I Let My Kids Frequent These Bars…

IMG_5525Many of us at one point or another have fallen prey to the “protein bar ” or “power bar” addiction. It’s easy, fast, and most of them taste really good. No prep. No mess.

With fall sports in full swing now in our home, bars are EVERYWHERE. Because most of them taste sweet, our kids love them, too, and they’re easy to throw over the back seat when driving from one activity to another, or stuff in a backpack as your child walks out the door. The result? They become a default snack or even default meal, several times a week.

The true question is: aside from filling us up, are they any good FOR us? My feeling is, yes, in moderation. Bars are not a substitute for a healthy breakfast, lunch or dinner several nights a week for a growing child because they don’t provide all the nutrients our kids need from a meal (and they come out of a wrapper!). However, they are an OK choice when you’re in a bind and can’t find time to cook. Just make sure you are getting your kids the fruits and veggies they need at another point during the day.

Some  bars that advertise themselves as being “All Natural” aren’t so great for you, and many that claim they are healthy have HFCS and several versions of genetically modified soy. Most have MSG! Make sure you are reading your labels. I set out on a mission to choose the “cleanest” bars ( bars with the fewest ingredients and definitely non- GMO) for my family.

Here is what I found.

Bars I like:

Larabar: gluten- free, soy- free, dairy- free, vegan, kosher and non GMO. There are 20 choices, with some great ones like Apple Pie and Peanut Butter Cookie. These also have VERY few ingredients, which give them a high score in my book.

*Kit’s Bar (by Cliff’s): gluten-free, soy free, dairy free and they taste AMAZING. Best of all, they are organic and only have 4 ingredients. They offer four choices and they all taste great. These get a gold star from me. Simple, clean, healthy.

Kind: non- GMO, gluten free, low glycemic, dairy and cholesterol- free, low sodium, and no trans fats. The number of ingredients varies from bar to bar: some have only a few and some a bit more. They offer MANY flavor combinations and can be found everywhere from the grocery store to Starbucks and Target.

Cliff’s Organic for Kids: a big favorite in our house. Organic (which means non- GMO), whole grain and no HFCS. They have a few more ingredients than I like, but overall, compared to what’s out there, they are a good choice. The offer 4 different flavor choices as well.

Remember, bars are a substitute for a meal, but not a true meal for you kids. You can throw together some healthy meals pretty quickly if you plan ahead. Yesterday, I packed up a yummy brown rice stir fry I made (from left- over rice from the night before) in 5 minutes.  I threw it in a tupperware with some red, orange and yellow peppers and my daughter ate it in the car between soccer and volleyball. When she got home, she ate a huge salad and the remainder of the stir fry.

You can do it! And it’s worth it.

Changing kids’ lives, one healthy child at a time,

Gabrielle

 

 

 

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