Granola Bars and Trail Mix


Myth: As an athlete, it is no big deal if I do not eat breakfast.

Fact: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Over night your body uses its liver
stores of carbohydrate to maintain blood sugar while you sleep. Thus, you need to replenish those losses when morning comes. Plus, good carbohydrate jumpstarts the metabolism & gives you energy. Aim to get a good whole grain carbohydrate, a lean protein, and a low-fat dairy product in your breakfast EVERYDAY!

Supermarket Savvy… “The Product Pick”
Crunchy or chewy? Less than a 100 calories? Healthy or not? Do these questions cross your mind as you examine the granola bar isle? The truth is that a granola bar can be a great snack choice for students at school or adults on the go; they key is to choose the right one. So, what granola bar should you pick?

Crunchy Granola Bars
Crunchy granola bars like Nature Valley and Kashi TLC are typically made from whole grains and/or oats. These bars a good pick because they have complex carbohydrates that contain fiber which keeps you full for a longer period of time. Because of the whole grain content, these crunchy bars typically have up to 5 grams of protein which helps provide energy for a longer period of time. Though crunchy bars may have a few more calories, they give a great burst of energy and well as good nutrition to the body.

Chewy Granola Bars
Chewy granola bars come in a variety of flavors; they can be made from whole grains, nuts, cereal, or flour. The goal is to choose a chewy bar that has complex carbohydrates and/or nuts. Some good choices are All Bran, Fiber 1, Kashi TLC, Quaker Oatmeal Squares & Smart Start bars to name a few. Some chewy bars such as Nature Valley Sweet-n-Salty and Trail Mix bars also contain nuts which add healthy fat. Healthy fat slows down how fast the bar digests and keeps you full for a little longer.

100 Calorie Granola Bars
Bars that contain 100 calories or less, such as Quaker 90 calorie bars or Special K bars, can be a good choice, but typically leave people hungry for more. These little bars are good for early morning pre-workout snacks to give you a burst of energy. However, during the day they should be coupled with a protein like yogurt, string cheese, or nuts so that you are not left hungry!

High Sugar Granola Bars
Some granola bars contain added sugar which makes them the less healthy choice. A good rule of thumb is that if the bar has a sugary or gooey coating/filling, it is probably not the healthiest choice for long term energy. When looking at the label, see if the sugar is half or more of the total carbohydrates. If so, put that one back and look for a granola bar that is higher in fiber and lower in added sugar.

Choosing a whole grain granola bar will give you energy for your workout and help you concentrate during class.

Healthy Bites…Recipe of the Month
Need a gym bag snack that is good fuel for pre and post a workout? Something you can eat even
if it gets hot or squashed? You need our sports dietitian’s “Power Crunch” trail mix!
The goal of a pre and post-workout snack is to get sufficient carbohydrate, some protein, and a little fat. Eating a whole grain carbohydrate (whole grain cereal, granola bar, wheat bread/bagel or wheat crackers) with lean protein will give you energy that lasts throughout your workout and helps you recover afterwards.

“Power Crunch” Trail Mix Recipe
• 1 cup Nature Valley Oats & Honey Cereal
• 1⁄2 cup Post Grape Nuts Trail Mix Crunch Cereal
• 1⁄2 oz Mixed Nuts

Both the Nature Valley Cereal and the Post Grape Nuts Trail Mix Crunch provide a great source of whole grain carbohydrate in addition to b vitamins, iron, and fiber. Together these cereals also provide 8 grams of plant protein. The 1⁄2 oz of mixed nuts adds an additional 3 grams of protein and 12 grams of healthy fat. Combined as a trail mix, “Power Crunch” (70% carbohydrate) will fuel your body for running, jumping, weight lifting, or playing! Make sure you grab a bottle of water, Gatorade, or glass of low-fat milk to hydrate your body as you fuel it both pre AND post workout!

“Power Crunch” Trail Mix Nutrition
ü Calories: 495
ü Carbohydrate: 87 grams ü Fiber: 10 grams
ü Protein: 11 grams
ü Fat: 12 grams

–Amy Goodson

amy-goodson-quarterback-ranchAmy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD is a registered dietitian for Ben Hogan Sports Medicine and serves as the sports dietitian for the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers, FC Soccer Dallas, Jim McClean Golf School, Texas Christian University Athletics, and University of Texas at Arlington Athletics. In addition, she is an adjunct professor and dietetic intern preceptor for Texas Woman’s University, Texas Christian University and the University of Texas at Arlington and is a state media representative for the Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. . She received her Bachelor of Science degree in speech communications from Texas Christian University and Masters in Exercise and Sports Nutrition from Texas Woman’s University.