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Wendy Bumgardner

Energy Snacks - Why Not Just Eat Fig Newtons?

By April 26, 2007

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If you are going out for a 30-60 minute walk, you really don't need an energy snack or sports drink. But if you are taking a longer walk, you may need some calories to keep you going. What to take along? A visit to the energy bar aisle of the grocery store offers a huge array of choices. Some are all natural. Some are packed with vitamins and supplements. Some just look like an alternative to a candy bar. None of them are cheap. So, asks a reader, why not just take along fig newtons?

Pro Fig Newtons:

  • Cheap. You can buy a whole package of them for the cost of just a couple of high-tech energy bars.
  • Nutritional value for energy about as good as most energy bars. Calorie-Count profile of fig bars
  • Low in fat, or buy the fat-free variety.
  • You can buy the organic, natural varieties at a health foods store.
  • Good portion control - you can take along just as many as you will need, you aren't locked into what the energy bar manufacturer put in the package.
Cons for Fig Newtons:
  • They crumble in your pack. You need to carry them in a non-crushable container if you don't want a pack of crumbs when you are ready to eat them.
  • They are drier than toast, far drier than most energy bars. If you eat a fig newton, you immediately need some water to wash it down. After most energy bars, you still need water, but not to actually enable you to swallow them. The kinds you find in health food stores may be more moist.
  • They crumble when you are actually eating them, so you lose chunks of fig newton as you walk. This may not be the case for the natural varieties you buy at a health foods store, but the brand name fig newtons are not tidy to eat at any speed.
What I look for in an energy snack for my long walks is:
  • Doesn't crumble in my pack. I don't need a mess, I need a snack!
  • Easy to open package: Clif Bar - you are on notice! Is it a diet tactic to seal the energy bar in a package that can't be opened without scissors? I have to take them out of the wrapper at home and put them in a plastic baggie for my pack.
  • Easy to take bites out of: the classic Powerbars were built for people with tougher teeth than me. This is why I like Clif Bars, they are easy to take bites out of and chew.
  • Fewer, natural ingredients are a plus. I don't want a meal replacement, I want a convenient snack. Larabar is a good choice, it is made of raw, unprocessed ingredients - no weird chemicals. It comes in a huge number of tasty pie-like flavors, and many varieties are gluten-free.
May 2, 2007 at 1:15 pm
(1) Alison says:

Larabars are not organic. Similar to these (but organic) are the Think Organic bars. They make a lot of bars so be sure to get only the Think Organic varieties.

May 2, 2007 at 10:57 pm
(2) Wendy says:

Thanks, I corrected my mis-statement.

May 3, 2007 at 10:26 am
(3) Jeff says:

I’ll put in a plug for Barbara’s brand wheat-free Fig or Raspberry bars. They hold together well and taste great. You’ll probably have to go to someplace like Wild Oats or Fred Meyer to find them though.

May 1, 2008 at 8:09 pm
(4) Kate says:

When I worked many moons ago in a health food store we used to get the most fantastic organic whole wheat fig bars that came in bulk (10 lb boxes)…I cannot remember the manufacturer’s name, but we couldn’t keep them in because not only did they taste good, they did NOT crumble easily. Parents loved them because they could just throw them in lunch bags for school! They were about twice as long as the traditional FNs. I don’t know if they are still sold in bulk, but they are worth looking for in small, independent health food stores or even ones like Whole Foods.

August 12, 2009 at 4:55 pm
(5) Sandy says:

I know this article is a couple years old, but if I came across it, other readers must still be reading it too!

Fig Newmans made by Newman’s Own are not dry at *all* and they’re much, much less crumbly. Bonus: they’re organic! Just thought I’d share that.

I keep them in the car along with a banana for a quick snack for my 19-month old. She loves them.

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