Monday, November 3, 2008

Ask-A-Nutritionist (Maria)

Q: I was wondering what to look for in a snack bar, as far as nutritional value. What is the most important, such as caloric content, fiber, protein, fat, etc? Are there some that are better as a snack, and are any truly a viable "meal replacement"? -Maria

A: Hi Maria,

Here’s what to look for in a snack bar: a maximum of 150 calories, a fiber content of more than 6 grams, and a list of all-natural ingredients. A good snack bar is the Flavor and Fiber Bar by Gnu Foods. Some snack bars contain 300 calories: that’s as much as 1-2 scoops of ice cream. And if the label contains too many unpronounceable ingredients, well, there are better ways to spend your money and calories.

As far as a meal replacement, here are the ingredients your body needs for optimal health: protein for strength; complex carbohydrates for energy; and vegetables for protection. And no, there isn’t a snack bar on the store shelves today that provides the perfect balance that a meal does.

For a better option, why not try nuts and dried fruit? It’s the ideal natural snack bar.

Rachel S. Beller, MS, RD
Beller Nutritional Institute, LLC

Want to see your nutritional question answered here? Simply submit your questions to pennappetit [dot] nutritionQandA [at] gmail [dot] com.

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