Expert describes best energy and breakfast bars

Expert describes best energy and breakfast bars

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by Cathy Marshall, KGW staff

kgw.com

Posted on September 19, 2013 at 2:34 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 19 at 6:57 PM

PORTLAND -- There seems to be a new type of energy or breakfast bar every time you go to the store, and they’re very popular with parents looking for a quick snack for the kids.

How do you make a healthy choice?

A Dietitian at Portland’s Randall Children’s Hospital described what she looks for.

“My preference is to go with foods that you recognize, nuts, seeds, fruits, natural ingredients like honey and maple syrup. If it’s not something you’d find on a store shelf, it’s not the best choice,” said Tara Jones as she stood in the aisle of a local New Seasons.

Simply scanning the shelves won’t give you the answers you need. Jones said you need to skip over the nutrition facts panel, which often appears first and find the ingredients.

She read from the Lara Bar to demonstrate.

“ Dates, almonds and unsweetened apples,” Jones said. She liked what she saw on the label and said it’s why she chooses the Lara Bar for her own 4-year-old.

She skips the breakfast type granola based bars.

“For the most part, they tend to be pretty sweet, lower in protein and a lot lower in fiber,” she said.

The Cliff bar or Luna bars are moderate to OK choices but she pointed out they contain things you won’t recognize.

“Soy protein isolate,” she read from the label. “There are some additives that are used to basically hold the bars together.”

Her best advice she said is to make your own bars with what you find in the bulk food aisle. She suggests a variety of nuts, seeds, dried fruit and using honey or maple syrup to bind them together.

“Whenever you make anything on your own, it’s always going to be a better choice,” she concluded.

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