Monday, February 20, 2012

Are Bars a Good Snack?

No, not candy bars -
get your mind off the food porn!


Before I go on to the bars I want to discuss let me update you on the post I wrote the other day about the Mars company changing the size of their candy bars. Mars says they are phasing out king-sized candy bars. By 2013, their candy will not be packaged to contain more than 250 calories. I haven't eaten a candy bar in a couple of years so I needed to do some non-caloric research on this to better appreciate what is currently on the market. My husband and I drove to Wal-mart and stood on a long check out line where I could look at all the individually wrapped bars lying in wait for the impulse buyers.

 

By King size they must mean
King Henry the Eighth!
Holy Crap Fatman! The friggin bars were all - ALL - four servings per bar. I thought they would be be two servings per bar, maybe three. No, were FOUR servings per bar. As I fingered one of the bars and felt the individual servings inside a single wrap, I thought to myself I want not want to have just one serving. I would want two. Would I want to stop at two? I will not have to know: I stop at none. No candy bars were purchased or consumed in preparation for this post.

Alright, enough about candy bars. Let's discuss something without sugar.

It has been years (seven? eight?) since I had a South Beach Bar. I don't miss them now but all those years ago they were a daily part of my diet. It gave me a sweet something to look forward to each day (sometimes twice a day). I won't quote any of the nutritional particulars because they have reformulated the product since then and I do not want to use any of the current stats. Current stats would not be accurate to when I was eating it.

In keeping the pounds off I try to stay away from processed foods. Yes, I use fat free cheeses that contain a few suspicious ingredients and I still use Splenda and Truvia. I am not Mother Earth but I am still far and away better off than I was back in the bar days.

I enjoy the occasional Lara bar - the basic bars without added sugar and additives and not the newer bars that contain sugar or chocolate chips. The bars are made with dates and nuts and a fruit essence and perhaps coconut oil. They are mostly delicious. They are not big but I take 10 minutes to eat my bar, breaking it into 10 small pieces and not putting the next bite into my mouth until the preceding bite  - every little morsel, is completely gone. I don't eat them often, maybe twice a month for two months and then none for three months. They are not a problem food for me.

I think as long as they do not lead me to seek more food or sweeter flavors they are a comfortable occasional snack. As good practice, I read the ingredients label on each bar, every time I buy it. I do not want to be unpleasantly surprised.

So the question is: In keeping your pounds off, are bars a good snack?

Jane~

23 comments:

downsizers said...

You may want to check out Quest High Protein Bars. They are great - low carb, high protein, gluten free and taste great. The web site is www.questproteinbar.com - they are a great meal substitute, very portable, and there was an offer for a couple of free bars for a time. You will have to check to see if they are still doing that. I recommend them highly.

MizFit said...

Im such a misfit.
ALL BARS make me more hungry...

Vickie said...

I do not use them myself, but I use them for one of my girls. She keeps them on hand for food emergencies. I buy only bars which have at least a full serving of protein (7g and I try for bras that have 10g+) and the carbs are in line. So these tend to be designed for low carbers.

I did not use them in weight loss consistently. I might have had them from time to time, but not an actual part of my plan.

I did use protein shakes very early on in my process. I think they were Cur\/es protein shakes. And I used them as one of my 'meals' when I was eating 4-6 meals in the very beginning.

There are (many) bars out there with numbers very close to a candy bar, the same way cereal numbers are very close to a bag of cookies.

Vickie said...

that was brands, not bras. . .

Mom on a mission said...

LARABARS are my favorite:)

Jane Cartelli said...

Vickie - But bras as so much funnier! I did the protein shakes at Curves, too. Then stopped because of the soy. Now I try not the drink my calories. It does not satisfy me. I like to bite. I, too, like my protein high. Some Larabars are higher in protein than the others but most are about 5gms.

MizFit - it is good that you know that. Better to stay away from something that affects you that way - the way I stay away from drinking my calories.

Downsizers - I will see if they can pass the SFF test:
Sated, Flavor, Flatulence.

Mom on a Mission - I agree!

Amanda said...

I'm with MizFit -- bars just make me more hungry. My hunger is curbed more with cheese, a hard boiled egg, Greek yogurt or something of the protein sort.

Even a spoonful of peanut butter does better for me than bars.

Jane Cartelli said...

Amanda - If I am called to the hospital to wait with someone 8 hours or I am trapped on the tarmac in a plane between 9am and 3pm I can't know when a hard boiled egg will be available. I cannot eat cheese. The yogurt will not stand up to 8 hours in my bag and the peanut butter - I don't necessarily stop at one spoonful. (It took me 4 years to admit that). I like knowing I have something that will keep me from getting to the point where I am trolling the halls for food when mealtime comes around. While it is true one ever died of starvation between breakast and dinner, my issues with food run a lot smoother if I protect myself from those situations. I do not get into HALT MODE: Too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired.

KCLAnderson (Karen) said...

One type I like is Gnu bars...minimally processed and with good fiber...

Caron said...

I only buy them for traveling to keep me out of the bad restaurants in airports. Yesterday I had a Kid's Clif bar (some chocolate flavor) which was 50 calories less than the full size bar. It tasted okay and had a few grams of protein. I would not want them on a regular basis.

Jane Cartelli said...

KCLAnderson - LOL Karen, if you gnu me better you'd gno I can't have Gnu because they contain wheat - and those added fruit juices just add up to more sugar, which sets me off. I know you were not telling me I should eat them and were only sharing what you like but I could gnot resist the chance to pun.

Hugs!

Caron - No Cliff bars for me. :-)

Terri said...

I stay away from all bars. They are too much like a candy bar for me, in packaging, shape, etc. Years ago, the Weight Watcher 2-point bars triggered a bad slide back to my candy addiction. I take a baggy of nuts and dried fruit as a snack.

bbubblyb said...

I make my own bars, have been for almost 4 yrs now. I have tried a lot of other bars but always prefer mine. The main ingredient in mine is oatmeal. I feel these really help with my sweet tooth as it makes me feel like I'm having cake and who doesn't like cake :) but it doesn't make me want to eat the whole pan.

Jane Cartelli said...

Terri - it is good to know yourself! I don't do well with nuts combined with fruit in a baggie. I want to add M+Ms to the mix. I can have nuts or fruit or have them mashed together in a bar, but not as individual pieces. Am I messed up or what?

Dawn - I was making my own bars for two years. I loved them. But they had tofu, which of course I can not longer have. Bummer. I miss them sometimes but I do not miss the flatulence they caused. The recipe I used was from Alton Brown.

Karen@WaistingTime said...

I can't keep bars in the house. I find them too candy or dessert-like and I'll go for them instead of my healthier snacks, like veggies or low/non-fat cheese. But I do like to take some when I travel. And I look for the best combination of high protein, high fiber, low-cal, low sugar, low saturated fat. AND, I don't get any in favorite flavors, like, hmm, chocolate chip peanut butter:)

Jane Cartelli said...

Karen@WaistingTime - I avoid the descriptive dessert style flavors, too. If I had them in the house in buik I believe I would get in trouble. I keep two on hand at most, for those times when I do not know what the next 6 hours will bring. Actually, I bring veggies or fruit but if it is return travel from a place where I could not have those fresh items with me, the bar is handy and safer than the food courts of most airports and entertainment venues.

Over 40? - So What! said...

I'm with MizFit. All bars make me hungrier. I do better with my favorite snacks - either apple slices with a spoonful of peanut butter or a mixture of raisins (not too many) and sliced almonds.

Munchberry said...

I do not eat the bars as a rule. Like not in my normal eating. BUT we do keep a couple bars in the car for emergencies. they have been in there for years - same ones. There have been times where we have been traveling and I need to eat NOW and there is nothing but desert or mountains. We keep the bars there so I will not tear out the driver's eyes and send the car over a cliff in a blazing inferno!

BUT I do not have those spikes as often or as wildly. Diet changes and probably having other little somethings around - always helps.

Vickie said...

I checked at my food coop to see if they carried Quest High Protein (Downsizer mentioned it in your first comment) and they do not. I ordered a variety pack (two of each flavor) for my middle child to try. The numbers were very good. Not suggesting you go back to bars, I am certainly not going to start bars, but for this child they might be good answer.

SlimKatie said...

The only bars that I really enjoy are the Larabars, but they are SO tiny that I'm rarely satisfied with one as a snack. They're also pretty expensive, so I don't buy them often.

I could never eat just 1/4th of a candy bar!! If I bought a king sized one, I'd eat the whole thing for sure.

Vickie said...

Not picking on anyone who left a note about the Larabars. It was just so ironic that I had to pop over here and leave a note. They have a display of Larabars for sale at yoga. I was talking to receptionist by them and happened to glance down. all (but the ginger flavor) had the word COOKIE, pie, cake or the like on the front.

Jane Cartelli said...

Larabars: Let me correct my previous statement. I avoid the ones that have sugar, chocolate and include the words creme or cookie. I do eat the cherry pie and key lime Larabars.

Vickie - I also bought a sample pack. They should give Downsizers a free bar as commission. I told them I wanted them to review on my blog and they gave me free expediated shipping. Once my family has tried a few I will report in a post what I think.

that TOPS lady said...

I eat kashi bars. They have been a really good crutch for me during the times when I REALLY want a snickers or something......but I have a kashi bar instead and come out a whole lot better nutritionally and still feel like I got to have a treat :)