I’m always a skeptic when it comes to “bars,” as in the energy/nutritional supplement/meal replacement variety. One look at the label and I’m transported into ingredient mayhem. Fake ingredients parade as healthy ones, sugars galore and the list goes on.
When Core Foods sent me a sample variety pack of their Core Defender Meals, a raw, vegan, high fiber, organic, gluten-free performance meal for athletes, I was equally skeptical in spite of the minimal whole ingredients on the label. I shoved them into the freezer (the recommended way to store them for maximum freshness) until I could investigate.
Core Meals combine optimal proportions of complex carbs, healthy fats and lean protein to create a four-hour foundation of stable energy from seven raw, organic whole food ingredients. I love that they do the thinking for you and the bars are portable for travel.
After my first long(ish) run of my Half Marathon training plan — 8 miles –, I was rushing to get ready for a meeting, but knew I needed to eat something. I remembered the Core Foods bar, grabbed it from the freezer and set it out to defrost for 10 minutes while I showered.
When I tore into the package and took a hesitant bite, I was a pleasantly surprised. The bars are dense, they taste good and aren’t overly sweet. Each bar (choose from Raw Walnut Banana, Raw Almond Raisin or Raw Cashew Cacao) has only five or six whole ingredients like oats, almonds, raisins, banana, walnuts, cashews, cacao flax and spices. No strange or hard-to-pronounce ingredients. And truth be told, these bars kept me more satisfied for a longer time than a regular bowl of oatmeal.
There are two kinds of bars:
High-fiber Defender Meals (these are the ones that I sampled)
High-protein Warrior Meals (not vegan, they contain Whey protein)
And three ways to use the bars for performance fueling:
Pre-workout – eat 30 minutes before key training sessions to increase energy
Endurance fuel – Eat during endurance competitions for sustained energy
Post-workout – Eat 10 minutes after a protein shake to fuel muscle recovery
Eat 1 bar, drink 2 glasses of water and you’ve got yourself the equivalent of a bowl of oatmeal.
If you live on the West Coast, you’re in luck because you’ll likely find them at Whole Foods. Us East Coasters are still waiting to see them in stores – hopefully soon. Until then, a box of 10 meals costs $39.99 online at www.corefoods.com .
Core Foods is a not-for-profit company.
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