Raising the Bar - Culinary Therapy

Raising the Bar

I have to confess, I love shopping. Shopping for clothes, shopping for shoes, shopping for food…

In my life prior to having children, I was a buyer for Saks Fifth Avenue and Ralph Lauren. Today, I could easily spend an entire morning perusing the aisles of a grocery store.

Last week at Whole Foods Market, I got lost in the vast selection of energy bars. My husband and daughters were with me, together we were looking for a new bar to replace our go-to “bar on the go.” I like to keep a stock of energy bars for those days when “I’m running late, I’m starving, I didn’t have time to plan ahead, and there’s nothing in my cabinet!”.

I have to say, finding an energy bar that meets my stamp of approval is not an easy task (even for a shopper like me). Most of the protein and energy bars you’ll find are filled with added sugar, processed soy, and a list of ingredients too difficult to pronounce. The sad truth is that when it comes to energy bars, you may feel a “rush” from the high sugar content but most of them will not give you sustainable energy.

So, what should you look for in an energy bar? Here are 3 tips for raising the bar:

Be conscious about claims

Food manufacturers can say just about anything on the product packaging, so be careful of claims. Claims can be words like “Pure” or “Harvest Energy” or “Go Lean” or images designed to evoke a connection between a product and good health. Check out the athlete climbing a mountain on the Cliff bars box.

Instead, read the nutrition label and ingredient list. These are the product facts, they don’t lie.

Look for an ingredient list of recognizable, healthy foods

Toss anything with an ingredient list that’s too long to read. Avoid anything with unrecognizable words too difficult to pronounce.  Avoid anything using the words “partially” or “isolated”. These aren’t foods.

Look for a bar with few ingredients, containing foods like nuts, dates, seeds, dark chocolate, and natural sweeteners.

Look at protein content on the nutrition label

For longer lasting energy, your bar of choice should contain more protein and less sugar (the natural varieties).

Here are my favorite energy bars, perfect for keeping at the office, in your car, in your bag, or even in your freezer for when they’re needed most.

Core Defender Meal Bars Pure Organic Cashew Coconut Bar Health Warrior Chia Bars Go Raw Cinnamon Spice Protein Bars Lara Bar Peanut Butter and Jelly or Cashew Cookie 

Or, if you’d prefer to make your own, try my Chocolate Flax Energy Bars. 


Your Simple Action Plan:
Choose two energy bars from the list above and add them to your weekly shopping list. Then try them over the next week to see which one you like best!


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