Need Energy? Then Belly Up to the Bar

Ever since daylight savings time did the “spring forward” switch, I’ve been feeling in need of an energy boost. In the interest of good health and less caffeine, I decided to devote a week to substituting green tea and an energy bar for whipped-cream-topped cappuccinos. The results follow:

Mornings 1 and 2:

I’m feeling very cranky as I bypass my favorite cafÃ?© for the office. I carry in my little bag of green tea bags and Luna bars. My colleagues, having been warned about my experiment, tiptoe around my desk.
I prepare my cup of green tea and unwrap a Cherry-Covered Chocolate Luna bar. Biting into the cherry-fragrant, chocolate-rich bar, I close my eyes. Verdict: Heavenly flavor. I read the nutritional information and am pleasantly surprised to discover that I’m crunching on just 180 calories of tasty treats, which are giving me calcium, among other nutrients, and 3 grams of fiber. I sip the green tea. Tastes sort of, err, grassy. Maybe it would be good if I were a cow.

Verdict: yuck. Even yuckier is my caffeine headache later that day. However, I notice that my energy level is better than on the days when I go for a caffeine high in the morning. Hmmmm.

On the second Luna day, I fall in love with a concoction called Chocolate Pecan Pie (which is just as healthy as the cherry-covered chocolate but crunchier) and try sweetening the green tea with some artificial sweetener (tastes even worst than unsweetened). I am still energized, but feeling deprived and dreaming of a way to justify combining coffee WITH a Luna bar.

Mornings 3 and 4:

I’m still feeling very cranky as I bypass my favorite cafÃ?© for the office. I carry in my little bag of green tea bags and, for today’s attempt at a burst of energy, Balance Bars. My colleagues continue to avoid me (although one tries to persuade me to give up the experiment and join her at a cafÃ?© for mochas).

I prepare my cup of green tea (no sweetner) and unwrap a Cookie Dough Balance Bar. Now this is decadent, like licking the bowl after your mom has made her famous chocolate chip cookies. Almost compensates for the lack of caffeine (I give up on the green tea and just glare at it). 200 calories, less calcium than the Luna bar, though, and also less fiber. On the second Balance Bar day, I sample a Chocolate Fudge Balance CarbWell. 190 calories, 2 grams of fiber, good vitamins and minerals, 23 grams of carbs.

Mornings 5 and 6:

I take a different route to work, hoping that out-of-sight-out-of-mind will apply. But I still miss my morning cafÃ?© visit. I have, however, modified my regime and carry in a bag of English breakfast tea bags (I can’t tolerate another day of smelling green tea) along with an ExtendBarÃ?®. These energy bars advertise themselves as helping to stabilize blood sugar up to 9 hours, so that individuals ranging from athletes to low-carb dieters to diabetics can benefit. I sample a 150-calorie Chocolate Delight low-carb ExtendBar – with 5 grams of fiber, it wins the fiber wars. Total carbs are 21 grams. Although it is not as delightfully chocolate as the Luna bars or Balance bars, I do feel satisfied longer than with either of those bars. Could be the English breakfast tea, though, which I can actually finish rather than dumping down the sink. On the sixth morning, I try the 130-calorie Apple Cinnamon ExtendBar. Nice cinnamon taste, but the chocolate definitely wins over the apple flavor.

On Morning 7, I graciously accept a colleague’s invitation to treat me to a frappuccino. The afternoon, however, finds me reaching for a Luna bar instead of more coffee to power me through the day….leading to the final results of this test:

Energy bar verdict: for overall taste and nutrition, Luna Bars are my winner.
Green tea verdict: not my cuppa tea.
English breakfast tea verdict: good, but no substitute for Starbucks.

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