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What you must know about granola bars
May 05, 2006
Feeling hungry and want to munch on a quick snack? Or, maybe, you don't have time for a leisurely breakfast.
Try granola bars, a baked food whipped up from a mix of nuts, oats and honey.
Nature Valley, an American brand of granola bars, is now available in select retail stores in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune.
The texture of each bar is crunchy and has a breakfast-cereal like consistency; sometimes, raisins or dates are added too.
The ingredients of Nature Valley granola bars include whole grain oats, fruits and nuts and, apparently, no preservatives.
Nutrient-wise, they contain carbohydrates, proteins, minerals and fibre.
You can choose from three flavours -- Roasted Almond, Oats & Honey and Banana Nut -- and two sizes -- a single bar for Rs 12 and a double for Rs 20.
It has approximately 90 calories per bar, of which 25 to 30 calories come from fat content.
Fitness expert Samreedhi Sharma provides some must-knows about granola bars and about packaged foods in general.
"Granola bars are convenient snacks for travelling, hiking, trekking, etc, as they are non-messy and occupy less space. However, it is not a great idea to consume it at breakfast every morning. Once or twice in a week is not a problem. Since the bar is small in size, you may end up eating three at a time, which is still not as filling a breakfast as say, wheatflakes and milk," she says.
"Nature Valley granola bars have the nutrition content on the label, which is a good thing. It has a little more than two teaspoons of sugar per bar. It also has some sodium content so, if you have high blood pressure, then check with your doctor before eating it," says Samreedhi. "One bar as a substitute, for say, chocolate or a fried snack is okay," she adds.
Samreedhi offers some general tips to keep in mind when shopping for processed food.Study the label. If you do not understand something, research it on the Internet or ask a qualified nutritionist. Many foreign products specify the ingredients. This is important, especially when you are allergic to certain ingredients. Study the calorie count as well as the fat content for the real picture while comparing products. The lower in fat and calories, the better. Watch out for sodium content as this is not good for people with high blood pressure levels. Excess sodium can increase your blood pressure in the long run. Also, you tend to feel more thirsty and reach out for a fizzy drink. When buying processed food, especially in a can, always check the expiry date. Make sure the can is not bloated, dented or suppressed from one side, as you could end up with food poisoning. Usually when the label says 'preservatives-free', it could mean that the product has excessive salt, sugar, spices and oil/fat, which act as natural preservatives.
Photograph: Jewella C Miranda