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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 November 20, 2020

Kickstart Your Morning Workout With These 10 Simple Habits

Kickstart Your Morning Workout With These 10 Simple Habits

Benjamin Franklin said it like this: “Early to bed, early to rise, will make a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” He knew from his own experiences and watching others that the ones who got up early were healthier and more successful. That’s why a morning workout can be so important.

One 2017 study found that:[1]

“after controlling for such factors as age, sex, smoking habits, and others…night owls, were found to have a 10 percent greater risk of dying from any cause compared to morning types.”

This is a great reason to tap into some morning motivation and get your morning workout done.

Circadian Rhythm for morning workout

    As you can see in the above graph, your blood pressure begins to rise between 6 and 7 in the morning[2]. That means this is a great time to get your body moving and your heart pumping, even if it’s just for 20 minutes of exercise in the morning. 

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    Here are some tips on how to find the motivation for a morning workout.

    1. Remember Your Why

    It starts with remembering why you want to get up for a morning workout. If you don’t set a goal and establish your reasons for accomplishing a health and fitness goal, then you definitely won’t get up early.

    Getting up early isn’t easy. If it were, everyone would do it, right? Your goal for your health and fitness must be so strong, and the WHY behind it must be so powerful, that nothing will stop you from accomplishing that goal.

    2. Go to Bed Early

    If you want to get up early for a morning workout, it’s going to be important to get to bed earlier. Falling asleep at midnight and trying to get up at six just won’t work in your favor.

    This will likely be very difficult for a few days while you adjust your sleeping habits. However, as you get into an exercise routine in the morning, this will naturally make it easier to fall asleep earlier and faster at night.

    3. Make a Commitment

    I sometimes tell my Facebook community of my plans to work out, and we all keep each other motivated by posting our runs, our workouts, etc. This is a way to develop accountability. By publicly announcing your intentions, you increase your chances of actually carrying out your plans.

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    Another way to do this is to find an accountability partner who has similar goals for morning workouts. You can check in with each other to make sure you’re sticking to your plans. If that doesn’t work, hire a personal trainer for a few weeks to get you started.  

    You can learn how to find a good accountability partner here.

    4. Find a Friend

    If you can find a friend that is motivated like you are, and you can hold each other accountable daily to working out, then you will accomplish your fitness goals. Many people prefer working out with friends to working out alone. Whether it’s a chat while hitting the treadmill at the gym, or having someone to spot you while weightlifting, working out with friends is sometimes just more enjoyable.

    Texting each other the night before with a simple statement is best. Don’t ask: “Are we still working out in the morning?” With this kind of question, if they were thinking about not working out, you just gave them an opt out.

    Make a statement instead: “Can’t wait to see you in the morning!” This implies that they will be there, and they will feel more obligated to show up.

    5. Treat Yourself

    We all have to treat ourselves every now and then. After a morning workout, plan to treat yourself with a colorful, healthy breakfast or a delicious morning smoothie. This will help you look forward to something and push through to the end of your workout.

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    You can learn more on rewards and punishments here.

    6. Change your Mindset

    Many people throw away the idea of a morning workout by simply saying, “I’m not a morning person.”  Instead of using this excuse, decide to try to become a morning person by shifting your mindset.

    When you look into the benefits of waking up early and getting some exercise in before your day starts, you’ll feel more positive about your life overall.

    7. Plan Your Day

    You know you’re going to be busy. Try time blocking to plan all the things you need to do on a given day, and make sure you add in your morning workout[3]. If you have a plan laid out, you’ll be more likely to follow it and get done everything on your list done.

    Time blocking

      8. Reflect on How You’ll Feel After

      Starting a morning workout is hard, but visualizing how you’ll feel after can help you find motivation. Think about the extra energy you’ll have and how proud you’ll feel knowing that you were already so productive. No matter what you do the rest of the day, at least you squeezed in your exercise!

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      For me, I live in an area where there are a lot of runners. When I am heading home in the evening or sitting out on the patio at one of my favorite restaurants, and I see the runners go by, it makes me feel so accomplished that I got mine in that morning and I can enjoy the evening.

      9. Lay out Your Workout Clothes

      Setting out your workout clothes the night before makes it impossible for you to start to run late because you couldn’t find something to wear. Tap into the determination you have before bed in order to convince your less-than-motivated morning self that you need to get up and get your morning workout in. When you wake up and see your outfit laid out next to you, it’ll push you to get up and get moving.

      10.  Set Multiple Alarms

      Many people miss their morning workout simply because they hit the snooze button so many times. In order to make this more difficult for yourself, set a series of alarms. That way, if you keep hitting snooze, you’ll have three or four alarms going off every ten minutes, which will be annoying enough to get you out of bed.

      Also, put one alarm at least a few feet from your bed so that you’re forced to get up to turn it off.

      Final Thoughts

      About three years ago I went from being the person that says I will never be an early riser to a person that loves to get the day started as soon as possible. Without the distractions that begin to come around 8 or 9 in the morning, you’ll find that you’re more productive and more likely to squeeze in that morning workout.

      Take some of the actions above and find the best morning workout routine to start your day and feel good.

      More Tips on Morning Exercises

      Featured photo credit: Tomasz Woźniak via unsplash.com

      Reference

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