will thank you.
Need support in breaking up with bars and eating healthful, filling food that's fast? Let's talk.