Mom always knows what’s best, but when she starts watching your waistline for you, things can get ugly up in here. You know what I’m saying?
I was a sickly child who couldn’t keep food down, but after a handy dandy operation I was restored to full health and my mother jokes that I’ve been trying to catch up on my food intake ever since. Unfortunately as you get older that cute little habit of cleaning up your plate becomes something to be ashamed of. I would reach for a chocolate and Mom, in her infinite wisdom, would hand me a banana.
But now I’m a grown up semi-athletic person. Moreso, I’m a formerly rabid biker, a hiker and just a woman who likes to eat. I’m also somewhat careful about what I put in my body. That is, when I’m not chowing down on a quick lunch of Dulce de Leche Whips! and bologna on wheat with mayo. I like to keep the engine running, but sometimes I can’t cook and just want something quick that’s not too sweet or can be purchased at Wendy McKing Bell. And when I work out I am always on the look out for something tasty to toss down the hatch. I’m also brekkie-phobic during the week and when I don’t have time for a bowl of my favorite cereal or just skip meals, I often end up headache-y and mean.
And I do mean, mean. Mean as in, “Hurry the heck up folks I need effin’ food NOW!” mean. This is not good. And it usually annoys the heck out of Mom.
When I first got into mountain bike racing I explored the world of energy bars and gels and though I liked the whole ease of use thing that gels have- you squirt them into your mouth then follow with a few swallows of H2O to encourage your body to absorb the stuff and WHAM! insta-energy. And they are cheapity-cheap-cheap. Just $1 for 240 calories.
But for times when you crave, I dunno, texture with your nourishment there are Clif Bars and Luna Bars. Gary Erickson named his creation after his dad, Clifford, who was his constant boyhood companion on ski and hiking trips in the Sierra Nevadas. Lucky devil. Clif Bars are like large cookies, which is fitting because Gary got his start with Kali’s Bakery in Emeryville, CA. They come in the most delicious flavors such as Chocolate Brownie, Peanut Butter Crunch, Oatmeal Walnut Raisin, and for fall- Iced Gingerbread.
Luna Bars are the girlie-version, containing such ingredients as folic acid, calcium, soy and other ingredients that are designed to promote wellness for the ladies. Key Lime Pie, Lemon Zest and Chocolate Pecan Pie top the list of tempting flavors, and I’ve known more than a few men to chow down on them as well. They have fewer calories than a Clif Bar and are about the size of a candy bar, making them a perfect snack.
Whole Foods has a great selection of nutritional supplements and meal bars, so one day before going on an urban hike with some friends I stopped in for a snack. That’s when I stumbled upon my two good friends Maya and Lara and their buddy Nectar.
Mayabars and Larabars are products of Humm Foods, Inc. based in Denver- which is exactly where you’d expect to find folks who love the outdoors and need nourishment to enjoy them. They are fairtrade certified, uncooked, unprocessed and sweetened with fruit rather than chemical additives. They are not for the faint of heart though- each bar is between 190 and 220 calories and about half of that is fat. Yikes. But, and this is a big “but”, they will fill you up if you miss a meal and do a fine job providing sustained energy on a hike, a trip to the maul, or a bike ride. Very worth the caloric investment, in my opinion.
Nectar is Clif Bar’s version of same. They are organic fruit and nut bars, weighing in at 160 calories with only 50 fat calories. Like Larabars they are kosher and vegan friendly- there’s no soy, no dairy and no gluten. They do contain nuts and traces of dairy- according to their allergy statement.
Oh, and did I forget to mention that all three are available in chocolate? Yes, my loves, organic, unsweetened chocolate-y goodness. Flavors like Dark Chocolate and Walnut, Chocolate Orange with real cocoa nibs and Chocolate Coconut Chew make other supplements look like… rabbit food. I’ve since tried Ginger Snap and Pecan Pie and have my eye on Cocoa Mole. The chocolate is rich and full-flavored, but the real sweetness comes from dates, almonds, walnuts, organic vanilla and other natural flavorings.
If you like milk chocolate, then let me be honest- these are not your bag. If you love your chocolate bitter or unsweetened, party on. I’ve been scarfing them down as needed- during a trail run, as a lunch stand-in when errands keep me busy, or as a mid afternoon snack. They say that if you crave chocolate you shouldn’t have a substitute, but just a small bit of what you want- your body is never going to be fooled into accepting a pear when what you really want is a Ghiradelli square! Sadly, all that’s left are the wrappers. I so wanted to show the texture, the sweet goodness, but no, it was not to be. Bad blogger, bad, bad!
Mom always said you should have fruit instead, and this way the two of you can be happy.