Fighting back against chronic pain with a simple, creative, & healthy lifestyle. Inspiring others to become warriors.

Monday, March 11, 2019

14 Healthier Alternatives to Granola Bars

I was chatting with my sister this past Monday about health and options. She's got a house full of hungry kids and she's trying to make healthier choices for herself and her family. Trying to get away from the S.A.D. diet. The Standard American Diet.

She laughed when she said nothing in her pantry is healthy and didn't want to throw it out. I came up with the idea that when something runs out, buy a healthier alternative.

So she asked me to find healthier alternatives for granola bars first, so let's get into the thick of it.

When I think granola bars I'm instantly transported back to childhood and the nostalgic flavor of the gooey Quaker Oats Chocolate Chip granola bar washes over me.

If I'm going to find healthier alternatives then I'm first going to the Quaker Oats website:

Information taken from Quaker.com

I'm going to bold all the words for sugar.

Ingredients

GRANOLA (WHOLE GRAIN ROLLED OATS, BROWNSUGAR, CRISP RICE [RICE FLOUR, SUGAR, SALT, MALTED BARLEY EXTRACT], WHOLE GRAIN ROLLED WHEAT, SOYBEAN OIL, DRIED COCONUT, WHOLE WHEATFLOUR, SODIUM BICARBONATE, SOY LECITHIN, CARAMEL COLOR, NONFAT DRYMILK), SEMISWEET CHOCOLATE CHIPS (SUGAR, CHOCOLATE LIQUOR, COCOABUTTER, SOY LECITHIN, VANILLA EXTRACT), CORN SYRUP, BROWN RICE CRISP (WHOLE GRAIN BROWN RICE, SUGAR, MALTED BARLEY FLOUR, SALT), INVERTSUGAR, SUGAR, CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, GLYCERIN, SOYBEAN OIL. CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF SORBITOL, CALCIUM CARBONATE, SALT, WATER, SOY LECITHIN, MOLASSES, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, BHT (PRESERVATIVE), CITRIC ACID.
CONTAINS WHEAT, COCONUT, SOY AND MILK INGREDIENTS.
MAY CONTAIN TRACES OF PEANUT AND OTHER TREE NUTS.

Holy crap that's a lot of sugar. They should call it Crack-er Oats for the chemical addiction your brain must have to them.

via GIPHY


I guess the first question I have is, is this a snack or a meal replacement or dessert? (Hint: These granola bars should be treated as a dessert)

I'm approaching this from the standpoint of this is a snack. The kind of snack you would partake in after a day of school before you sit down to do your homework or run off to your part time job.

Also, transitioning from the S.A.D. diet can be hard so you many want to start with something on the sweeter side and transition to things like veggies and protein snacks.

I'm also approaching this from the standpoint of convenience, price, and ease. My sister is a chronic pain warrior as well so she needs something that is easy to throw together.

If you shop through any of my links in this post, you help support this blog at zero cost to you. Thank you for your support.

14 Healthier Alternatives to Granola Bars

1. 100 Calorie Almond Packs

A Quaker Oat bar boasts that it is 100 calories, but it's empty calories because of sugar. It would be better to invest in the 100 calorie nut packs.


2. Rolled Up Turkey Slices

Everybody needs more protein. Take 2 - 3 slices of a lean turkey or chicken lunchmeat and put your favorite spread on them. I'm crazy for Maille Mustard. Put a small handful of spinach leaves in them and roll them up. Close with a toothpick. Boom! Super simple to make and very cost effective. You can even throw in pre-shredded carrots!


3. Two Clementines (and maybe a handful of nuts to balance the carbohydrates)

Two clementines clock in at 70 calories and they have 60% of your daily recommendation of Vitamin C. They are sweet but they are a natural sugar. Simple to peel and very portable, it's so easy to throw into a backpack or purse. You can get crazy big bags of them at any grocery store!
4. Apples

Let's get fancy ya'll. This is my current favorite snack. A sliced up apple sprinkled with half a handful of bare chocolate coconut chips and another nut, like pistachios or almonds. You get that hint of chocolate but there is no dairy or soy, and they are sweetened with coconut sugar which does not have the glycemic reaction that normal sugar creates. The coconut has a bit of protein to balance it out.




If you really want to get that bar experience in, then I suggest the next two bars:

5. Larabars

Today at Costco I saw a 20 pack for $13.49. That's a great price. Amazon has good prices of Larabars too. Some do contain sugar so read the label. I will put some of my favorites below. Note that for a snack these should be cut in half! Unless it is a meal replacement don't eat the whole thing. They're around 200-250 calories a bar so a 16 pack, is really a 32 pack.



6. RX Bars for Kids

I had to rope #breadwinnerbff into this one. So I gave her a ring and asked what she feeds her kids. Half the price of the normal RX bar and half the size which is good because this is a snack, not a meal replacement. Normal size RX Bars are a meal replacement.


I asked her about KIND Bars and she said, "they're a candy bar."
7. Deviled Eggs (or Angel Eggs depending on where you are from)

Protein is good and so are eggs! According to WebMD, they have 7 grams of high-quality protein, along with iron, vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids. The egg is a powerhouse of disease-fighting nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin.

Everytime I bring a platter of Deviled Eggs to a summer BBQ they disappear with in seconds. Why wait for summer BBQ's? Eggs are cheap and some stores even have already boiled eggs in a bag.

You can keep the eggs for up to four days in the fridge. In order to do this, keep the whites and egg yolk filling separate. Wrap the egg white halves well with plastic wrap and keep the egg yolk filling sealed in a Ziploc bag with all the air squeezed out (which is how you mix them anyway). Just fill when your kids (or you) are ready for a snack.

8. Watermelon

Watermelon season is just around the corner. This is a great hydrating snack for the summertime. Watermelon also contains thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, choline, lycopene, and betaine.

According to the National Watermelon Promotion Board, watermelon contains more lycopene than any other fruit or vegetable. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant with many health benefits, including sun protection, improved heart health and a lower risk of certain types of cancer.

9. Frozen Grapes

These are a delicious snack, just make sure you fill up a small bowl instead of eating straight from the bag. These are great for a good transition from S.A.D. diet because they are a sweet treat but still has health benefits.
10. Unsweetened Go-Go Applesauce

This is an easy to go, mass produced item that actually isn't that bad for you. Amazon has a 48 pack for around twenty bucks!
11. Ants on a Log

Cut up celery or get the precuts in the store. Top with almond butter or peanut butter (read the label and make sure there is no sugar added, check out my post on the different names for sugar) and raisins. You can also get fancy and top them with apple juice sweetened dried cranberries. Just make sure the cranberries don't have added sweetner.

12. Baby Carrots

Carrots are a great end stage transision snack. It's a veggie that does have sweetness due to a higher sugar content then most veggies. However, still a great snack. Especially when paired with my favorite Paleo Ranch Dressing.

13. Bananas

Natural beta blocker and easies anxiety are great qualities as a fruit. Start out by eating ripe bananas when you are making the transation from the S.A.D. diet to your healthier lifestyle.

14. Greek Yogurt with Berries and a Squirt of Raw Honey

Accoriding to all of the new research fat is good for you. I'll tell you to watch Fed Up, a great documentary about the sugar industry and the sugar lobbies in the government, but you may not have 2 hours. Instead watch this short clip from Adam Ruins Everything, which is a great summary of the Fed Up documentary.


So get out there and buy some full fat greek yogurt. Top a 1/2c of yogurt with a handful of berries, strawberries, blueberries, etc. and a tablespoon or less of raw honey.

During this transition phase if you or your kids find themselves still hungry, make sure the snack is eaten in conjuction with 16 oz of water, 2 glasses. Too many people mistake hungriness for thirst.

Let's not forget that boredom can also lead to unnecessary snacking. It is national craft month. Pick up something and learn or get outside and enjoy the weather.

Hell, one of the main reasons I knit and crochet is so I don't snack in front of the TV.

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