“I, Amanda Cool and family, do eat protein/meal/granola bars on occasion.” I felt the need to get that out there before I begin encouraging whole food choices over processed protein bars.
No shame here people! I keep those on hand for occasions when I am running late or lack of planning has my schedule in a tizzy and I know I need to grab something and go or when I get home I’ll consume our entire kitchen. I keep them for the days when I know I have to pick our kids up from school and run errands. If they don’t get a snack, they will be so “hangry” by the time we get home they won’t eat dinner. I know some of you parents out there know what I’m talking about. I would like to avoid that situation as often as I can.
For the most part, we eat whole foods instead of bars and other processed foods and because of that, the expensive box of Clif Bars in my pantry lasts much longer than just a few days and for that my wallet is thankful (as is my husband-the budget keeper).
A recent article I read summed this up perfectly,
“These bars aren't exactly the worst things to feed yourself or your kids, but at best they're a stop-gap approach that provide some macronutrients with no real nourishment. I think there are cheaper, easier, and healthier alternatives regardless of your time or budget...We should stop relying on processed foods and re-learn how to prepare and cook our own meals from basic ingredients.”
I’ve talked to many of you in coaching sessions about keeping those bars on hand for emergencies and trying to establish some other whole food snack alternatives in its place.
Yes, it will take some planning.
Yes, it will take some additional prep time in the morning or evening.
But, can I encourage you that that is ok?
We eat at minimum 3 meals a day (hopefully a snack or two between as well) every day, 356 days a year. That is over 1,000 meals in one year! Why wouldn’t we put the time and thought into something we do so frequently, and more importantly with something that has such an impact on our well-being?
First and foremost, ask yourself, “Do I really need something to eat?” In the busyness of life and the availability of convenience foods, it is so easy to lose connection with our body. Is your body really needing food or is something else making you think you need to eat (ie: stress)?
If you are actually hungry, the below image provides some great whole food snack options that are sure to satisfy. Choose an item from each column to make a well rounded snack with all 3 macronutrients (carb, protein, fat).