Thursday, August 5, 2010

Reach for the Bars

What we all wouldn’t give for an extra few minutes each day to prepare a meal, sit back, relax and eat.

But when you’re studying all night, on a long hike or bike ride, stuck in an airport, juggling work and family, or just in a time-crunch, sitting down to a home-cooked meal may not be possible.

What to eat?

My gut often makes the choice for me when I’m having a food emergency. You know what I’m talking about— that light-headed, blood sugar crash feeling that tells you “if I don’t eat something right now, that’s it!”

That’s when the huge variety of snack bars out there can come to your rescue.

Raw food bars, protein energy bars, protein bars, nutrition bars, fruit and nut bars, granola bars…there are so many choices, it can be a bit overwhelming.

Well, I started by asking some questions about bars with New Seasons Market Nutritionists Karen Seibert and Leah Kriewall.

What is the history of health bars?

In the US, health bars may have originated from a hearty, healthy and portable Native American food called Pemmican. Find almost everything you need to know about Pemmican, its history and recipes here.

Are all health bars healthy?

Not really. Some bars have as much sugar or artificial sweeteners in them as candy bars. Many of the ingredients in some bars may also be highly processed. Your best bet: read the ingredients and if you have questions, dig deeper.

Are all bars the same?

No. There’s an ideal bar for almost any situation. Expecting a baby? There’s a bar geared towards pregnant moms. Need a quick pick-me-up at work? There’s one for that too. Participating in Cycle Oregon? Try a bar with a low-glycemic index for sustained energy.

What is your opinion on bars?

“Bars are good as a ‘sometimes’ food, and can be used as a supplement to wholesome, regular meals,” says Seibert. Our nutritionists recommend them when you don’t have access to meals, like when you’re traveling, hiking, etc.

As new kinds of bars are added to the mix, variety is key. So try a new one, or make your own! A recipe from our nutrition team follows.

When and why do you eat bars? Share your story in the comments below or on our Facebook page for a chance to win a case of bars of your choice!


Date Brownies (similar to Lära bars)
(Serves 8)

7-8 large pitted dates
¾ cup walnuts, soaked in water for 4 hours
¾ cup almond flour (almond meal)
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon water

Optional toppings: raw or toasted coconut, fresh berries

Toss dates, walnuts, and almond meal in a food processor, blend, and add in cocoa powder and maple syrup. Continue to process and add water. More water may be added to desired consistency. Press mixture into a glass baking dish and refrigerate or freeze. Keeps in the freezer for up to a month.


John Vonn said...

Thanks for giving a information about new seasons market history.


Ujan sharma said...

I don t have the time at the moment to fully read your site but I have bookmarked it and also add your RSS feeds. I will be back in a day or two. thanks for a great site.

best snacks during pregnancy