As most of you know, a good mid-afternoon snack is a key part of my diet plan. While I generally try to avoid snacking, mostly because I find when I do my calories quickly escalate without me noticing, the afternoon snack is different.
Most meals, I cook at home. I like cooking. I did even before I started my diet plan. I really enjoy the process. Plus I found out very quickly that I really liked playing around with different spices and flavors. I found this out mostly because my babydoll was diagnosed with high blood pressure and we had to cut out a lot of salt laden products on his doctor’s orders. This knocked out a lot of processed food from out eating habits as well as a lot of restaurant meals.
We still go out to eat, but it is a once in a while treat rather than something we do routinely. Our local grocery store can sometimes be limiting, so we do drive out of town to a larger city for some things. We also use the internet a lot, especially for hard to find spices. In addition places like Vital Source has been a huge help in securing quality product as well (we like to eat fish about once a week).
However life gets busy. Sometimes I will make extra portions of a meal that I know freezes well so that on a day when my schedule is swamped, we can have a great meal in a very short period of time. I know, some of you are thinking it is a good idea and you don’t see the problem (or what this has to do with snacking).
The problem is portion control. It is one of my biggest weaknesses. “This turned out really well. I like this recipie. Oh there is still a lot left, maybe I’ll have just a little more.”
If you are going to make multiple portions for saving then you can’t nibble around the edges of the other portions. Not only will it make your planned meal too large but it will short you on a meal at later times. For me the mid-afternoon snack is a very important tool in making sure I stick to my portion. The snack needs to feel substantial without adding a lot of calories. On days when I know I am making extra portions of a meal I really enjoy and know I will want to take extra, it needs to feel like an extra treat. If it does then i feel like I already indulged for the day and am less like to indulge a second time.
This is also why sometimes my snacks aren’t the healthiest of items. Sometimes a guilty indulgence is what I really need. It is also why I generally pay close attention to the calorie count when I have those indulgences. If I am having cinnamon bears then I am counting each one of those little guys to get the portion correct. And then I am lining them up like soldier and destroying them like a rampaging giant. But that is another story.
Often time my afternoon snack is fruit.
Today we are going to talk about the Lara bar. I picked this up because I know a lot of people who swear by it. I also picked it up because it was not cookie dough flavor. While I generally like the flavor of cookie dough, in a snack bar I often find it too sweet and to cloying in the mouth. Occasionally it is very good, but it isn’t my go to. The lemon bar looked like much better bet.
I do have a confession though. You know how I mentioned calorie count earlier? Well I generally try to keep my afternoon snack around the 100 calorie range. Sometimes it will go up, sometimes down, but that is generally the target that keeps me satisfied and makes me feel like I had a bit of a treat.
My confession: I didn’t read the calorie count on the label.
I picked it up, thinking, Its a three inch long power bar, how caloric could it be? It turns out that little bar is 200 calories. I know, packed with nutty fruity goodness. But still it is 100 calories more than I planned to consume. It wasn’t particular problem as I just extended my walk a bit, but it is something to be aware of. Those proteins bars can be packed with calories, as well as good things.
This one does have good things in it. And the taste was very nice. It is a fresh lemon that is tart enough to make you pucker pared with the nutty almonds. I really enjoyed the flavor. It was very fresh tasting. My problem is actually that some of the lemon peels included in the mix were overly large and rock hard. I couldn’t chew them and had to take them out of my mouth as though they were orange seeds when i was eating an orange. The lemony burst was delicious, but the removal was not that pleasant.
And while I could, in theory break the bar into two pieces and use half of it on one day and half of it the next, there is no natural break. It is a bar that is meant to be eaten in one sitting. It is not like the E3 Bars that are deliberately broken into three pieces so you can decide how much you want to consume. This is one whole thing.
I will say though that the calories mean I will treat the Larabar Lemon bar sparingly and go in with the full knowledge of how many calories the product holds. The taste means that I want to eat it again because it was just plain yummy. The overly large and really hard lemon pieces mean if I do pick up another one of these it will be with caution. I’m just not sure the taste is enough to move me past the lemon peel bits. They are tasty, but at one point, I thought I chipped a tooth. I might go for something tasty, but less hazardous in the future.