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Nutritionists Say Granola Bars Are Just Dressed Up Junk Food

Nutritionists Say Granola Bars Are Just Dressed Up Junk Food

Granola bars, like many sweeties in disguise, are marketed as a health food or health snack on today’s market. And while there are certain nutrients to be gained from some ingredients in granola and other muesli bars and slices, these snacks are actually far less healthy than we are led to believe.

Why Is It Unhealthy?

Granola bars are a huge part of many people’s diets including children’s lunches. Because of the “healthy” ingredients within granola bars such as fruits, oats and even seeds and grains, we consume these bars under the assumption (or the self-denial) that these are healthy foods that are good for us.

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The truth is, in fact, that there are huge amounts of hidden fats and sugars within granola that, if we actually knew about, we might think twice about consuming granola – or at least about consuming as much as we do. Statistics state that nearly 55% of American households have granola bars or snacks within them. The annual sales for granola products are over $7 billion.

Granola Is Just Like Unhealthy Cookies

We are consuming enormous amounts of daily calories in just one bar – in fact what we believe is the perfect ‘on-the-go-snack’ is actually slowing us down and may even be cancelling out any good, healthy work we are doing.

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As medical director Yoni Freedhoff of Ottowa’s Bariatric Medical Institute says:”I think the public perception is that if there is the word granola in it that it’s healthy for you. There’s a lot of things that sound healthy but then tend to get stuck together with lots of sugar and lots of high-calorie fats.”

Granola in actual fact is much more similar to a cookie than to a health food. Granola bars tend to have an extremely high rate of high-fructose corn syrup, a dangerous ingredient in many candy bars and other unhealthy snacks. Corn syrup is linked to rising levels of weight gain, cholesterol levels and insulin resistance and is a dangerous hidden ingredient for those attempting to otherwise stave off unhealthy foods.

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Homemade and Healthy Granola Bars

Often granola bars are unhealthy because of the way they are processed, or cooked. If you can try your own homemade granola recipes you can control the amount of sugars and fats that go in the recipe and therefore into your body. Using natural ingredients like agave syrup rather than sugar, goji berries rather than chocolate chips, will ensure you are giving your body nutrients without overdosing on the bad stuff.

We could always try alternative health on-the-go snacks such as:

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  • Banana + Kale smoothie
  • Rice cakes with avocado
  • Celery sticks with peanut butter
  • Edamame
  • Whole grain protein bars

Some other great healthy options are these simple 5-ingredient health bar by Minimalist Baker or these Peanut Butter and Goji Berry granola bars by Love and Lemon.

Featured photo credit: What’s Gaby Cooking via whatsgabycooking.com

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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