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Energy bars

BY: Andrea Nakayama

DATE: 2011-04-20

Last week I wrote about lowering the stakes when considering dietary change. This week we’re keeping it lighter. In fact, instead of lowering the stakes, we’re raising the bar. The energy bar that is!

The scenario, as described by one of my busy clients in San Francisco is this: You find yourself running late, in need of something to keep you going before the next meal, and you didn’t plan ahead with a homemade nutrition bar (you can tell I have been there!).
The question: Are there store-bought bars that get the Replenish stamp of approval?

In pursuit of the answer, my son Gilbert and I began to stalk the power bar aisles at our local co-op and natural food stores. We flipped over every flap on those rectangular packages and read lists of ingredients. (Some of them were very long!) We brought home the bars that passed the first competency: ingredient suitability.

What we looked for were whole-food constituents sans gluten, dairy and soy. That meant nopartially or isolated anything. It also indicated that we knew each and every ingredient that went into the bar, and could actually envision it’s place in our pantry. Ideally the bar was one that we could make at home, but would choose if we were on-the-go and in need of something real QUICK, as in the scenario above.

The next measure in our ruthless pursuit of the acceptable bar was to dig a little deeper into the ingredient list. The inclusion of agave was cause for demotion. (I’ll articulate more about agave in the soon-to-be-released Sweet Tooth, Bitter Truth Homestudy Class.)

Our final ranking was based on grams of sugars (in this case always natural) compared to grams of protein. The more protein the better; the less sugars the better. While many of these bars have lots of the sweet stuff to make them tasty, there are times when we all need a little grab-and-go. I get it. So let’s look at which grab-and-go options are good-to-go.
Before I reveal the choice winners, I first have to disclose my own favorite on-the-move, yet bar-less, snacks:
* any combination of nuts, seeds, coconut flakes and goji berries (or other dried and unsweetened fruit)
Gopal’s Power Wraps – Gopal also makes some bars that are worth checking out!

Energy Bar Line Up (drum roll please). . .

All these bars passed the Gilbert Nakayama (10 year old with a somewhat sophisticated palate) taste-test. If you can’t find them near you, order some online and keep a stash in your car, in your purse, messenger bag, backpack and even your suitcase!
Core Defender Raw Cashew & Cacao
12 grams protein; 10 grams sugars
Core Defender Raw Almond & Raisin
11 grams protein; 14 grams sugars

all organic, gluten-free oats, love these guys!
GoRaw Spirulina Energy Bar
7 grams protein; 14 grams sugars

all raw, all organic
Lara Bar Cashew Cookie
6 grams protein; 18 grams sugars

whole foods, minimal ingredients, easy to find!

Other viable possibilities (when in a pinch) that didn’t make the cut because they had too many sugars or contained agave.

Do you have a favorite bar that I missed but fits the outlined criteria? Please share your personal winner in the comments section below.

Making Your Own Bar

It’s really simple to DIY when it comes to bars. Try the Almond Beauty Bar recipe developed by my Rejuvenate Cleanse partner Andrea Livingston of Phytofoods. This recipe is easy, delicious, and great for your skin too!

Andrea Nakayama

By: Andrea Nakayama, FxNA Founder & Functional Medicine Nutritionist

Functional Nutrition Alliance provides the comprehensive online Functional Nutrition training in the Science & Art of the Functional Nutrition practice. Learn to address the roots of your clients’ suffering with client education, diet & lifestyle modifications.


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