I just got off the phone with a friend and I need some advice. She says for breakfast, she eats one Balance Bar. I know some bars are fortified with vitamins, but this doesn't seem like enough to me — calorie- or nutrition-wise. What do you think? Is it OK to eat an energy bar for a meal?
This is an excellent question because I think many people grab a bar for a quick meal because it's quick, easy, and fairly inexpensive. Is it enough, though? To find out what I think
Replacing a meal with an energy bar is not a good idea. For one, most bars contain only about 200 calories. That calorie amount is suitable for a snack, not a meal. Another reason is that those bars were designed to give someone energy before or after a workout, so they tend to be high in carbs and low in fiber. That translates to quick energy at first, but your friend probably feels tired and hungry soon after. The low fiber issue may also affect regularity. The bottom line is that energy bars are not designed to replace a well-balanced meal, since they won't offer the same kind of nutrition. Even the ones that are fortified with vitamins and minerals only offer about 25 percent of your RDI, which isn't very much.
I think it's best to ask your friend why she's only eating an energy bar for breakfast. Is she short on time? Is she trying to lose weight? Does she think it's healthy? Once you find out her reasoning, you can suggest healthy breakfast ideas that suit her needs. There are plenty of tasty options that are high in protein and fiber to offer sustained energy, are easy to make, and won't break the calorie bank.