My Love/Hate Relationship with Bars

nutrition bars 101 via

Can we talk about bars for a moment? No, not bars as in the place you go for happy hour. Bars – the rectangular things you eat that have a million different names: protein bars, nutrition bars, granola bars, meal replacement bars, fruit bars, etc.  

I have a love/hate relationship with bars, but mostly hate. Before you think I’m absolutely crazy…

Let Me Give You Some Background Info

When I was in college, I spent most of my days in the dance studio. I was a psychology major, but I was also getting my minor in dance and was part of the University Dance Company. College was some of the best years of my life. I legit had a great time and wouldn’t change a thing – except for my eating habits. 

Oy college. Since I was barely at home and never felt like cooking, I pretty much lived off of bars. This was a 100% personal choice. I could have packed fruits and veggies, but I chose not to on most days. Bars were easy to throw into my bag and quick to eat between classes. They were just enough to fill me up, but not too heavy.

I didn’t discriminate on the bars that I bought. I’d try anything, especially if I saw a celeb talking about it in a magazine. The lower the calories the better. Most of which were loaded with artificial sweeteners. I even went through a phase of eating cookie dough meal replacement bars. I think they are actually marketed toward body builders. Just thinking about them makes me gag. I was so extremely naive.

nutrition bars 101 via

Why I Stay Away from Most Bars – The Ingredients

  • A lot of bars contain brown rice syrup towards to top of the nutrition list, aka sugar, which has no nutritional value. But why does this matter?Nutrition labels list ingredients in order of weight/predominance. So, if you’re eating a bar that has sugar listed at the top of the ingredient list, the bar is made up of mostly sugar. No good. You can learn more about food labeling here
  • Although most bars have a decent amount of protein, vitamins and minerals, they have a ton of sugar and saturated fats. We’re not talking about the good kind of sugar that comes naturally from fruit. We’re talking about ADDED sugars. If you don’t believe me, compare the nutritional facts to that of a chocolate bar. You mind as well eat a Snickers.
  • Bars also tend to contain a lot of hard-to-pronounce, lab-made ingredients, such as food coloring, partially hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, and other additives. 

Great resources to read more about ingredients in bars and food labeling in general. 

nutrition bars 101 via

I definitely overdid it on the bars in college. 

Last year however, I was strolling around Target looking for things that I probably shouldn’t be buying. You know what I’m talking about. I was walking up and down the food aisles, and was skimming past the bar and granola section. I was just about to leave when I saw That’s It bars. {I PROMISE you this post isn’t sponsored. I buy them all with my own dolla dolla bills. But hey… That’s It, if you’re reading this post and want to send me some, I’m all for it.}

Their packaging was cute and caught my attention, so I decided to give it a second look. That’s It fruit bars contain just 2 ingredients, non-GMO fruit with no preservatives and no added sugars. I picked up a couple different flavors and went on my merry way. Ever since then, I’ve been hooked. I stock up on them at least once a month. I don’t buy them because I want a protein bar. I buy them for when I need a quick snack in between lunch and dinner. They are easy to grab and go, and I can eat them in the car. No mess! 

You can get That’s It bars from most food stores, including Target and Whole Foods. If you’d prefer to just order online, I’m a huge fan of this sampler 12 pack from Amazon. You get 2 each of the following flavors:

  • Apple + Blueberry
  • Apple + Strawberry
  • Apple + Pineapple
  • Apple + Pear
  • Apple + Cherry
  • Apple + Banana

I swear. You guys have to try these out, and let me know what you think. I was stalking Amazon last night and saw that they also sell zesty fruit bars with apple, mango + chili. OMG, I love anything with a kick, so this is right up my alley. I’m going to have to try those next. 

// Alright, friends. I’m going to Trader Joe’s after work today to pick up a bunch of goodies. Maybe I’ll share on Snapchat or do another haul post {see previous posts here and here}. I can’t wait to stock up on some of my favs – including tabouli salad, dried fruit and ready-to-eat edamame . YUM. Talk soon!

xo, Nicole

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