Those of us who have diabetes clearly have special dietary needs. Because of our compromised immune systems, we've got to get better nutrition than most people. Besides that, each of us have different strategies for meeting our needs. Some of us choose to eat low-carb, some low-glycemic, some low-calorie, some organic.
What hasn't been clear until now is how we can meet those needs when we buy prepared food. Nowhere is this a bigger challenge than that mainstay of both between-meal snacks and trail food known as nutrition bars.
Sometimes known as energy bars, almost all of the nutrition bars that we can buy in stores are simply candy bars by a more marketable name. Most are loaded with the worst kind of sweetener, high-fructose corn syrup.
Several years ago I got fed up with all the unhealthy choices. Years ago when I followed a low-glycemic diet, I was happy enough with Solo Bars. While I still eat low glycemic, those bars no longer meet my current low-carb needs.
So, imagine my surprise when the clear answer to this conundrum appeared on my computer monitor in an email message from Anthony Flynn, the founder and president of You Bar. The solution is something made possible by the Internet -- customization.
"You Bar allows you to design your own nutrition bars so you can have exactly what you want and need," Anthony wrote me. "As you design the bar, the website constantly updates the nutrition facts so it is easy to design a bar that fits certain nutritional needs as well as fit your personal tastes."
That made my day. So, I decided to see if I could design my own low-carb nutrition bar. But since I wasn't sure which ingredients would work for me, I called Anthony.
As the base of the bar he suggested that I pick peanut butter, soynut butter, and/or almond butter. For protein he suggested whey or soy, and recommended that I click on "extra protein." I could pick any type of nuts, any infusion, any type of seasoning except chocolate chips, any sweetener, but click on "not too sweet." No fruit, no grains.
That was all I needed to create the very first "MendosaBar." That's the label on every wrapper of my YouBars (you may want to call yours something else). The post office delivered a baker's dozen of a case of them to me just four or five days later. The MendosaBar has become my snack of choice.
Front and Back of a "MendosaBar"
My creation has 4 grams of available carbohydrate (total carbohydrate of 9 grams, fiber of 5 grams). It has 13 grams of protein, and 10 grams of fat, only 1 gram of which is saturated and none of which is transfat. Since they don't use any preservatives, it has a short expiration date of February 2, 2009.
Almost all of the ingredients are organic: the soynut butter, the flaxseeds, and the bit of honey which binds the ingredients together. I don't like food that is too sweet and the MendosaBar is just right for me. While it's a bit on the dry side and I know from talking with Anthony that it would be moister if I had them add more honey, I prefer it just as it is.