Food Talk And Fabulous Finds - Snack Bar Advice...




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fishiv
02-15-2008, 11:50 AM
Hi Everyone....ever wish you could design your own snack that gives you the taste and nutrition you want? Well here's your chance...well, not really...but it is your chance to be heard. I work for a food company, specifically developing new snack products. I know there are a TON of prdoucts out there...but it seems like a lot of them aren't made with dieters in mind.

I'm just trying to figure out what people really want. Do you like the low 90 or 100 calorie bars like Special K? Or are you willing to eat a bar with more calories as long as it is packed with nutrition (e.g., Fiber One 140 calories but 9 grams of Fiber). What are the key nutritional elements you want to find in a bar--protein? fiber? others? How much should be in a bar?

When does the calorie count become too high for a snack snack and not worth the added nutrition--150, 175, 200, 200+ calories?

Or is there anyone who likes to eat both types of bars (like a Special K and a Fiber One)? If so, how do you decide which one to eat and when?

I know there are a lot of questions here. I appreciate any answers you want to give...we spend a lot of money doing research trying to find the answers. But I worry we often lose sight of the true consumer and forget to listen to her/him.

I'm hoping there are a few of you out there who would welcome getting the ear of someone at a food company...if so, I'm your person!

Thanks,
:carrot:


karmuz
02-15-2008, 12:14 PM
oooh! I would love to give some input as there are very few snack or nutrition bars out there that really have what i want (though i do eat many of them anyway, they're good on the go snacks) though i'm not sure if what i would want is possible AND be tasty, lol
I would definitely go for high fiber + protien vs low cal - fiber and protien are what will keep me sated and not going for MORE or eating two.. i would rather have one 150 cal snack bar than eat two 90cal ones because i was still hungry after the first one.
no artificial sweeteners - or added sugar. this includes sugar alcohols as they make me sick. if there are natural sugars from fruit it tends not to bother me.
no hfcs or corn syrup of any kind!! it seems to me to defeat the purpose of eating something healthy if it's a blood sugar bomb waiting to go off.
hmm... oh, and whole grain if it's some kind of cereal bar. i love nuts and seeds and knowing that they're there and actually seeing them makes me feel better about eating something prepackaged.
oh, and at about 220 calories + i tend to think of something as a meal bar or a meal replacement rather than a snack bar. I tend to look for things that are in the high 100s if i'm having a snack bar, and generally look for products that have at least a few of the properies i'm looking for - at the least the fiber and protien.
I don't actually know if it's chemically possible to make a snack bar that is up to every single one of my standards.. they would probably go bad long before they even make it to the shelf on the store :/ or taste really awful lol.

2beautiful2Bfat
02-15-2008, 12:15 PM
personnally I wouldn't eat a bar over 150 calories. I guess as a meal replacement maybe but not as a snack. I havn't tride the special k bars but I think 100 calories is the way to go. Jump on the bandwagon! Everyone loves to eat stuff and they say it's only 100 calories! I woudl want soemthing in the bar like salba or flax to give it a nutritional boost but it must taste good!


Glory87
02-15-2008, 12:40 PM
I know there are a TON of prdoucts out there...but it seems like a lot of them aren't made with dieters in mind.

I'm just trying to figure out what people really want. Do you like the low 90 or 100 calorie bars like Special K? Or are you willing to eat a bar with more calories as long as it is packed with nutrition (e.g., Fiber One 140 calories but 9 grams of Fiber). What are the key nutritional elements you want to find in a bar--protein? fiber? others? How much should be in a bar?

When does the calorie count become too high for a snack snack and not worth the added nutrition--150, 175, 200, 200+ calories?

Or is there anyone who likes to eat both types of bars (like a Special K and a Fiber One)? If so, how do you decide which one to eat and when?


Just because I'm a dieter, doesn't mean I want to eat crap. That means empty food like Special K bars is out for me.

What I would want in a snack bar (which are occasional, convenience foods for me especially while traveling and not an everyday food item):

Organic
Whole foods
No chemicals
Protein
No ingredients that I don't recognize or can't pronounce (chemicals, preservatives, additives)
No weird sugars (high fructose corn syrup, maltose, etc).
Below 200 calories

For reference, my current favorite bar is the Cliff Nectar bar, all organic, natural and 160 calories. And - it tastes freaking delicious.

http://www.clifbar.com/food/products_nectar_cacao/1237

Ingredients for the Dark Chocolate Walnut Bar: Ingredients: Organic Dates, Organic Walnuts, Organic Unsweetened Chocolate, Organic Cocoa, Organic Vanilla.

fishiv
02-15-2008, 12:55 PM
.... I tend to look for things that are in the high 100s if i'm having a snack bar, and generally look for products that have at least a few of the properies i'm looking for - at the least the fiber and protien.


Are there minimums (grams) for protein and fiber you look for....does a balance of good source protein and fiber interest you more than a excellent source of just one?

SCraver
02-15-2008, 01:39 PM
Kashi's PB flavored granola bar - it has 140 calories - protein, fiber, and only 2 WW points. I find that is sticks to my ribs. I like that it has natrual ingredients... but I think it could use a bit of something sweet in it (maybe bits of dried cranberries?)... (Marshmellows and choc. chips would be great!) But seriously... I look for:

- Some fiber
- Some protein
- Not too many calories (140 is enough)
- Natural ingredients (which I find is hard to come by) I don't want to be eating crap with High Fructose Corn Syrup.

I would rather pay a little bit extra for more natural ingredients.

nelie
02-15-2008, 01:53 PM
I agree in that I'd highly recommend Clif Nectar bars, they are awesome. I also love Lara Bars although they tend to be a bit higher in calories but they are delicious and have awesome ingredients.

I am immediately turned off by any food product that has high fructose corn syrup or partially hydrogenated anything. I also don't like artificial sweeteners in my food products. Natural products with minimal ingredients are key.

mxgirl737
02-15-2008, 02:35 PM
I LOVE Clif Bars. They have more calories (240), but they're a great meal replacement bar for when I'm in a hurry. The ingredients are great...although the brown rice syrup kind of scares me. ...what the heck is that anyway!?

They also make a Clif Kid's bar which has less calories, but I didn't really find any flavors I like.

Also...you can get them for like 99cents...so they're pretty inexpensive. I also love LOVE LOVE odwalla bars....but they're a little harder to find, and more pricey. I think a cheaper version of the Odwalla bar would be awesome. It doesn't taste as sweet as a Clif bar, and I definitely feel healthy eating one. :)

nelie
02-15-2008, 03:12 PM
mxgirl,

I'm sure you have heard of brown rice? Brown rice syrup is a natural sweetener made from brown rice. Much better than something like aspartame.

mxgirl737
02-15-2008, 11:55 PM
I know what brown rice is...just didn't know how they could get syrup out of it. haha I thought it sounded a little weird.

gastronome
02-16-2008, 12:53 AM
I love those Bora Bora bars. They were basically a nut bar, they used agave nectar I think as a sweetener. It was mostly sesame seeds, raisins, almonds and I think it was around 170 calories per bar. It was SUPER healthy and super filling because it was mostly seeds and nuts with no artificial anything. They have the good fats too! I found it ONCE at costco and have been in love since. Even my toddler loves these. I believe they are vegan as well. THIS is my kind of bar.

KforKitty
02-16-2008, 08:50 AM
I would rather have a few more calories and have something that will go the distance than the 90 calorie Special K bar which don't fill at all. Although I'm not personally opposed to artificial sweetners I do dislike having things that are sickly sweet (I find Special K bars to be this). Around 120-150 calories and I would be happy.

Kitty

aphil
02-19-2008, 05:18 PM
My votes:


WHOLE FOODS-natural ingredients with no artificial sweeteners, and no high fructose corn syrup. Also, no "fake added fiber". The fiber should come from the oats, peanut butter, grains, seeds, etc. in it...not fake fiber added after the fact. The sweeteners should be things like brown rice syrup, honey, etc. and not HFCS. No artifical colors. Organic ingredients if possible.

It really doesn't matter to me if the bar has 90 calories or 150. It really doesn't. I would prefer that a snack bar be HEALTHY, not just low calorie. The 100 calorie packs of cookies and crackers out there, are all just low calorie/smaller portions of junk.

REAL. HEALTHY.

That's what I want. :D


**One of my favorite bars right now, I get from the health food store. They are called KIND bars. They have different flavors, etc. and basically they are seeds, nuts, dried fruit, oats, and real foods-with just enough sweetener to hold it together.

AndLy
02-19-2008, 08:12 PM
The only bars I like and eat are the Clif bars for kids. I like all the flavors. They are filling enough, have few enough calories to get me through my long afternoon workshift, taste amazing, and have lots of organic ingredients.

VelVeeta
02-21-2008, 12:43 PM
Going for as many natural ingredients as possible is always best. If you have to have some, I would make sure there is the right balance of things you need (protein, fiber, vitamins, etc) and as little unnecessary things as possible. HFCS is not the enemy but total sugar count. I generally try to make sure that the first 5 ingredients or more are natural things and any sugar is lower down, and the total grams per serving are low.

aphil
02-21-2008, 03:15 PM
I have to say that I disagree about HFCS not being the enemy. :) Of course, you want the sugar count to be low, but HFCS is worse for the body than natural sweeteners such as sugar, honey, etc. There have been a lot of studies on it, and its ill effects on the body.

VelVeeta
02-26-2008, 12:16 PM
I totally agree that it should be consumed in moderation and we should stay aware of how many things it is in, definitely. This is an interesting article that lays out the many sides of the argument. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/02/business/yourmoney/02syrup.html

At the end of the day, yes, I am going to stick with a more natural product with more nutritional value, and everyone should eat the way that their body responds best to.

mxgirl737
02-28-2008, 04:39 AM
I brought some bars to the dietitian at my gym... I brought my beloved Clif bar, a Special K bar (YUCK), a Fiber one bar, a Luna bar (i Love these), and an odwalla bar. She looked at them and their ingredients---the clif bar had to much sweetner I guess. Even though it's a meal replacement, when she looked at the rest of the nutrition stats she didn't really recommend them on a regular basis (oops!). She said the fiber one bar was the best by far...which surprised me.

I'm seeing a different nutritionist next week...and I found a couple new bars ...specifically the Think Thin bar that I'm going to have her look at. It's sugar free--but uses sugar alcohols. I don't know how I feel about these yet. I know the chemistry behind them...but I don't really understand how they affect the body, or how the body uses them. It uses maltitol---the "worst" of the sugar alcohols. I know this much. It has a pretty high (30-40) glycemic index rating. ...But 20 grams of protein, very low fiber (2g)---2 net carbs. ...tastes sorta like a slim fast bar.

I'll keep you all posted! I'm sure you can't wait...hahahaha

fishiv
03-11-2008, 04:49 PM
Anyone look at the weight watchers "points" number for their bars/snacks? What is too high of a number for your snacks or bars?

nelie
03-11-2008, 05:15 PM
I use points and 3-4 points is where I expect a bar to be. Over 4 points, it better be a pretty hearty bar and a meal replacement. Luna bars are 3 points, Larabars are 4 points.

aphil
03-11-2008, 05:33 PM
I am a calorie counter, so I rely on calories mostly...but I also pay attention to protein, fiber, and fat, in the bar.

Overall-I prefer a snack bar to be between 100-180 calories, and a meal replacement bar to be between 180-280 calories.

I honestly prefer the more natural, whole ingredients. I buy KIND bars, Clif bars, etc. but I won't touch a Slim-Fast snack or Special K snack bar...because I want real food.

AquaWarlock
03-11-2008, 05:54 PM
I'm just trying to figure out what people really want. Do you like the low 90 or 100 calorie bars like Special K? Or are you willing to eat a bar with more calories as long as it is packed with nutrition (e.g., Fiber One 140 calories but 9 grams of Fiber). What are the key nutritional elements you want to find in a bar--protein? fiber? others? How much should be in a bar?

When does the calorie count become too high for a snack snack and not worth the added nutrition--150, 175, 200, 200+ calories?

Or is there anyone who likes to eat both types of bars (like a Special K and a Fiber One)? If so, how do you decide which one to eat and when?

I know there are a lot of questions here. I appreciate any answers you want to give...we spend a lot of money doing research trying to find the answers. But I worry we often lose sight of the true consumer and forget to listen to her/him.

I'm hoping there are a few of you out there who would welcome getting the ear of someone at a food company...if so, I'm your person!

Thanks,
:carrot:

I'm a guy, but a lot of the male-oriented bars (packed with protein, with extra whatchamacallits for maximum performance - whatever that means) taste yucky. Sometimes it's like chewing a multivitamin pill, sometimes it having metallic aftertaste, and sometimes the artifical flavoring just stands out. And if a bar doesn't taste good, I won't try it again -- no amount of enhancement is going to convince me otherwise, I don't have the calories to blow on bad tasting foods!

Nutrition-wise, I'd like to see a bar with good fiber and protein, and not too much unhealthy fats and sugars (and no trans-fat or HFCS if I can help it). I'm not big on added nutrients, but omega-3s, antioxidants and calcium/iron are just icing on the cake as long as they don't add unpleasant taste.

Finally, a big perk is able to easily identify all the ingredients that's used to make the bar (not some weird multisyllable chemical).

For a snack, I can handle a bar going up to 200 (though I prefer the 150 range); as a meal replacement, up to 350 (but it better be a satisfying bar).

For me, typically I eat bars as a snack between meals to curb my hunger and prevent me from diving into more unhealthy stuff. I also occasionally eat bars as a meal supplement (along with a piece of fruit, some juice/milk or other ready & portable stuff) when I'm on-the-go and don't even have the time to nuke something in the microwave.

There's my two cents - hope that helps and crossing fingers for that "perfect bar" to come out (as of now, the CLIF/LUNA varieties come pretty darn close.)

CrazedLedZepFan
03-11-2008, 06:09 PM
Something with a good amount of fiber (but not so much that it has an ill effect), no high fructose corn syrup, not more than 200 calories, low in sugar (but no artificial sweteners), and nice and big. I think most granola bars are a little on the small side. Special K bars are way too small!!