While I love to cook, as a busy mom I don’t have time to whip up every meal. Of course, it’s important to focus on whole foods prepared at home because they’re the most nutritious fuel for our bodies. But let’s get real – we all need those packaged foods we can turn to in a pinch. Only problem: which ones actually contain wholesome ingredients?
I don’t know a single family who doesn’t have “bars” as a pantry staple. Though convenient, most commercially manufactured bars are loaded with refined sugars, artificial colors/flavors and other ingredients that provide no nutritional value.
We turn to bars for nourishment more often than we realize. Truth be told, I’ll snack on bars 3-5 times during a hectic week. Every time we eat these unhealthy, “junky” bars, we’re taking on a pile of empty calories and unhealthy ingredients. That quickly adds up to a whole lot of extra weight on my hips and junk in my trunk! Plus, a junky bar gives me what I’d call the “bar hangover” – heartburn, sluggishness, plus I’m starving again 30 minutes later.
Avoid the bar hangover! Check out my favorite brands:
Why do I love them?
Whole food ingredients: What are whole foods? They’re foods that haven’t been chemically altered and are consumed in their most natural state. This means they’re packed with nutrients. To test if an ingredient is a whole food, ask yourself “would my great great great grandma recognize this food?” If so, your body will too.
Non-GMO: GMO foods come from crops that are made in a laboratory. They can be less nutritious and pose higher allergy risks. They aren’t natural and wouldn’t be recognized by the farmers who lived during our great great great grandma’s life.
No added sugar: The only sugar in these bars comes from fruit. Processed sugar such as cane sugar is empty calories void of all nutritional value, whereas fruit has fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Our diets are overloaded with sugar and most bars are the culprit – except my favorites!
Nutritious: Most bars are just a messy mix of sugar and flour. These bars contain nutrient-dense, plant-based ingredients that provide macronutrients (protein and healthy fats), micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and phytonutrients!
Here are a few runners-up that I also love, but consume in moderation because they have added sugar:
- Two Moms in the Raw Granola Bars – contains agave nectar
- 18 Rabbits Granola Bars– contains mostly natural sugars like honey, maple syrup or tapioca syrup
- Kind bars – good ingredients but contains non GMO glucose syrup or evaporated cane juice, which I prefer not to give my family on a regular basis
Have you tried these bars? Are there any healthy brands out there that I missed? Tell us in the comments.