Healthy Snacks

The snack food industry is a huge one, driven by profit. Once upon a time apples were a great snack: easy to carry, tasty, full of fiber. What happened to apples? The apple industry sought to create fruit with a longer shelf life and more attractive skin color at the expense of taste. Mealy apples turned off consumers. People began to eat other things.

Snack cakes and candy bars taste good. Snickers would have you believe that peanuts make it a healthy fiber filled snack. The problem with current day candy bars is that many of them have replaced sugar with high fructose corn syrup or sucraslose, neither of which are recognized by the body as food. The long term effects of manipulated sugars such as these, are yet to be seen. The short term effect is empty calories. The body continues to crave nutrition after it’s already over loaded on calories which is making Americans fat.

So what about health food bars such as Clif or Luna bars? These are energy snacks designed as recovery food for athletes. If you are regularly running, hiking, rock climbing and want a snack during an endurance workout these foods are appropriate. Substituting them for a candy bar however, is not such a great idea. The first ingredient to many of these bars is sugar. Real sugar is preferable to high fructose corn syrup, (which is why I recommend fruits as a snack.) But even real sugar isn’t really a vital part of a healthy diet. If you are not an endurance athlete, you can probably find a better, less sugary snack, such as raw nuts or seeds, almond or peanut butter on whole grain bread, or any kind of whole grain cereal.

Speaking of cereal, here is a link to an easy recipe for homemade energy bars. As you can see the home made variety is cheaper and healthier than the commercially made bars. Cooking is fun!