Eat To Win
This nutrition tip is courtesy of Sydney Jacobson, registered dietitian at Hy-Vee in Windsor Heights, IA.
Choosing the Right Nutrition Bar
We have far passed the times when snack bars were limited to granola or fruit bars. Today, snack bars come with a plethora of nutrition claims and features for athletes, busy adults and children. Some of these industries have always had athletes or hikers in mind, like Powerbar and Clif. With an increase in demand, the market for snack bars continues to rise with every category in mind. With all these new found products, how do you know what bar is right for you?
A good place to start is to ask what your primary need is. Are you looking for a mid-day snack, fuel before a race or something fit for recovery? Next, look for the features that are important to you. Are you avoiding high-fructose corn syrup or gluten? Do ingredients need to be organic? Lastly, consider the appropriate calorie range from fat, carbohydrates and protein that suit your needs.
If fuel for that swim or big run is what you are looking for you may consider a company like Powerbar or Gatorade. These companies have poured numerous hours into testing and researching nutrition bars that may enhance athletic performance or recovery. Also, if allergies are a concern, many bars are made specifically tailored to this population. If you aren’t sure what to look for on the label, just ask your Hy-Vee dietitians. You can also call the company to verify information.
These bars are quick to make and easy to take on the go:
All You Need:
- 2 c. grains (old-fashioned oats, quick oats, crisp brown rice cereal, granola)
- 3/4 c. sweetener (honey, agave nectar, brown rice syrup, pure maple syrup)
- 1 c. nut butter (natural peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, sunflower nut butter)
- 1 c. seeds or wheat product (ground flax seed, whole sesame seeds, unprocessed wheat bran, wheat germ, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds [1/4 cup only])
- 1 c. powdered protein (vanilla whey protein powder, nonfat dry milk)
- 1 c. nuts or chips (chopped walnuts, almonds, cashews, sunflower nuts, dark chocolate chips, carob chips)
- 1 c. dried fruit (raisins, dried cherries, dried cranberries, dried goji berries, chopped dried apricots, chopped dates, chopped prunes, chopped figs)
All You Do:
- Choose ingredient options, one from each of the seven categories, to custom-make a nutrition bar that suits your taste. Mix all ingredients together using an electric mixer or food processor. Press evenly into an 8- or 9-inch pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Refrigerate to firm bars.
Sydney Jacobson earned a dietetics degree from Iowa State University and is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is also a marathoner with an interest in sport nutrition. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
This information is not intended as medical advice. See a medical professional for individual consultation.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What’s a 5150?
A: The number 5150 (pronounced “fifty-one fifty”) refers to the total kilometers in an international distance triathlon – a 1.5 kilometer swim, a 40-kilometer bike ride and a 10-kilometer run, for a total of 51.5 kilometers. This is the distance of the Olympic triathlon and many other races held in the United States and throughout the world.