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Raising The Bar: All You Need To Know About Energy Bars

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

Working men and women, even many moms and dads barely have time for grabbing something on the go, never mind a healthy breakfast. And for many harried and hurried folks, meal replacement and energy bars have become the norm as far as sinking your teeth into something that will help kick-start your day.

Plus, with many being sold in health food stores as well as in supermarkets we are confident that we are doing the right thing. But experts assert that not all energy bars are created equally, and that you should know all the facts before you stock up.

Know Your Needs:

Everybody and every body is different and it’s important to know what you are putting into it so that you get the most out of it. Experts note that originally energy bars were geared toward athletes but have since become more popular with the mainstream, especially as snacks and meal replacements.

The term energy actually refers to calories and not any potion that boosts your levels of endurance. And, according to experts, the most appealing aspect of these “power bars” is that they contain quick and easy nutrition in a convenient and portable form. Yet, they caution that while this version of meals on wheels may tide you over, the only real energy is derived from a balanced diet replete with whole foods and regular exercise.

Nutrition professionals point out that energy bars often lack essential nutrients such as disease-fighting antioxidants that are abundant in whole foods, fruits, veggies and fish. But, they are quick to applaud the benefits of energy bars as a quick fix in addition to an already balanced diet.

They go on to add that your choice of energy bar will also be affected, not only by your “cravings” and your mood, but also by your actual needs. Those looking for a quick pick-me-up or a substantial snack will likely require something quite different from the ardent athlete looking for a pre-or-post workout energy boost.

And, making the right choice means reading ingredients and labels.

The Athlete’s Choice:

· Generally speaking calorie content is of greater importance than vitamins or minerals.

· For strength and endurance look for products with more than 30g of carbohydrates since they help maintain blood sugar levels. Make sure to eat an hour prior to your workout.

· Seek out products with increased protein content 10 to 20 grams for recovery and repair.

The Non-Athlete’s Choice:

· Look for calories and sugar content. Fewer than 200 calories is recommended for a snack, especially since anything greater threatens to become a meal.

· Look for products made with vegetable or canola oil and that contain fewer than five grams of saturated fat, have 15 grams of protein and three to five grams of fiber.

· Hydrate with water when you indulge in an energy bar. Fiber and water are a satisfying combo and will help fill you up and keep you full.

Long Island Health, Fitness & Beauty Articles > Raising The Bar: All You Need To Know About Energy Bars

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