The following is an excerpt from my e-book:
The Definitive Guide to Gluten: From Diagnosis to Starting on the Gluten-Free Path.
This e-book is available to order from the office (E: firstname.lastname@example.org) and will very soon be available on our newly launched website; I will let you know when it goes live!
We are excited about this, spread the word!
Bars and treats.
This is an area where the fun can begin or it can go terribly wrong!
Before I commence a discussion about bars and treats can I please be clear now that there is no substitution for healthy home-prepared foods. Bars are preferably recommended for use only as an emergency or treat option. I have discovered from my analysis of what is available on the market that no one bar is as healthy as a real snack or a home-made bar.
Please reserve use for travel, a rare snack on the run, for around training, or for fuelling in sport. However the bars recommended below are still a long shot better than crisps, taytos and other junk food options! As for everything, use sensibly.
There are numerous options available for gluten and dairy-free bars in the stores, however not all are healthy. I recommend that you always double-check the label ingredients and the allergy label to ensure that the bars are gluten-free and preferably dairy-free.
Many bars are overly high in carbohydrates (and lacking in protein), and/ or are unhealthily high in fats, processed fats (choose fats such as olive, coconut, hemp, flax oil and butter for example), and sugars (hidden in many forms and guises). The better bars can be pricey or not commonly available. I am providing a list here of both the Irish and UK available bars AND those available on the internet from the USA.
Gluten-free bars and treats are considered the exception rather than the rule in a healthy and balanced diet, and can be helpful for travel, when on the go, or during sports events. It is best to choose grain-free Paleo style bars, when possible.
I recommend that you take things up a notch and investigate baking your own bars, which then will be jam-packed with your choice of healthy ingredients.
There are numerous recipes available on the internet if you Google ‘Paleo bars’ ‘home-made Paleo bar’, ‘home-made gluten-free sports bar’ or ‘Paleo endurance bar’, etc. Watch out for the sugar content and play around with the suggested recipes. It is hard to go wrong when making a bar so long as it contains healthy ingredients, is portable and tastes good! Aim to sneak in protein, grated fruit, vegetables or sea-weeds; and when possible keep your bars grain free.
There are many recipes for home-made bars available on the internet!
(NB recipes should not contain butter or sugar ideally)
- Home-made Banana Bread Larabars
- Homemade Coconut Cream Pie Larabar Recipe
- Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Zucchini bars
- Primal Energy bars
Shop-bought gluten-free muffins and home-made and commercial gluten-free flapjacks are typically excessively high in sugar and fat (check out the ingredients list; they are listed in order of content), low in fibre and generally devoid of nutrition. There are a few such as Natasha’s bars that are healthy but pack a very high calorie content due to excessive portion size and quantity of fats from coconut, oils, nuts or seeds.
“When purchasing a health bar, the kCal content should be no more than approximately 250 kcal max (sub 200 kcal is ideal, especially for women. If higher than this consider eating only half of the bar), the protein content should ideally be above 10g, and the carbohydrate content under 10g-15g (20g to 30g for endurance athletes in training); as a rough guide.”
To continue reading this article where I review more than 20 of the more popular gluten-free bars, please follow the link into a PDF
PS please do share your own recipes here for all to benefit!