Monday, October 17, 2011

How to Choose the Right Energy Bar for Your Needs

There is a time and a place for energy bars, says Liz Kirk, PhD, RD, a nutrition and exercise science faculty member at Bastyr University.

Partially unwrapped energy bar
Choose the right energy bar for your needs

There is a time and a place for energy bars, says Liz Kirk, PhD, RD, a nutrition and exercise science faculty member at Bastyr University. For sustained energy, home-cooked whole-food meals are best, but energy bars can be much easier to fit in a jacket pocket than, say, Orange Pistachio Quinoa.

With shelves and shelves of bars to choose from, it helps to think about your purpose in selecting one, says Dr. Kirk. She offers these tips:

Before Exercise

  • For quick energy during strenuous activity, look for a high carbohydrate content — 20 grams or more.
  • For energy that won't fizzle out, look for sugar content of 18 grams or less.
  • Bars with fewer than 15 grams of protein are easier to digest on the move.

Recovering After Exercise

  • The first two hours after exercise is the most efficient time to replenish your body's carbohydrate and glycogen stores.
  • Look for bars with a 4-to-1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein.

Satisfying Hunger

  • For staving off hunger, choose bars with a more even ratio of protein to carbohydrates. Protein and fat both slow digestion and prolong a sense of fullness.
  • Look for fiber as well; it slows digestion for a longer, more consistent release of energy.
FALL 2015
Have questions about a program?
Request information »

More Health Tips

In general, fish caught outside the Fukushima area have levels of radiation far below acceptable limits, but long-term effects of the disaster are still unknown.

Unplugging from electronic devices before bed can improve both the quality and quantity of your sleep.

No need for expensive, chemically laden household cleaners — you likely already have most of these eco-friendly, family- and pet-safe cleaning supplies on hand.

The CDC estimates that by focusing on chronic disease prevention, U.S. health care costs could drop by $1.6 trillion. Are you doing your part?

These simple tips can help provide relief from seasonal allergies so you can enjoy spring again.

Stainless steel and glass bottles are the safest options for you to drink water out of.

Subscribe to Newsletters

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
13 + 3 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.