Intake: Energy Bar Alternatives

May 2, 2004
Outside Magazine
Outside magazine, September 1995

Intake: Energy Bar Alternatives
By Dana Sullivan

There's no disputing the convenience of energy bars. There's also no disputing that when you have the luxury of loading up at home before a workout, your kitchen cabinet holds fuels that are far tastier, nearly as efficient, easier to digest, and generally less expensive. "An hour before any 60- to 90-minute workout, athletes need a couple hundred calories, about 30 grams of carbohydrates, and small amounts of protein and fat," says Jackie Berning, a registered dietician and sports nutrition coordinator for U.S. Swimming at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. "You can get most of this from a bagel or a handful of raisins." Here's a guide to the energy in your pantry.

Harlan Bigger Better Bagel (one sesame bagel)
A healthy dose of complex carbohydrates, and it's low in fat, as long as you skip the cream cheese. Travels almost as well as an energy bar.

Raisins (3.5 ounces)
300/79/3/less than 1
This serving of raisins has almost as much iron--two milligrams--as the same amount of beans. Male athletes need ten milligrams daily, and female athletes need 15, to form hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in the blood, and myoglobin, which carries oxygen in the muscles.

Aunt Jemima Whole Wheat Pancake & Waffle Mix (three four-inch pancakes)
220/28/6/less than 1
Full of essential minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, which the body needs for everything from strong bones to a healthy heart.

Kellogg's Corn Flakes (one cup of cereal with one cup of skim milk)
190/38/12/less than 1
Like most cereals, a good source of complex carbohydrates. However, one serving contains 290 milligrams of sodium--about twice as much as an ounce of potato chips--which can cause water retention that you don't want.

Fig Newtons (two cookies)
Figs are high in calcium--in fact, you get more calcium (144 milligrams) from 3.5 ounces of dried figs than from a glass of skim milk (123 milligrams). The cookie dough wrap adds complex carbos.

Quaker Oats Oatmeal (half a cup of oatmeal with one cup of skim milk)
Oatmeal is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, iron, and manganese, which is as important as calcium for building strong bones. Oats are higher in fat than other grains, but the fat is 80 percent unsaturated, so it won't up your cholesterol level.

Kellogg's Pop Tarts
200/37/3/5 (one Frosted Chocolate Fudge)
190/40/2/3 (one Low-Fat Strawberry)
A bit more fat than you might want, but surprisingly not much more than, say, a bowl of oatmeal. About half the carbohydrates come from sugar, but that's not a problem if you're working out for more than an hour.

* Calories/Carbohydrates (grams)/Protien (grams)/Fat (grams)

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